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Called from Idolatry to Be a Blessing

September 12, 2019
By Martin Luther

“And I will make of you a great nation . . . and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

GENESIS 12:2-3

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Called from Idolatry to Be a Blessing

It is a great and inexpressible gift that Abraham is physically the father of the Son of God. But what is the beginning of this honor? That Abraham is an idolater and a very great sinner, who worships a God he does not know! The Son of God wants this ancestor in His line of descent to be exalted, just as other ancestors of Christ are noted for their great sins. Why should this be the case? In the first place, in order to show that He is the Savior of sinners. In the second place, to inform us of His limitless kindness, lest we be overwhelmed by our sins and plunged into despair. In the third place, to block the road to haughtiness and pride. For when Abraham has been called in this way, he cannot say: "I have deserved this; this is my work." Even though he was guiltless before men so far as the Second Table [Exodus 20:12-17] is concerned, yet he was an idolater. He would have deserved eternal death had it not been for the call by which he was delivered from idolatry and finally granted the forgiveness of sins through faith. Therefore the statement stands (Romans 9:16): "It depends not upon man's will or exertion but upon God's mercy."