The Berean Expositor
Volume 24 - Page 108 of 211
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"Through faith and patience inherit the promises"
(Heb. 6: 12).
pp. 212 - 214
There is a further aspect of this subject of the promises of God which must needs be
considered if we are to make our presentation of the matter complete.
We have dwelt at some length in this series upon the promises made by God to
Abraham, and have emphasized that these promises were by faith and by grace. When,
however, we turn to Heb. 11: we meet with a promise that is never mentioned in the
Old Testament--the promise of a city "whose builder and maker is God". The way in
which this city is introduced makes it evident that it was something over and above the
initial promise of the land, with which the book of Genesis is occupied. It was because of
this that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were content to be mere tent-dwellers in the land of
Towards the end of Heb. 11:, when the time at the disposal of the apostle "would fail
to tell" of all the witnesses to overcoming faith that are found in the Scriptures, he gives a
summary of some of their activities:--
"Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises,
stopped the mouths of lions" (Heb. 11: 33).
The particular clause that interests us  at the moment is that which speaks of
"obtaining promises". Tugchano, from which the word "obtain" is derived, is defined by
Dr. Bullinger in his Lexicon: "to hit, to strike, to reach a mark or object." In a modified
form, it is translated "wrought", the original being variously rendered "work", "labour"
and "trade".
We have both Gen. 15: and the apostle's comment in Rom. 4: to testify that the
original promise made by God to Abraham was "by faith without works". But we must
not forget that James speaks of another part of Abraham's life. Referring, not to the
promise of a seed, but to the offering up of Isaac, he says:--
"Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son
upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith
made perfect?" (James 2: 21, 22).
It is to this period of Abraham's history, and not to the initial phase of Gen. 15:, that
the apostle alludes in Heb. 6::--
"That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit
the promises. For when God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no
greater, He sware by Himself, saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I
will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise"
(Heb. 6: 12-15).