As the story of the Bible opens, we encounter human failure at every turn. Adam and Eve invite sin and death into our world. Cain kills Abel, even after God warns him about the evil lurking in his heart. And there’s nearly everyone else—“every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5). Who could blame God if He had decided enough was enough? But in Genesis 12, God does something tremendously gracious: He chooses to befriend an elderly man from Mesopotamia and bless him beyond all imagination.
The promises God made to Abram, later renamed Abraham, seem too big for reality: descendants enough to replace the stars in the sky, with kings among their number; a name known far and wide; and a piece of real estate approximately the size of New Hampshire. These promises seem so removed from our everyday lives that we tend to leave them in the past, there among the tents and flocks of Abraham and Sarah. But the New Testament tells us that these promises are actually ours in Christ.
We are counted among the stars in the sky Abraham saw, heirs of the blessings bestowed upon the patriarch in response to his faith (Galatians 3:29). Abraham is our father by the way of the promise, just as he was Isaac’s (Romans 4:17). We are even “kings,” since we have been given a royal priesthood (Genesis 17:6; 1 Peter 2:9). And the land? That may be the best part. In Christ, that promise has been transformed, stretched out, and enlarged. It now encompasses the whole earth (Romans 4:13), including the city of New Jerusalem where we will one day live with God, just as Adam and Eve did so many years ago in Eden (Hebrews 11:16; Revelation 21:2–3). In God’s promises to Abraham, Christ has transformed our failures into blessings, not because we deserve it, but because He is just that good.