“And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”(Matthew 3:9, KJV)
Should God ever have decided to literally do the above, I think that “Abraham Stone” would have been a rather befitting (and cool, if I may add) choice of name to bequeath to such a person. The above verse is what John the Baptist told the Pharisees and scribes who came to observe him as he “prepared the way of the Lord”.
The Pharisees and scribes were one of the most religious people of their time. They were people who strived to follow the law to the letter and teach people to do the same. More importantly, they were direct descendants of Abraham- God’s own chosen people. So it was easy to see why they couldn’t relate with John’s message of repentance. But John’s scathing sermon to them in Matthew 3:7-12 did not only expose the state of their hearts, it also showed them the way forward.
Looking at Matthew 3:9, it’s easy to take it as a purely literal message. And of course, that wouldn’t be wrong. God is literally able to raise children of Abraham from stones. That’s just who He is. However, bearing in mind that John was also a prophet (most of us visualize him as just a forerunner and baptizer), those words he spoke in verse nine (and indeed in the other verses) carried more than a literal significance.
God was telling them that from the things they considered worthless and of no value, He was able to raise children of Abraham – that is, a people who by faith would please Him and have a relationship with Him; Father to child, spirit to Spirit.
And He’s done this, hasn’t He? We who were not “God’s people”; who were not “chosen”; who had no “Covenant” with Him; who had in time past been looked down upon by the “Originals” as unclean; worthless to God and unfit to approach God; we have now been raised up as Children of Abraham, able to enjoy the blessings of Abraham. Romans 11:17-24 speaks so beautifully about how we’ve been “grafted in”. How wonderful!
Also, I think that John’s message transcends the ages, and also speaks to us now.
Being a child of Abraham (and hence a child of God) is an election of Grace, and not a status we worked to attain. It’s not a reason to look down on those who haven’t been saved yet. We’re expected to trust God for their salvation, preach the Gospel to them, show them love and pray for them (Romans 11:17-36).
No matter what height a believer attains, pride should have no place in the heart of the believer; there just may be an Abraham Stone lurking around the corner.
It is also not enough that we claim to be children of Abraham- our actions must match our words.
Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.(Matthew 3:8, NLT)
God has expectations of every believer and everyone’s work will be tested by fire at the end of the day. Stay humble, and stay working at what God has called you to do.