Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3
“And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”
Abraham’s life provides an inspiring story of a man who walked with full confidence in the promises of God. He believed God and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.
The concept of faith in the life of Abraham surrounds his total and complete trust and confidence in the promises of God. The writer of Hebrews refers to this trust and confidence when he alluded to Abraham’s journey to a strange land without any knowledge of his destination (Heb.11:8). This level of Abraham’s personal confidence in God’s faithfulness constitutes his faith.
Unlike any other in his time, Abraham stepped out into the world armed only with confidence in the promises of God. He came from an idolatrous background and was well advanced in age at the time of his call (Gen. 12:4). But what caused him to step out on the promises of God? Some suggest that he must have already known the God who required him to step out from his land and parents’ household. Although it was a strategic move on the part of Abraham, it was certainly not a blind move. He walked in the promises God made to him in complete confidence.
The faith and confidence, which Abraham demonstrated, provides for his justification before God. Justification is an act of God in making one just by taking away guilt and sin and giving one a right standing before Him. Justification by faith is what Abraham received from God because of the demonstration of his faith in God’s promise. In this context, his faith produces justification or a right standing before God.
While justification is an act of God, righteousness on the other hand is a state of being. Genesis 15:6 states that Abraham “believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” Abraham’s righteousness comes after believing the Lord. The concept of believing in the Lord resulted in his justification. Abraham became a righteous man because of his faith in God and the fact that he was justified for that faith.
Charles Swindoll noted that in a world where idolatry prevailed, one man emerged who began to proclaim a theology that may be referred to as “radical theism.” This man is known to us as the “Father of Faith.”
As was the case with Abraham, so it is for the believers today. We stand justified before God, on the basis of the redemptive work of Christ and by believing and completely trusting in Him alone, we enter a state of righteousness before God (Romans 3:21-4:25)
Using the explanation in Hebrews 11:1 and the example of Abraham, faith can be defined as a total and complete trust in God and in His promises as laid out in the Bible. A confidence, which allows one to take God at His Word by completely surrendering one’s life with full confidence in the promises of God.
Faith is generated in one’s life by hearing and submitting to the Word of God (Rom 10:17). It is not an intellectual ascent or understanding but rather it is action oriented. In the case of Abraham, his faith was manifested by his action. He stepped out not knowing where he was going (Heb. 11:8).
Faith is pleasing to God because it determines our relationship with Him and fulfils the requirement He sets for His approval. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. The strength and quality of our relationship with God is dependent on our faith. Hebrews 11:2 states that “for by it men of old gained approval.” Hebrews 10:35 provides encouragement to “not throw away your confidence, which has great reward.”
Failures can have a depressing effect on faith. Yet, on the other hand, it is our faith in the promises of God, which initiates our recovery in times of failures. The example of Abraham shows a recovery of relation after Egypt by building an altar and worshipping the Lord (Gen.13:18). The concept, the righteousness of Faith describes the spiritual state of the believers as a result of his or her faith in God.
Faith brings believers into a state of righteousness before God. The believers are declared righteous before God because of faith in the redemptive work of Christ and not because of his or her good works.
Paul Mursalin is a member of the International Board of Barnabas Fund from Guyana
Photo by Holly Rouselle on Unsplash
For Other Articles by Paul Mursalin –