When it comes to the old prophets, teachers and patriarchs of the bible, Abraham stands out as being THE man of the faith. All of us today along with those spoken of in bible times and everyone in between look to Abraham as our father, either as a direct descendant in the case of the children of Israel, or as our father by faith.
Abraham crosses the divide that exists between the old and the new covenants for he was the father of the adherents of the old covenant law through the covenant and sign of circumcision, and he is father of those who now come to God through Jesus Christ whose faith is like the faith Abraham had in the word of God.
This section of Romans 4 really spells out the strength and the power of Abraham's faith
Abraham was called the friend of God. That is how great his faith in God was that God called him a friend.
The basis of this friendship between Abraham and God was faith for the scripture tells us that Abraham believed God and God in turn then proclaimed Abraham to be righteous. That is, Abraham was given righteousness as a gift, not because he worked for it or earned it or through anything else he had done, but simply because he believed what God said to him and he had faith that God could and would do whatever He said He would do.
Abraham was given something very specific to believe in. God said to Abraham when he was about ninety years old that he would have a son by his wife Sarah and that through him he would become the father of many nations and peoples. Now Sarah was about eighty years old at the time and well past the age of menopause. Plus she had been barren all her life and unable to bear children.
Now a most people would simply say, “It's impossible!” How can a post menopausal, barren woman bear a child! It can't be done!
But Abraham was not like “most people.” When God said He would and could do this miraculous thing, Abraham believed it. He did not doubt or scoff or think The Lord must be joking with him, he simply believed what The Lord said he was going to do and waited for the thing to come to pass.
Strength of Faith
As time passed by Abraham waited for The Lord to bring about His word and to do this miraculous thing. And a lot of time was to pass before The Lord carried out His promise to Abraham and Sarah. In fact it was not until about ten years later that Isaac was born.
Now if a person was told something would happen and it did not come to pass for a long period of time, natural human reaction would be to doubt, disbelieve or maybe even forget. But that was not the case with Abraham.
The scripture tells us that Abraham grew strong in his faith. As time went on he continued to believe and grow stronger in faith in what The Lord had told him and that no doubt made him waver in what he knew and fully expected The Lord to do.
Abraham lived by the premise that has been made into a bumper sticker these days that says, “God said it. I believe it. And that's the end of it.”
And again later after Isaac was born and was a young boy, God tested Abraham's faith when he was told to go out and offer Isaac as a sacrifice to God. Did Abraham baulk at this request? Did he question God over what He wanted, especially after waiting so long for God to fulfill His original promise to give a son who would be father of many nations?
No. Again Abraham believed God and was strong in his faith knowing that God can do anything, even bringing back to life his son Isaac if he were offered upon the altar. And God did provide, for He told Abraham to stop just as he was about to deliver the killing blow and provided a sheep to take the place of Isaac as an offering.
By any measure the faith Abraham had was powerful and strong, and that is why God reckoned his faith to him as righteousness and called him the friend of God.
Children of Faith
But the faith of Abraham was not shown just for his sake alone or to give a lesson on faith. Abraham became the forerunner of righteousness by faith where a person could have their sins overlooked because they believed God and had righteousness bestowed as a gift through their faith.
In being the father of many nations Abraham was both a literal father to all the nations and tribes of the people of Israel, but he also became the spiritual father of all those who became the children of God through faith.
The principle of righteousness by faith that began with Abraham has carried down to us today through the new covenant. It is by faith that we receive righteousness today to be able to stand in the presence of God. And it was by grace that God chose to give His righteousness to those who believe.
Like Abraham who was given specific things to believe, we too have been given specific things to believe as well. Not the same as Abraham, but the words of God nonetheless.
We are instructed to accept Jesus Christ as our saviour, to be baptised in His name and believe that by water baptism we die with Christ, which sets us free from the law and washes away our sins. Then we are to believe that as we are raised from the baptismal waters we are resurrected with Christ as new creations, no longer subject to the law since we have died and the law does not pass through death, no longer under condemnation for death pays the price or debt of sin and prepared for the walk with Christ Jesus ready to receive the Holy Spirit to guide us and transform us into the image of Christ.
These are the specifics of what we are called to believe in Jesus Christ that forms the beginning of our walk. And when we believe and accept these things God steps in and proclaims us righteous by our faith just as He did with Abraham.
Abraham is a great example for us to follow. We too need to remember at all times that God can do anything and that He is able to resolve all issues, problems and obstacles that may come against us. There is nothing outside His power or His control. The plans that He set in place millennia ago are slowly being fulfilled. The prophecies His prophets gave in the bible are slowly being fulfilled and the day when Jesus returns to rule and remove all forms of sin will come at the time appointed by God.
As the creator of the whole universe, both physical and spiritual, there is nothing outside his power or control. Abraham knew this. We need to remember it too, especially when we doubt or feel that God has left us. He watches His people constantly and He guides and protects them. Sure, He allows difficulties to come upon us and troubles will arise. He may even test our faith as He did with Abraham and Isaac. But He will also always provide the solutions and comfort His people who remain faithful.
Do not ever doubt what God can and will do. As Jesus said, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. That is how much God cares for his people. Hold fast your faith in God because in the end that is all that will ensure you stand by God in your appointed place in His kingdom.
(Clip art sourced from ChristiansUnite.com)
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