Four Steps – Four Men
NOW to return to Abraham, I am sure that Paul must have had in mind the four men in Genesis who completely dominate the book from chapter 11 to 50; for these four men correspond exactly to these four steps of faith and the Apostle was an expert in the Old Testament. Abraham is the great example of divine, sovereign predestination. Isaac becomes the great example of divine calling. You will remember that Ishmael, the firstborn of Abraham, was Abraham’s choice, but God said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” – Genesis 21:12. Isaac, not Ishmael was to be a part of God’s salvation plan. So we see that “Whom He predestined, these He also called.” – Romans 8:30. Then we come to Jacob, the great example of divine justification. Jacob certainly had nothing to commend him to Almighty God. He was justified by divine grace alone. God Himself said, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” – Romans 9:13. Then follows Joseph, the great example of glorification. Sold by his brethren and left for dead, he became a great ruler in Egypt, at the right hand of the king. In these four men, therefore, we have a perfect picture of the four steps of salvation: predestination, calling, justification and glorification.
I want to reiterate and stress to you once again the necessity of a personal acceptance of this grace of God. I said and I wrote before, that the natural, depraved man delves and searches only into the past, something that is long gone and dead, while God wants us to think of our future and the life that lies ahead in eternity. I have to ask this question, if nothing else but to make you pause and thing; how much thought have you given to your future? Only a few more days or years at the most before you must leave this life, this temporary form of existence. What then? Ahead of you then waits an endless eternity. Please, please, be wise and think of the future, and follow the example of Abraham of whom it is said by the writer of Hebrews, that he considered himself only a pilgrim and stranger here below and “waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” – Hebrews 11:10.