Origins Part 2: Abram the Righteous Study Guide

Continuing our “Origins: The Promise” series, Pastor Jerry Sander from our Boca campus shared a powerful word from Genesis 15 about the covenant made between God and Abraham.

Watch the video below to see a few highlights from the teaching and share it with your friends via social media. To watch the message in its entirety, click here.

For the Note Takers

The Word of God Is Still Relevant! (Genesis 15:1–5): The Word of God first came to Abram in a vision. Today, God still speaks to us through His Word. We have His Word available to us to hear from Him each and every day. We can receive wisdom, direction, comfort, conviction, peace, power, and freedom from reading His Word, we can know Him and ourselves better through His Word, and we can better understand how to interpret the world around us through His Word.

He also speaks to us through prayer. Sometimes for some people, His voice is audible, other times it’s simply an unspoken understanding of what He is speaking to our heart, and other times He will speak to us through other believers who themselves had a word imparted to them by the Spirit of God to share with us. In addition, it has been well documented that the Lord still speaks to people through visions, that He reveals Himself to many around the world who have not had the opportunity to hear about Him through the Bible, who have never heard the name of Jesus. People getting saved in other countries in the hundreds and thousands by seeing Jesus in visions!

The Promises of God Are Still True! (Genesis 15:6–8): Abram believed in the Lord; he believed the promises of God and was credited as righteous because of it. One of the most powerful passages in all of Scripture speaks of this very thing. In Romans 4:1–4, we’re told that Abraham, the father of faith and friend of God, wasn’t justified by works, by anything he did, but because he believed God. His righteousness came from God; all he needed to do was trust and believe that the Lord was faithful to keep His promises.

Romans also reveals something very interesting about the nature of faith, grace, and works: Had Abraham’s righteousness been based on works, it would not have been grace. Instead, God would have owed Abraham a debt. But God is never in our debt! In fact, we are so far in His debt that no matter what works we perform, we could never measure up to the standard of a holy and perfect God. Even one sin, one transgression, one shortcoming, puts us in an insurmountable debt. Before we’re even born, because of the sin of our ancestors Adam and Eve, we are already debtors to God. And so, what Romans reveals to us is that the harder you work for your salvation the farther you get away from God! Thus, if we want to receive the same grace and righteousness that Abraham did, we need only believe and trust in the promises of God through Christ Jesus. We can be certain and secure that all His promises are true and that He is faithful and just.

The Love of God Is Still Real! (Genesis 15:9–16): How does this idea correlate to Genesis 15:9–16? Well, each animal named connects to an idea and represents something:

  • Three-year-old heifer: Patience and strength
  • Three-year-old goat: Nourishment and refreshment
  • Three-year-old ram: Power and might
  • The birds: Gentleness and grace (the Spirit of God at work)

These are all pictures of God’s different attributes and the characteristics that He posseses. Interestingly, all these animals were three years old. Why were all the animals three years old? The public ministry of Jesus lasted three years. In addition, three is the number of newness and perfection, and Jesus was in the grave for three days.

Abram was instructed to cut the animals in half. Why? In this time, it was common for two people to make a covenant, treaty, or pact by making a sacrifice. They would cut the animal in half and they would stand between the two sides, burn the carcasses, shake hands, and agree that nothing would break this covenant with the exception of death. That is how serious they were about the commitments they made to one another.

What about the vultures? They are vile, dirty, evil animals that represent the enemy. So Abram drove them away! What are the vultures of your life? The things that peck away at your life?

Bitterness? Anger? Impatience? Envy? Idolatry? Laziness? Lust? Doubt? Anxiety? Greed? Fear? You go to God and make a pact with Him and He will drive those things out. Put your trust in Him and He will save you!

And look at what happens next: Abram fall into a deep sleep and then darkness and horror fell upon the night. This is symbolic of the “deep sleep” of death that Jesus experienced when He died upon the cross and then darkness fell upon the land when He breathed His last breath. It’s a picture of what Jesus did on the cross. Then He shared with Abram that His descendants would be strangers in a foreign land, just as we are foreigners here on earth. For us as believers, this place is not our home, our citizenship is not of the earth (2 Peter 2:11, Philippians 3:20). We are just passing through, so don’t get too comfortable here.

The Covenant of God Is Still Available! (Genesis 15:17–19): Finally, we see what happens when Abram falls into his deep sleep. Here, God makes the covenant oath without Abram, and passes through the flames between the sacrifices on His own. He makes the promise and seals it without Abram. Why? Because nothing of the promises of God to Abram relating to his descendants, the land, or the blessings that would come through his seed (Galatians 3:16) depend on anything Abram does. It’s not based on his works. Everything depends on God, who promises to be faithful to His covenant. And in turn, Abraham and his descendants can trust, count on, and believe in everything God promises them.

Likewise, our salvation, the covenant of grace through Jesus, who “redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (Galatians 3:13) is not dependent upon us. It has everything to do with Jesus, who walked across the flames of crucifixion and passed through death. Jesus did this so we could receive Him into our hearts through the promise of faith, and so that the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead could live in us and give us abundant life on earth and eternal life. All we have to do is believe and receive it.

Quote to Remember: The harder you work for your salvation the farther you get away from God!—Pastor Jerry Sander


As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider on your own, with your family, or in your group.

1. In what ways has the Lord spoken to you in your life?

2. How are you actively seeking to hear from Him today?

3. What does it look like to walk in the promises of God?  

4. What vultures are currently pecking away at your life? How are you driving them away?


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Join us this Wednesday as Pastor Chris Baselice of our Plantation campus will continue our study of Genesis 15. In this message, we’ll take an in-depth look at the covenant made between God and Abraham and how it points us to the work of Jesus.

This weekend, Dr. Bob Barnes from Sheridan House Ministries will share a special Father’s Day message to honor and bless all the dads, grandpas, and spiritual dads here at our church.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.