Signs of spring
"Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness." Genesis 15.6
It may seem odd to begin a search for Christian identity in the Old Testament. Yet that was Jesus' own reference point. The New Testament did not come into being until after his life, death and resurrection. It offers us a retrospective account of Jesus' walk on earth and his immediate impact on those around him. But it was the scriptures of the Old Testament which were the formative influence on the human Jesus. In 'Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament' Chris Wright explains:
"... the Old Testament tells the story which Jesus completed. It declares the promise which he fulfilled. It provides the pictures and models which shaped his identity. It programmes a mission which he accepted and passed on. It teaches a moral orientation to God and the world which he endorsed, sharpened and laid as the foundation for obedient discipleship." (Quoted by Philip Long in his essay on Abraham.)
The opening chapters of the Bible present a cycle of sin, judgment and grace - until the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. Sin is committed, judgment applied but no apparent resolution - until the next chapter, which embarks on the story of God's gracious rescue, which will occupy the rest of the Old Testament and into the New. It is a story which begins with one sinner's inspired response to the call of God...