What happens to a sinner to make him want to become a son of God? That question popped into my mind this week while reading some Life Studies of Romans that talked about the story of Abraham given in Romans 4. I have always found the story of Abraham remarkable. Some Bible scholars say that Abraham was born about 350 years after the flood in which the Bible tells us only 8 people from Noah’s family survived. You would think that all of Noah’s grandkids and great grandkids would all be walking closely with God after that happened. But that wasn't the case. It surprised me when I read in Halley’s Bible Handbook that the tower of Babel was built about 100 years after the flood! What Witness Lee shares about this historical event was eye opening to me:
At Babel people built the tower of Babel. Names of idols were written on this tower, meaning that the whole created race had turned to idolatry. Thus Paul says the human race had exchanged God for idols (1:23, 25). Paul wrote Romans 1 according to the history narrated in Genesis (Romans Life Study, Page 65-66).
To think that the entire created race had turned away from God is appalling. At that time on the earth not one person was loving and serving the one true God.
At this point God came to Abraham and called him. The Bibles tells us he was living in a town called Ur, which I saw in Halley's Bible Handbook was on the Euphrates River near the Persian Gulf. Halley’s states that the main idols the people in Ur worshipped were the moon, stars, fire and the forces of nature. So here’s Abraham living in a land where everyone worships idols, and even he is an idol worshipper. How does God get him to drop his idol worship and turn back to the one true God? He appears to him! Witness Lee points out that we see this in record Stephen gives in Acts 7:3: And he said, Men, brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran and said to him, Come out from your land and from your relatives and come into the land which I will show you.
This appearing isn't just an ordinary appearing--something happens when God appears to people. I really like the way Witness Lee describes it: “The living God spontaneously transfuses Himself into the called one. As a result, he is attracted by God and to God. Unconsciously, some element, some essence of the living God is transfused into him, and He reacts to God by believing in Him. This reaction is faith. … Therefore faith does not originate with us, it comes from God (Romans Life Study, Page 78). So God has a way to make sinners sons of God. He just appears and transfuses His believing element into them! It amazes me that God can't be stopped; He always finds a way to fulfill His purpose!
Other Blogs on the Life Studies of Romans:
Life Study of Romans: Romans is the Gospel of God
How Did God Call Abraham?
What is Sanctification in the Book of Romans?
Last year I started re-reading the Life Studies of the New Testament. If you click on the Life Study tab, you can find other titles that may interest you.