“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.  And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.” – Matthew 3:8-9

In the deserts of Judea, John the Baptist begins his mission… preparing the way for Jesus, the Messiah. John is the voice calling in the wilderness (Isaiah 40:3)… the prophet prophesied by Isaiah. He is preaching determinedly to the people about repentance. For the One who will usher in the kingdom of heaven is coming. As many confess their sins, John baptizes them in the Jordan River.

When the Jewish leaders approach the gathering, John confronts them. He boldly convicts them of their presumptive belief that their direct lineage from Abraham will guarantee entrance into heaven. For they adamantly believe they are favored by God for eternity as His chosen people. Surely He would not allow his treasured ones to be lost.

John boldly points out the root of their spiritual pride… their misplaced faith. Faith in heredity rather than God for salvation. Believing to be specially privileged, they boast that their lineage merits righteousness… giving them right standing before God. As shepherds and teachers of the people, they are thus leading the Jewish nation astray.

John looks to the rocky shore of the Jordan River and paints this word picture. God, the almighty Creator, can create a new nation of people who will have the faith of Abraham… a spiritual nation who will be justified by their faith in God’s Son, the promised Messiah, the Redeemer of all people.

“The promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring — not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.” – Romans 4:16

God promised Abraham that through Him all the people of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:18). Jesus Christ, our Savior, would be the source of this promised blessing. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). He is called the Father of Faith, the father of all who believe.

“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 3:22-24

Abraham’s faith was in God’s promised, long-awaited Messiah… a promise not yet fulfilled. Our faith is in Jesus, our Messiah… a promise fulfilled. For salvation is a gift from God, given only by grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8).

Salvation is the work of the Spirit in receptive hearts. No one merits salvation, as the Jewish leaders believed. One’s lineage does not guarantee a heavenly entrance. For all have sinned and fall short of God’s perfect righteousness.

“if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.” – Galatians 3:29

“Those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” – Galatians 3:7-9

All believers are children of Abraham… justified by our faith in Christ. Saved by His grace alone, not because of any inherent goodness of our own. Our sins have been exchanged for His perfect righteousness. Our eternal destination is heaven… forever living in His holy presence.

“As you come to Him, the living Stone — rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to Him — you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” – 1 Peter 2:4-5

Christ is the Cornerstone over whom the Jewish leaders stumbled. We are the living stones prophesied by John the Baptist to be God’s spiritual nation, His holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). All who believe are one in faith… united under the King of Kings, Jesus Christ. For He is the Way, the Truth, the Life… the only name under heaven by whom we can be saved (Acts 4:12).