For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. – Hebrews 6:13-20
J. Ligon Duncan comments:
Now let me say something about Abraham’s obedience. It may seem here as if we are saying that Abraham by his obedience merited God’s response, and merited assurance. But listen to what Thomas Brooks says. “Though no man merits assurance by his obedience, yet God usually crowns obedience with assurance.” Do you hear what he’s saying there? He’s saying God is not obliged to give us assurance because we are obedient. And we don’t earn assurance of our salvation because of our obedience, but there is this intertwining of assurance and obedience, such that when we are faithful, when we believe and when we are obedient in our faith, the Lord usually crowns that faithfulness with an assurance of the hope in us. That’s important to see because in this passage it’s going to be made clear by the author of Hebrews that one of the reasons that God swears His oath and promise is to reinforce the people’s failing and weak trust in His word. It’s not because God is untruthful, it’s because people are weak in their trust in Him that He adds this oath of confirmation. But in Abraham’s case when was it that God swore this oath? Was it at a point in Abraham’s life when he was disobedient? No. This was his supreme act of obedience, and it was because God was pleased with Abraham’s faith that He gives to him this extra dose, this extra confirmation of assurance.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 99
Q. 99. What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?
A. The whole word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples, commonly called the Lord’s prayer.