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Seeds of the Kingdom

The Spiritual Father of Many Nations

by Liz Griffin

2 September 2022

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But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.
Romans 4:5, NLT

Abraham was brought up in a family which did not know the true and living God, and his parents worshipped false gods. He did not choose God. God choose him. God took Abraham to a faraway country and Abraham was privileged to have a close and personal relationship with God for the rest of his life.

Abraham heard God promise that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and that through them all the families on earth would be blessed. What was Abraham’s response? ‘And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith’ (Genesis 15:6).

The apostle Paul explains how Abraham’s response gives full assurance to us today, as believers in Jesus Christ. ‘And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God’ (Romans 4:23-25).

In my personal experience, it was in a faraway country that I found faith in Jesus, away from the influences of family and the culture I was brought up in. I know that Abraham is my spiritual father. I am a Gentile believer, as described in Romans, Chapter 4. ‘So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith’ (Romans 4:11b).

After living as an expatriate in three different countries, I can say that I never failed to find brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus wherever I have been. The family of believers is worldwide. That is why I am so excited to find myself now in a large vibrant city church, where each week I meet people from different age groups, backgrounds, and nationalities.

I have only been in this church for three years, two of them spent in Lockdowns. Since we have been able to get back from watching services online and meeting on zoom, we have found the congregation has grown in numbers and become more international.

A few weeks ago, I met a Japanese family who had never been to church before. They had been invited to come along by a Hong Kong family who have children in the same school. It was an entirely new experience for them, and they found the sense of being in a ‘good’ community attractive and have continued to come.

I can empathise with those who are now settling into a vastly different culture and environment as I have done it about four times, including adjusting back to my own country England after twenty years away.

Liz Griffin lived for 20 years as an expatriate in South Africa, Bahrain and Japan, as her husband Paul worked for an international oil company. Paul and Liz became involved with Ellel Ministries in 1991 as part of the ministry team and joined the full-time team at Ellel Grange in 1995. Paul and Liz teach and minister to those seeking healing in their lives and together have written two books, 'Anger - How Do You Handle It' and 'Hope and Healing For The Abused'.


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