Genesis 26: Scattered Thoughts on Righteousness and Tradition

In Genesis 26 we read this:

I will make your descendants as many as the stars of heaven, and I will give them all these lands; and all the nations in the world shall bless themselves by your descendants in return for Abraham’s obedience; for he kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes and my laws. [26:4–5]

Abraham was righteous, God says, because of what he did. This contradicts the Reformed/Presbyterian notion that there is no one who does good.

Furthermore, it seems that there must have been an oral tradition of God’s commandments, statutes, and laws that was kept by Abraham, because there is nothing whatsoever to suggest that God provided a written code for him or his ancestors (the book of Genesis was written centuries later). Consequently it seems safe to say that a written law is not a sine qua non of how God deals with His people, and that appeals to tradition as divine laws cannot be ipso facto rejected.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Calvinism, Scripture, Veritatis Splendor
7 comments on “Genesis 26: Scattered Thoughts on Righteousness and Tradition
  1. savedbygrace says:

    Faith comes first then obedience (works) follows

    Abraham was righteous by faith.

  2. aquinasetc says:


    Thank you for stopping by.

    That’s a subject for a different day and a different post. :-)

    The point in this post with respect to Abraham’s righteousness is that Presbyterians—at least some of them—claim that there is no one who does good. No one. But as we see here in Genesis 26, God declares that Abraham did keep His laws, statutes, and commandments. But to obey God is to do good. Therefore Abraham did good, and the Presbyterians who make the aforementioned claim are mistaken.

    I suppose that the interest they have in making that claim is to buttress the truth that man cannot save himself by his works. But this truth does not depend upon a denial that men may do good, and so we may safely affirm both that men may do good deeds and that they are saved by grace alone.


    • savedbygrace says:

      oh got it.

      I’m no Presbyterians,

      but I will quote what Jesus said

      “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered.
      “No one is good–except God alone”
      – Mark 10:18

      the bible says our righteousness are

      “For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
      And all our righteous deeds are like a Filthy Garment;”
      – Isaiah 64:6

      I can see where you are coming.

      Reading Hebrews 11,
      the hall of faith heroes, there is no mention of their failures.

      so yes, whomever God says good is indeed good.
      whomever God says is righteous is indeed righteous.
      with a price. the blood of Jesus.


  3. aquinasetc says:


    No one is righteous apart from God’s grace—Yes. But Abraham’s righteousness consisted in more than a mere declaration, as is shown by the fact that God said that Abraham obeyed His commandments. It would be a mistake to interpret Isaiah 64 or Mark 10 as to mean either that men cannot do good at all or that they cannot become actually righteous with the help of God’s grace, since we have examples (like Abraham) to the contrary.


  4. aquinasetc says:

    we obey because we are righteous, not to get righteous.

    I’m afraid we’re talking past each other, because that is not what I am saying. :-)

    We obey because we love God, and He tells us that if we love Him we must keep His commandments. By doing so we become righteous. That is not the same as earning or meriting the forgiveness of our sins, which is something God does by His grace. But we certainly can and do become righteous as a consequence of practicing obedience to God.



    • savedbygrace says:

      Oh I am just basing on Romans 4.

      Romans 4

      Abraham Justified by Faith

      1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

      4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

      7 “Blessed are those
      whose transgressions are forgiven,
      whose sins are covered.
      8 Blessed is the one
      whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 146 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: