This is a question that is not hard to answer if we will simply look in the Bible, God's Word. Paul said in Romans 4:3, "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." This type of righteousness is required for one to go to heaven. "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:20)
Paul also stated this same basic verse in Gal. 3:6 and James quoted it in James 2:23. Abraham was saved when he believed God's promise. "And he believed in the Lord: and he counted it to him for righteousness." (Gen. 15:6) Paul answered the Philippian jailer's question of, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" by saying, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." This is what Abraham did, "believe God" and he was saved. This answered the question, "When?"
The other question is "Where was he saved?" There must be a time and place when one is saved. You may not know the minute, day or hour but the time and place will be a very vivid reality in your life. If it is not, then you are not saved. Genesis 15:6 is the scripture that Paul and James quoted concerning Abraham. So to find out the "Where?", we simply need to find out where Genesis 15:6 occurred.
That is easy to do because Gen. 15:1 says, "After these things." After what things? After God appeared unto him in Mesopotamia and said, "Get thee out of thy country, and from they kindred, and go into the land which I shall shew thee (shew thee as you go)." (Acts 7:2-3) After he had dwelt in Haran for a number of years (unable to establish the exact number of years; may have been from 5 to 32 years). After God spoke to him at Haran when he was 75 years of age in Gen. 12:1-3. After he had entered Canaan and God had spoke to him again. (Gen. 12:5-7) After he had built an altar and worshiped. (Gen. 12:8, 13:4) After he had separated from Lot. (Gen. 13:5-13) After God spoke to him the fourth time (recorded) in Gen. 13:14-18. After he had defeated Chedorlaomer and his league of kings with 318 trained servants. (Gen. 14:1-16) After he paid tithes to Melchizedek. (Gen. 14:17-24)
Gen. 15:1 then says, "After these things," God spoke to Abram, for his name had not been changed to Abraham yet. At this time and place, nine years after Abram entered Canaan when he was 84 years old, he believed God and was saved. (Gen. 15:1-6) You see the Bible tells us when and where Abraham was saved.
This goes to show you how many times we fail to simply take God's Word and let it speak to us. For years I thought he was saved before he left Mesopotamia, because tradition leads us to believe that due to what Heb. 11:8 says, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." This raises another question. If Abraham was saved nine years after being in Canaan (we just proved he did), what kind of faith did he have when he left Mesopotamia?
Heb. 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. "The word "cometh" means along the path of understanding. The first time God spoke to Abram, he had "intellectual" faith, he believed "God is." (Heb. 11:6) Faith, whatever kind it may be will cause you to act; therefore "intellectual" faith caused Abram to move out of Mesopotamia, "looking for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Heb. 11:10) This is "seeking" faith that brought him to an understanding of the promise of God so that he could believe unto salvation, by "saving" faith.
When God first spoke to Abram in Mesopotamia he did not understand the promise because he carried his father and Lot with him. God said, "Get thee out . . . from thy kindred." When in Haran after his father died, God spoke and said the same thing but Abram did not obey fully. He carried Lot, his kindred. Also when in Canaan, God spoke saying, "He would give his seed this land." (Gen. 12:7) Abram still did not understand the promise even though he had more information. In Gen. 13:15-16, God gave him more information when He added, "I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth." It is evident from Gen. 15:1-6 that Abram still did not understand, but as the Lord begin to explain the promise to him, "saving" faith came and Abram "believed God" and he was saved.
"Saving" faith is necessary for one to be saved. "Intellectual" and "seeking" faith will allow you to believe the facts but salvation will not come until "saving" faith is exercised. This is evident in John 2:23-25. "Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man." Jesus did not commit Himself to these people because they believed only the facts, thus "intellectual" faith. If Jesus does not commit to you, you are not saved.
Many today say, "all you have to do to be saved is believe." This is true if you believe from the heart with "saving" faith. This is what Abraham did nine years after he got in the land of Canaan. He had a time and place where the Lord saved him.
The question now is, "Do you have a time and place where the Lord gave you understanding of His promise and you believed unto salvation with "saving" faith?" If not you had better seek Him with all your heart so that you can be saved and then you will have a time and place where the Lord puts righteousness on your account.
I thank the Lord that the Bible answers our questions if we will rightly divide the Word and listen to the Holy Spirit instead of following tradition.
We have several series of cd’s that are without charge that would be of help to you concerning this subject. They will be sent to you just for the asking. We care for your soul.
THE PERSUADER - Jan.-June, 2014
*This article was first written in 1992. Since that time we have many more added to our mailing list and I felt the need to publish it again since the Abraham principle is missing in many professions of faith and many will be cast into hell because this truth is not a part of their salvation experience. (Matthew 7:22-23) EDITOR