21 April 2006

Did Abraham Sin?

Dear Bro. John:
We understand that Abraham was a friend of God. Apart from marrying his housemaid, was he perfect or sinless? Did he commit any sin at all? Please let me know if he did commit sins and if so which? Are they recorded in the Bible?
--Lawrence K. (London)

Dear Bro. Lawrence:
Abraham was truly the friend of God (Jas. 2:23) but he was not sinless. We are told that he was untruthful when he had Sarah tell the Pharaoh that she was his sister (Gen. 12:13). This he did lest Pharaoh kill him and take her for a wife. He we see the lie (albeit she was his half-sister. See Gen. 20:12). Also he encouraged her to participate in it.

The important thing to see in this event is that God does not need perfect men to use for his purposes. Abraham was a mortal man just like us. He had his weaknesses and sometimes failed to do the right thing (Rom. 3:23). In spite of his weakness and sin, God still used him and he can use us as well. You will note that God makes a point to tell us of the shortcomings of all the great Bible heroes. Only Jesus was without sin.

The second point to remember that Jehovah is a God of grace. This means that we can be saved and used even though we are imperfect and sometimes sinful.

Grace allows Him to forgive us even though we certainly do not earn or deserve such forgiveness (Eph. 2:8-9). When we walk in the light the blood of Jesus, his son keeps on cleansing us of our sins (I John 1:7). Therefore as forgiven sinners we serve our gracious God and he uses us to his honor and glory just as he did Abraham.

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