Adam Clarke on Genesis 17:1

Feed on Clarke’s faith-filled words and believe in God’s glorious purpose for His saints in this life!

And when Abram was ninety nine years old, Jehovah appeared to Abram and said to him, I am the Almighty God! Walk before me and be perfect; (Genesis 17:1)

Walk before me – התהלך לפני  hithhallech lephanai, set thyself to walk – be firmly purposed, thoroughly determined to obey, before me; for my eye is ever on thee, therefore ever consider that God seeth thee. Who can imagine a stronger incitement to conscientious, persevering obedience?

Be thou perfect – והיה תמים  vehyeh thamim, and thou shalt be perfections, i.e., a together perfect. Be just such as the holy God would have thee to be, as the almighty God can make thee and live as the all-sufficient God shall support thee; for he alone who makes the soul holy can preserve it in holiness. Our blessed Lord appears to have had these words pointedly in view, Mat_5:48 : Εσεσθε ὑμεις τελειοι, ὡσπερ ὁ Πατηρ ὑμων ὁ εν τοις ουρανοις τελειος εστι· Ye Shall Be perfect, as your Father who is in heaven is perfect. But what does this imply? Why, to be saved from all the power, the guilt, and the contamination of sin. This is only the negative part of salvation, but it has also a positive part; to be made perfect – to be perfect as our Father who is in heaven is perfect, to be filled with the fullness of God, to have Christ dwelling continually in the heart by faith, and to be rooted and grounded in love. This is the state in which man was created, for he was made in the image and likeness of God. This is the state from which man fell, for he broke the command of God. And this is the state into which every human soul must be raised, who would dwell with God in glory; for Christ was incarnated and died to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. What a glorious privilege! And who can doubt the possibility of its attainment, who believes in the omnipotent love of God, the infinite merit of the blood of atonement, and the all-pervading and all-purifying energy of the Holy Spirit? How many miserable souls employ that time to dispute and cavil against the possibility of being saved from their sins, which they should devote to praying and believing that they might be saved out of the hands of their enemies! But some may say, “You overstrain the meaning of the term; it signifies only, be sincere; for as perfect obedience is impossible, God accepts of sincere obedience.” If by sincerity the objection means good desires, and generally good purposes, with an impure heart and spotted life, then I assert that no such thing is implied in the text, nor in the original word; but if the word sincerity be taken in its proper and literal sense, I have no objection to it. Sincere is compounded of sine cera, “without wax;” and, applied to moral subjects, is a metaphor taken from clarified honey, from which every atom of the comb or wax is separated. Then let it be proclaimed from heaven, Walk before me, and be Sincere! purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump unto God; and thus ye shall be perfect, as your Father who is in heaven is perfect. This is sincerity. Reader, remember that the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin. Ten thousand quibbles on insulated texts can never lessen, much less destroy, the merit and efficacy of the great Atonement.

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