BY PRINCEWILL IREOBA
Many Christians claim the blessings of Abraham. They are not wrong since they are actually
our heritage by faith. But Abraham’s blessings are purchased by obedience. He
demonstrated his faith through obedience, and God rewarded his obedience with blessings.
Abraham became the father of faith. Therefore, it is only his children who as well
demonstrate their faith through obedience that can rightly lay claim to his blessings.
The petition of the day’s Collect is that as Abraham was given faith to obey God’s call and go
into the unknown, so would the Church be granted such faith to follow God courageously.
When God calls and sends, the destination may not be known. But, compliance and
obedience demonstrate faith and trust and are the condition for the blessings of God.
God’s calls start with “Come” (to belong to him or become a Christian), then, “Go” (to
mission or ministry or particular assignment). It can also be “Come Back” (to repentance
when you derail). God always demands obedience. His call needs to be heeded through
compliance to its directives.
The OT passage for the day (Holy Communion – Gen. 12:1-9 is on the Call of Abraham. God
asked him to leave his country, his people and his father’s household and go to the land that
he would show him. It was following this that God promised his sevenfold blessing to make
him great and a source of blessing to mankind. Abraham complied and left. Then, in the
course of the movement, he started realizing the blessings. When he reached Canaan, God
appeared to him and said: “To your descendants, I will give this land.” He continued, even
without full realization of the promises/blessings.
The Epistle (Rom. 12:1-8) begins the 2 nd part of the Roman Epistle which is a practical
application of the 1 st part. The 1 st part (chapters 1-11) consists mainly in theological
discussions. Paul now goes on to express the actions expected of the Christian following his
beliefs and Christian thinking. Theology without lifestyle application is not complete and
relevant. (cf. Matt. 7:24-27; John 13:17; Rom. 2:13; James 1:22, 25; 2:14-26). Paul clearly
teaches a free salvation by the grace of God through faith in Jesus, but this free gift is meant
to radically change our lives! Salvation is free, but it must be followed by a radical
Christlikeness! Faith is known in obedience. As those called to be children of God, we need,
to heed by offering ourselves as a spiritual sacrifice, conforming, no longer to the world, but
to the kingdom life. It is the beginning of the life of blessedness!
The Gospel (Lk 15:11-32) is the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The Parable of the Prodigal Son
shows another dimension of God’s call, this time, not to “go” as in the case of Abraham, or
the initial “come” that normally precedes the “go” call, but to “come back”. The heeding to the call by the prodigal son changed his situation and he was restored. Indeed, there is
inestimable blessing in heeding God’s call.
“Jesus calls us!
By thy Mercies Saviour, make us hear Thy Call.
Give our hearts to Thy obedience Serve and love Thee best of all” (CONH 556:4)
The Venerable Dr Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba, FIMC, CMC
is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.