Abraham—Called by God, by Witness Lee

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After Abraham’s natural strength and self-effort were dealt with by God, Isaac was born (17:15-19; 18:10-14; 21:1-7). This implies that Isaac was born of grace, which is represented by Sarah (Gal. 4:24-28, 31). The record of Genesis says this transpired at “the time of life” (18:10, 14). Whenever the effort of the natural life ceases, that is the time of life. At the time of life something is born in grace. Grace is related to life, and life goes with grace. Hence, grace is called “the grace of life” (1 Pet. 3:7).


Isaac was grown up in grace (21:8). By his history we see that he did not do anything. He was born and he was grown up. I do not say that he grew up, but that he was grown up. Like a farmer who grows apples in his orchard, God grew Isaac like a tree in His orchard. Isaac was grown up by God in grace.

Second Peter 3:18 tells us to “grow in grace.” This indicates that to grow is the feeding and watering as revealed by Peter in 1 Peter 2:2 and by Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:2 and 6. To grow in grace is to grow in the enjoyment of all that Christ is to us as our spiritual food and living water. All the riches of what Christ is to us are for our growth in life. The more we enjoy the riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8), the more we grow in life (Eph. 4:15).


Isaac also became the heir in grace (21:9-12). All that his father had was his, for Abraham gave all his riches to this unique heir. Likewise, we should have no enjoyment in ourselves. All the enjoyment of the inheritance must be in grace.


Isaac also obeyed in grace (22:5-10). In my reading of Genesis 22 in the past, I could not understand how Isaac, a young man, could have been so obedient. Eventually, I saw that he was obedient because he was saturated with grace. He was absolutely in grace, and his obedience was also in grace. That obedience brought in God’s provision. It is the same with us today. Whenever we obey in grace, we shall meet the provision of God.

God’s grace is powerful, enabling us to bear anything. Paul told Timothy to “be empowered in the grace” of Christ (2 Tim. 2:1). Grace can even reign over all things (Rom. 5:21). We should not fall from grace (Gal. 5:4) but rather be confirmed by it (Heb. 13:9). The more we bear in grace, the more provision of grace we meet and participate in.


Isaac inherited all things from his father (24:36; 25:5). It was by grace, not by his effort, that he became the heir of the father’s riches. He was not required to do anything that he might inherit the father’s riches and he did not do anything for the inheritance. It was absolutely and unconditionally of grace.

In the New Testament, all the called believers are heirs of God’s absolute and unconditional grace. God has called us and has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings in Christ (Eph. 1:3). In Christ He has put us into grace that we might become the heirs of grace, inheriting all the riches of the divine fullness as our enjoyment. Our Christian life must be like Isaac’s, doing nothing by himself, but inheriting and enjoying all that the father has. In the inheriting of grace, we must cease from the effort of our natural life that we may keep ourselves open and available for the enjoyment of grace.


Isaac inherited not only all that his father had, but also the promise which God had given to his father concerning the good land and the unique seed, which is Christ in whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed (26:3-5). This promise was actually for the fulfillment of God’s purpose that God might have a kingdom on the earth in which to express Himself through a corporate people. Both the good land and the seed are for the formation of a kingdom for God on the earth. In this kingdom God can be fully expressed in the seed, into which He will work Himself and which will be transformed into His image. This was a promise given to Abraham and inherited by Isaac. But it is a fulfillment with us today. Today we are enjoying the Triune God as our grace. Through our enjoyment of grace the kingdom of God will be realized and God in Christ will be fully expressed for eternity.

(Abraham—Called by God, Chapter 27, by Witness Lee)