Romans 4:3 quotes Genesis 15:6, “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness . . .” There is something mysterious and magnificent about faith. It provides power and opportunity, strength and hope and ultimately it is our way of embracing the goodness, love and plan of God for our lives. Ultimately, faith is more than simple belief. Hebrews says that “Faith is the substance of things hopedfor, the evidence of things not seen.” A belief can be simple, vauge and often ineffectual. Faith, on the other hand, is a belief that empowers change, a belief that opens the door for transformation, it is a belief that has substance and becomes evidence.
In looking at Abraham’s journey to become the “father” of faith there are three points that I believe are imporant to see and apply to our lives:
1. Faith will cause you to leave. The first words that God spoke to Abraham when he gave him the promise of being a great nation were “Get out”. There is a place in which faith does not get activated until we trust God enough to let go of all that we have found comfort, strength and hope in prior to hearing His voice. It was not that Abraham’s country, family or father’s house were bad or sinful places, it was that they would stunt Abraham’s faith. God had more planned and desired more attention from Abraham than he could ever given in his places of comfort.
2. Faith will be opposed. God’s plan for Abraham’s life was counter to the culture and traditions of the time. For Abraham to leave his country was unheard of, to leave his family was outlandish and to leave his father’s house would have been judged irresponsible. Abraham was asked by God to leave and wander at a time in history where only the poverty stricken, fugitive or defeated wandered without land or ancestral ties. Abraham’s faith was also opposed by a harsh reality. God promised that He would make a great nation from Abraham, but the reality was, Abraham had no children and at his age it seemed that he would never have any. Finally, Abraham’s faith was opposed by fear. He later revealed that from the day he was asked to leave his home he feared that he would be killed by someone that wanted to take Sarah from him (Genesis 20:13). God has not given us a spirit of fear, and Satan is the father of lies; fear is a deceptive tool of the enemy intended to rob of us our faith. Like Abraham, in faith, we must overcome opposition by “hoping against hope” and being sure, not so much of the promised outcome, but the faithfulness of the God who makes the promises.
3. Faith leads to righteousness. “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness . . .” It was not Abraham’s obedience that made him righteous, it was God’s love and response to Abraham’s willingness to believe. We know that the Bible teaches clearly that “there is none righteous”, and that “our righteousness is like filthy rags”. But it also teaches us that “righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ”. It is our faith that God looks upon and through our faith God gives us His righteousness through Jesus. Righteousness does not come from obedience, obedience comes from righteousness. Obedience is our response to God’s great gifts of love, salvation and righteousness. We are not working to make ourselves right with God, we are working because God has made us right with Him. I believe that righteousness is not when we finally get it right, it is when we trust God to make us right. Faith will lead to righteousness, for you and for all those that begin to see your life as substance and evidence of the kindness, power and love of God.
Abraham followed God through the unknown by being willing to let go of everything he did know. His belief was counted as righteousness and that righteousness made him the father of faith. We lead, not by being sure of where we are going, but by being confident of the God we follow. Trust God for the steps that lie ahead, He knows the path and He is sure of the journey, our role in all of this is simply to be sure of Him.