A Question I Was Asked:

Did God Call Abraham Because He (Abraham) Was Good?

How was it that God called Abraham? Did he find grace before God, also like Noah, was it that God saw in his heart that he would obey Him?

UK Apologetics Reply:

The truth is: God knew Abraham (originally called 'Abram' of course) even before he was born (Ephesians 1:4-5), exactly the same as with Noah whom you mention. God always intended calling these people for the purpose of the redemption of mankind; they all slotted into His purposes, culminating, of course, in the birth of Christ around 4 BC.

Regarding Noah we are told that:

This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. (Genesis 6:9).

So does this mean that God only called Noah because he was a righteous man, because God knew he would be "good"? No, this is not actually a Bible teaching at all, although many seem to persist in thinking in this way. Rather, God equips the people whom He calls with the necessary grace; this is why Noah was a good and righteous man. This essential Bible teaching is actually shown through God's working with Israel before we even come to individuals; God did not call the nation of Israel because they were a good and obedient people, rather, they were an exceptionally stubborn and stiff-necked people. (Isaiah 65:2). Indeed, in the aftermath of the Golden Calf incident God threatened to destroy Israel because of their unfaithfulness (Exodus 32:9). Then, much later, He allowed both Israel and Judah to go into national captivity because of their continual unfaithfulness. The point is: when God calls people He equips them for what they will need but there are few Bible examples of God calling people because they are "good," no, rather, He frequently calls stubborn and somewhat difficult people, just think of Samson (who continually lusted after Midianite women), Moses (who had a problem with a bad temper), David (who actually arranged to have the husband of Bathsheba killed, to say nothing of at least an inference of a romantic passion with/for Jonathan), Rahab (a former prostitute), and so on. So it is incorrect to think 'God only called that person because he was exceptionally good and nice.' Indeed, have we not all met absolutely lovely people who never receive a call from God? Take careful note of Luke 5:32:

But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:30-32).

But does not the inspired text state that Noah was a good and righteous man? Yes, but in comparison, perhaps, to many who surrounded him in that time and place. Of course, some of those who are called are indeed soft and meek, maybe Daniel was like that, possibly Gideon, maybe a few others too but there is no getting away from the fact that perhaps many of those whom God has called have not been exceptionally meek and mild people. It doesn't matter because God will equip them with what they need. Same goes for you and I.

Regarding Abraham, he is called "the father of the faithful," for good reason:

So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham "believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." (Galatians 3:5-8).

So Abraham became the type of every Christian who is justified by faith and not through the works of the law. Yet - even there - it is of course God alone who calls, then grants that saving faith.

Robin A. Brace. January 7th, 2016.