In Genesis 17, before God tells Abraham that He will make a covenant with him and multiply him, He gives him a command. A simple, complex, loving command.
The King James Version words the command this way: Walk before me, and be thou perfect. The New Living translation puts it this way: Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. But I love the God’s Word Translation – it says – Live in my presence with integrity.
The translations reiterate the same command. God is asking Abraham to live a life of righteousness. He is asking him to forsake everything that would taint his body, spirit and soul.
Which leads to a difficult question: Is it possible to live a blameless life?
The immediate answer must be yes… If it were not possible, God would not have asked this of Abraham. It’s heretical when grace is manipulated to meet the spiritual standards of those who think that blameless living is faulty theology and impossible.
Keep in mind that when God told Abraham to live in His presence, to be perfect, and to walk before Him, the Holy Spirit was ‘on’ God’s children – but not ‘inside’ God’s children. Logic would have one to believe that blameless living wasn’t as easy then as it is now because the Comforter hadn’t come.
However, if you look at the entirety of verse one in Genesis 17, I think that a major key to righteous living can be found right before God tells Abraham to be perfect. Before He tells Abraham to be perfect, he says this: “I am God Almighty.”
He revealed who He was to Abraham. God Almighty, El Shaddai!
Holiness can’t become part of a person’s identity until they acknowledge God as Almighty. When you acknowledge God as almighty your are saying in essence: “You are sovereign.” An acknowledgement of God as sovereign (in the heart and mind) strikes fear, reverence and awe of Him.
And it is the fear of God that begets holiness.