By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out…
I. It becomes the infinite greatness, and all-satisfactory goodness of God, at the very first revelation of Himself unto any of His creatures, TO REQUIRE OF THEM RENUNCIATION OF ALL OTHER THINGS, AND OF THEIR INTEREST IN THEM, IN COMPLIANCE WITH HIS COMMANDS.
II. THE POWER OF SOVEREIGN GRACE, IN CALLING MEN TO GOD, AND THE MIGHTY EFFICACY OF FAITH COMPLYING THEREWITH.
III. IT IS THE CALL OF GOD ALONE THAT MAKES A DISTINCTION AMONGST MANKIND, AS UNTO FAITH AND OBEDIENCE, WITH ALL THE EFFECTS OF THEM. Abraham thus believed and obeyed God, because he was called. And he was called, not because he was better, or wiser than others, but because it pleased God to call him and not others (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
IV. THE CHURCH OF BELIEVERS CONSISTS OF THOSE THAT ARE CALLED OUT OF THE WORLD. The call of Abraham is a pattern of the call of the Church (Psalm 45:10; 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18).
V. SELF-DENIAL IN FACT OR RESOLUTION, IS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL SINCERE PROFESSION. Abraham began his profession in the practice of this, and proceeded unto the height of it in the greatest instances imaginable. And the instruction that our Saviour gives herein (Matthew 10:37, 38; Matthew 16:24, 25), amounts but unto this — If you intend to have the faith of Abraham, with the fruits and blessings attending it, you must lay the foundation of it in the relinquishment of all things, if called thereunto, as he did.
VI. THERE IS NO RIGHT, TITLE, OR POSSESSION, THAT CAN PRESCRIBE AGAINST THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD; IN THE DISPOSAL OF ALL INHERITANCES HERE BELOW AT HIS PLEASURE.
VII. GOD'S GRANT OF THINGS UNTO ANY, IS THE BEST OF TITLES, AND MOST SURE AGAINST ALL PRETENCES OR IMPEACHMENTS (Judges 11:24).
VIII. POSSESSION BELONGS UNTO AN INHERITANCE ENJOYED. This God gave unto Abraham in his posterity, with a mighty hand, and stretched out arm; and He divided it unto them by lot.
IX. AN INHERITANCE MAY BE GIVEN ONLY FOR A LIMITED SEASON. The title unto it may be continued unto a prefixed period. So was it with this inheritance; for although it is called an everlasting inheritance, yet it was so only on two accounts.
1. That it was typical of that heavenly inheritance which is eternal.
2. Because, as unto right and title, it was to be continued unto the end of that limited perpetuity which God granted unto the church-state in that land; that is, unto the coming of the promised Seed, in whom all nations should be blessed; which the call and faith of Abraham did principally regard.
X. THAT IT IS FAITH ALONE THAT GIVES THE SOUL SATISFACTION IN FUTURE REWARDS, IN THE MIDST OF PRESENT DIFFICULTIES AND DISTRESSES. So it did to Abraham, who, in the whole course of his pilgrimage, attained nothing of this promised inheritance.
XI. THE ASSURANCE GIVEN US BY DIVINE PROMISES IS SUFFICIENT TO ENCOURAGE US TO ADVANCE IN THE MOST DIFFICULT COURSE OF OBEDIENCE.
(John Owen, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.