Genesis 26:5

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Puritan Board Professor
Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
Could this be construed in a semi pelagian or Arminian (obedience of faith = righteousness/covenant keeping). I know this verse has been used by some Jews to say that Abraham somehow fulfilled the law before was given, despite the fact he did many things not necessarily in obedience. How does this sit with the idea that Abraham was called out of grace?
I think "true" faith and obedience seem to go hand and hand throughout the Word. So I think we read this with the presupposition that God's grace through faith is the source of His obeying. I think their are many examples of this through the Bible.
Chronologically, Abraham is almost certainly dead by Gen.26. The young brothers Jacob and Esau, though living with Isaac and Rebekah, are beyond the age of majority (since the one has disposed of his birthright). Abraham was justified by faith, apart from works. His whole life (what we're told of it) is abundant evidence of that. His sins were not peccadilloes. His major stumblings are recorded for us, and are not "outweighed" by all his good work.

Abraham was a man who grew in grace, and did persevere. What 26:5 contains is a portion of a promise to Isaac. It is one man who is promised blessing--not for his own obedience--but in recognition of another man's faith as shown or proven by his life. The point of this episode is covenant renewal. Isaac cannot have confidence that God will continue to bless him as he saw his father blessed, if he adopts the worst of his father's examples, if he gives up on God's promises. God emphasizes how he delighted in Abraham's best moments.

And what happens in Gerar? Isaac's faith stumbles, and he sins almost exactly in the manner his father had done not just ONCE (Gen.12:14-18) but TWICE (Gen.20:2,9)! So, what happens with Abraham also happens with Isaac--God intervenes where faith fails and man disobeys, to preserve the man and the Lord's promise.

There is something, therefore, of divine irony in the Lord's statement. The promise doesn't actually rest on man's obedience at all. But we should expect some obedience to manifest itself in the life of faith. And that is genuine perseverance.
"Faith without works is dead." (James 2:20)

"The elect in due time, though in various degrees and in different measures, attain the assurance of this their eternal and unchangeable election, not by inquisitively prying into the secret and deep things of God, but by observing in themselves with a spiritual joy and holy pleasure the infallible fruits of election pointed out in the Word of God—such as, a true faith in Christ, filial fear, a godly sorrow for sin, a hungering and thirsting after righteousness, etc." (Canons of Dort, 1st head, article 12)

Simply put, the things listed in Gen. 26:5 are the fruits of Abraham's faith and the work of the Holy Spirit.

"Do our good works merit nothing, even though it is God’s will to reward them in this life and in that which is to come? The reward comes not of merit, but of grace." (Heidelberg 63)
Calvin frames it thus."Moses does not mean that Abraham's obedience was the reason why
the promise of God was confirmed and ratified to him; but what God freely bestows upon
the faithful is sometimes beyond their desert, ascribed to themselves; that they, knowing
their intention to be approved by the Lord, may the more ardently addict and devote themselves
entirely to His service: so He now commends the obedience of Abraham, in order that Isaac may
be stimulated to an imitation of his example.----the meaning therefore is, that Abraham, having
formed his life in entire accordance with the will of God, walked in his pure service."
Abraham was an accomplished liar, even after he believed in God as his Saviour. His faithful obedience was relative, impure and imperfect.
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