The Introduction

How did we get here? What I mean by that is how is setting the stage to do his will and his good pleasure in his people who are not yet his people.

Well, logic dictates, he must start with a person. Now, because we have seen a couple of genealogies (Genesis 5) and we have heard the proclamation of the gospel (Genesis 3:15) and for most of us, this is not the first time hearing this story, we know that through one bloodline starting with Adam through Noah through a man name Terah.

Genesis 11:24–32 (CSB) Nahor lived 29 years and fathered Terah. 25 After he fathered Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and fathered other sons and daughters. 26 Terah lived 70 years and fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran. 27 These are the family records of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran, and Haran fathered Lot. 28 Haran died in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans, during his father Terah’s lifetime. 29 Abram and Nahor took wives: Abram’s wife was named Sarai, and Nahor’s wife was named Milcah. She was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah. 30 Sarai was unable to conceive; she did not have a child. 31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot (Haran’s son), and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there. 32 Terah lived 205 years and died in Haran.

Biblical genealogies are not there so that God and throw out a bunch of names so that in the year 2022, some English speaking Americans will get tripped up and mispronounce all of them. No, I promise you that is not the point.

Ever person listed, whether saved by God or not, matters to him because He loves them. You have a name? You are loved by God. You matter to him. And you love and trust and believe his Son. Then your name is written in the Book of Life forever. But that is another sermon for another time.

I want you to keep in mind when we read and study Genesis 12, God is putting together his people through one man. We just read his family of origin. Let us see how and perhaps why God chose Abraham.

The Text

Genesis 12:1-6 (CSB)
1 The LORD said to Abram: Go from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

2 I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

3 I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.

5 He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated, and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan,

6 Abram passed through the land to the site of Shechem, at the oak of Moreh. (At that time the Canaanites were in the land.)

Our God

Predestined by God: Abraham was minding his own business

Look at the gap between the end of chapter 11 and the beginning of 12.

What was Abram doing? The Bible does not say. But we know that while Abram was good with money, he was not wise with people. We know, based on the Bible, that he was not a righteous person. Much like Noah was wicked in the sight of the Lord, but then Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord (remember the order) and Noah became righteous.

If all who are born of Adam–that includes you and me–were in sin and destined to die, something outside of us must come in and save us. We could fall for the folly of mankind who throughout history thought that if we could be rich enough, smart enough, wise enough, work hard enough, we could save ourselves. And yet, all humans of every generation dies off.

We know from the Bible–we know that from what we read of Genesis thus far–that Abram was just as sinful as any man. But Abram found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Abram did not and could not earn the favor of God. Abram was born into a family–a Gentile family (Jews have not yet been born) and went about life.


God came in the midst of his ordinary every day life and gives the covenant call:

1 The LORD said to Abram: Go from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

2 I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

3 I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

Predestined by God: Abraham was called out by God

Romans 8:30a (CSB) And those he predestined, he also called

What is being called by God really about?

In today’s evangelical world, and perhaps you grew up like I did that everyone was “called into ministry” as through it will be a full-time job and we all have to file for non-profit statuses. No. What does it mean to be called by God is to be saved by God.

You might say, “What, if God calls us to himself, then we would respond to him favorably guaranteed? Don’t I get a choice in the matter?”

If all the arguments I have ever heard against the Doctrines of God or what we call ‘Calvinism’, this response makes me the most insane.

Don’t look at it like God is giving you a multiple choice like Morpheus in The Matrix with the blue or the red pill. Or for our non-sci-fi fans, another choice, “Should I have Reese’s Puffs or Cocoa Puffs for breakfast?”

The choice to be with God is the dead coming alive. Don’t look at it like a mere choice, “Should I get a green or a red truck?” Look at this choice in the right manner:

John 11:41–43 (CSB) So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you heard me. 42 I know that you always hear me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so that they may believe you sent me.” 43 After he said this, he shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

Dead people do not choose. They are dead. They just lay be dead. Lazarus was 4 days dead. Super dead. Likewise, in our sins, we are super dead in our sins and trespasses. But what happens? But God, in his great love our us, calls out to our dead souls and cold hearts, pulls our expired hearts out, gives us his own heart and his own spirit. And now, we get to live. Now we are alive. Now we choose to live. There is only one way to live–live to God. To not live to God, to sin and trespass against God is death.

Since you and me are alive to Christ, you and I get to minister and love and serve and encourage one another. You want a calling? That’s your calling. Love God with all of your being and love your neighbor as yourself. You might have to work a regular job. In fact, I am almost sure of that. The upside is that you don’t have to file paperwork for a non-profit status. But you do get to love God and love others. And that is far far far sweeter thing.


