The Confidence of Faith
“...what God had promised, He was able also to perform.”
Abraham is called "the friend of God" (James 2:23). One can certainly have no
better privilege than to be counted as God's friend. But this wonderful
blessing is not nearly so elusive as one might imagine. I may never be a close
personal friend of governor, president, prime minister or king, but being a
friend of the Almighty Creator of the universe, now that I can do.
Abraham is God's friend because of his faith and trust in God. We know of a
few events in Abraham's life which demonstrate the extent of his faith and
illustrate what genuine faith really is, and while we may not face the same
events, we can measure our faith by comparing our own response to God with
Abraham's. We all have the same decision to make in this regard: God had
spoken; do I listen, trust and obey, or do I waver in unbelief?
Reading the promise of God to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) and also considering
for a moment Paul's discussion of Abraham's faith (Romans 4:16-25), several
conclusions may be drawn. God intended to bless the whole world through a
descendant of Abraham. This promise would be fulfilled in those that would
have faith in God, whether Jew or Gentile. No obstacle or problem would be
allowed to interfere with the promise being kept. Abraham believed God in
spite of tremendous obstacles that would seem to make keeping the promise
impossible; the Bible says that Abraham "hoped against hope". Abraham believed
in God so much that he simply did not accept that anything would make a
promise God has made to fail. This kind of faith was credited to Abraham by
God as righteousness. We are to have faith like this today.
Faith Like Abraham's Faith
Sometimes having faith in God means believing in the difficult and even the
impossible. Both Abraham and Sarah would be very, very advanced in age and
still childless when God would again promise that Abraham would have many
descendants (Genesis 15:5). Abraham continued to obey God as he walked by
faith. When God had commanded something of Abraham, Abraham's faith was
active. He obeyed God. A faith that obeys is a justifying faith. Our faith
needs to be like Abraham's faith in this way (Hebrews 11:8-10; James 2:23-24).
The text says "yet he did not waver in unbelief" (Romans 4:20). This
“wavering” might well describe a person who would say that they believe in
God, but possess a reluctance to fully trust God. This would become apparent
in the general spiritual reluctance and apathy. It would result in a lack of
commitment, involvement and growth. Even when the commandment of God was most
difficult, given without explanation and seemingly contrary to everything
Abraham knew about God, he was willing to obey (James 2:21; Hebrews 11:17-19).
My Faith-My Life
There are things that I have been commanded by God which I find to be
difficult. Not all commandments-I can make sense of and see easily the reason
many commands are given. But others certainly take more work to understand
why, and some I may just never really get.
Retaliation - everything in us yearns for cold justice against our enemies;
against the evil doers; the vile; the pitiless. But we are told to love them
(Romans 12:19-21; Matthew 5:43-44). Sometimes responding to our enemies this
way causes them to reflect and perhaps become ashamed. But other times they
will be unfazed. I do not always understand why some of the evil men in this
world should get this special treatment. They certainly do not deserve it.
Marriage - When it isn't working as it should. It is old and stale. It is
without passion. The fire has gone out. Responsibilities are neglected. There
is no joy in it. The common solution in our society (and one utterly without
faith) is to discard the marriage. That makes a lot of sense on one level. But
God's commandment is much more challenging than that. He says "Do not tear
apart what I have joined together". It is an act of doubt and rebellion to
tear a marriage apart. Instead, He says to bring love into the relationship,
and it needs to be done like never before - it begins to sacrifice and drive
the bitterness out. We must not say "I doubt it will work" or "I do not
understand what good it will do." The faith of Abraham obeys the Lord even
when it does not understand.
What if God told you to leave home and everything you know and move your
family to an absolutely unknown place. Why would someone do something that
they do not want to do? If God commanded it, it would be because they believe
God (Hebrews 11:8).
"Where you going Abraham?"
"I don't know."
“Why are you going?”
“Because God told me to.”
Abraham was fine with where he was, but moved when God said to. It was not
"Where do I want to live?" but rather "Where does God want me to live?" that
was the determining factor. It should be with us as well.
God-The Giver of Life
“...even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does
not exist.” (Romans 4:17). Do you have the same faith in Abraham's God that he
had? Do You see how all this relates to our life and our redemption and our
hope? What God did for Abraham physically He does for us spiritually. He gives
life to those spiritually dead in their sins. He gives life to all the
redeemed. He lifts up from the grave. This is a part of our confession of
faith unto the salvation of our souls (Romans 10:9-10).
Listen, if you truly believe this, and evidence abounds that it is true, then
you will believe that with God all things are possible… and that will be the
power that will help you live faithfully each day. You will believe God and it
will be reckoned to you as righteousness! God grants these things when our
faith is like Abraham's. Let our faith be as his was, and not some poor
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 18.8; August 2011