5 He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated, and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan,

The Gospel

Predestined by God: Abraham was made righteous by God

Remember when I asked you to look in the gap between chapters 11 and 12. What is happening between verses is just as important in this passage as the verses themselves. All of Scriptures is breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16)–every period, comma, tittle, and iota is his word was breathed out by God and even the gaps, pauses, and half pauses are breathed out by God.

We could read verses 1-4 where God speaks to Abram and then read the rest of the chapter as Abram merely responding to that calling. But you and I know that when God speaks, it is not mere data being exchanged between two beings but rather, something supernatural is going on, for:

Isaiah 55:11 (CSB) so my word that comes from my mouth will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.”

When the children of God are called by God to live to God, the moment we believe and trust in him (because our dead hearts could not live and trust in him because we are dead).

Now we are truly alive. Now we live to God.

1 John 5:1 (CSB) Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of him.

John 3:3 (CSB) Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Abram was elected, chosen, thought of, loved by God before the “foundations of the world” (Ephesians 1), that is, before “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Because of that great love and affection by God, Abram was born again and born of God.

But before Abram lifted a finger, he believe God and took God at his word and trusted him. Before he took one little step:

Romans 4:1–5 (CSB) What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about—but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness. 4 Now to the one who works, pay is not credited as a gift, but as something owed. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited for righteousness.

Now, you might keep reading the Bible, past Genesis, past Romans and come up on a little passage statement from the half-brother and younger Brother of Jesus:

James 2:22–26 (CSB) You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was made complete, 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works in receiving the messengers and sending them out by a different route? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Is James contradicting Paul in Romans and being divisive and argumentative and contradictory and putting the Scriptures at odds with one another? Absolutely not! In fact, if the epistles of Paul and James were conversations of the two apostles in the same room, you might go like this:

Paul: Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness. 4 Now to the one who works, pay is not credited as a gift, but as something owed. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited for righteousness. (Romans 4:3b-5)

James: But wait! You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works in receiving the messengers and sending them out by a different route? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (James 2:24b-26)

Here’s the plot twist:

Paul: Oh James, I completely agree! For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8–10 (CSB))

Paul would double down with rest of the Bible: we are not saved by good works but to good works. We are not saved by others to one another. We are only saved by thing along and it is not a thing but a person and that is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Praise be to to God.


6 Abram passed through the land to the site of Shechem, at the oak of Moreh. (At that time the Canaanites were in the land.)

Our Responsibility

Predestined by God: Abram Gets Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever

Because we are born in the iniquity of Adam, and death and sin passed from generation to generation until this day, infecting every man, woman, and child, showing no mercy and grace, devouring and crushing all humankind.

There is one man, who walked this earth, prophesied by certain preachers of old, that would be the Messiah that humanity longed for:

Isaiah 9:6–7 (CSB) For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the LORD of Armies will accomplish this.

And since Jesus was not born of Adam, he did not come to add to our sin which filled all of mankind, but he come to save us from it.

Within the history of mankind, in the middle of chaos, death, and confusion, God elects. God predestined. God foreknew each one of us. Again, let me repeat what the Bible makes abundantly clear. That God did not look down the corridors of time, saw that those who were doing good or picked God as their Savior and picked those people to be saved. No! But that God saw all of humanity, foreknew our hearts were cold and and dead, and saw in our weakness, faithless, worthless, sinful selves–he took pity, he gave us grace, mercy, and love–and he did so by sending his precious only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us:

Romans 5:8 (CSB) But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Abram was effectually, effectively, called-to-the-living, heart-exchanged, spirit-indwelt, righteousness-deposited by God through the simple words:

1 The LORD said to Abram: Go from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

2 I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

3 I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

Jesus, on this earth, had more than a few words to say about Abraham, whom Galatians and Hebrews calls, “the father of our faith”. He says:

John 8:56 (CSB) Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.”

Abraham was born again. And now he saw the kingdom of God.

Abraham was brought to life.

If you are saying to yourself, “I did not hear the audible voice of God. Am I saved?” Take heart! Because you have heard the words of God preached over you and you believe and trust and were SAVED!

God does not have to make audibly know by all but God, the perfect communicator, spoke to our dead hearts and cause them to come alive. You and I are born again. We are alive because of Christ.

Go and live!

The Resources

Calvin’s Commentaries.
by John Calvin.
Baker. 2009.

Genesis.
by James Montgomery Boice.
Baker Books. May 1, 2006.

Genesis: Beginning and Blessing (Preaching the Word).
by R. Kent Hughes.
Crossway. November 30, 2012.

Genesis (Word Biblical Commentary).
by Gordon J. Wenham.
Thomas Nelson Inc. October 9, 1987.

The Gospel in Genesis.
by Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
Crossway. 2009.