On Faith – Volume 2

Posted on 14. Oct, 2010 by in Faith

This is finally the follow-up post on my initial writing on faith, On Faith – Volume 1.

I’ll start with a recap, taken from the end of the first post:

So, the crux of the post is this:  faith is an important part of our Christian walk, and faith is a bi-product of our Christian walk.  We use our faith to walk in Christ, and like a muscle, the more we use it the more it grows.  As a charismatic I felt condemned if I didn’t have enough faith.  Now I understand that there are things I will stand in faith for, but haven’t walked in Christ long enough to grow into that level of faith, and so I may not see the final manifestation of what I prayed for.  This is no cause for guilt or condemnation, it just is what it is.  The longer I walk the more I will grow in faith, and the greater works He can do in and through me.

So, as I asked in the first post, why is faith important?

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek    Him.”    – Hebrews 11:6

The Father has instituted His kingdom on the earth, and that Kingdom has principles and laws.  Just as the laws of physics control how we interact with our environment, so do the laws of the Kingdom affect or control how we interact with God.  One very important law in His kingdom is what I will call the law of faith.  God is moved by faith.  As Hebrews said, it is impossible to please God without faith, and all the things God has promised are only accessed through faith.  So, if we don’t understand faith, we will not grow to our full potential as citizens of the Kingdom of God.  In fact, Ephesians 2:8-9, among other passages, makes it clear that we are only saved through faith.

The book of Hebrews lists many “Heroes of the Faith”.  My favorite, the one that has been most instructive and exemplary in my life, is Abraham.  The life of Abraham is the example I have followed in my pursuit of God for the last 2-3 years, specifically his faith regarding the promise of a son.  I’ll provide a timeline first.

Genesis 12:4 – Abram was 75 years old when he departed Haran and set out to Canaan.

Genesis 13:15-16 – God’s first promise to Abram regarding descendants, in general.  No specific promise of a son at this point.

Genesis 15:4-6 – God’s second promise of offspring for Abram.  God promised Abram he would have an heir, and this would likely imply the future birth of a son (my assumption based on my limited knowledge of customs of that time).  Still no specific mention of Sarai.   Although one would likely assume the promised offspring would be from Sarai, Abram apparently did not assume that later.  It is at this point that Abraham “believed, and it was credited to him as righteousness”.  (my paraphrase)  Interestingly the NASB says “believed in him”, i.e. the Lord.  I don’t know if there is a Greek word corresponding to “in” or not.  Maybe it doesn’t matter.

Genesis 16:1-4 – Abram had been in the land of Canaan 10 years (so he was at least 85 years old).  At this point Sarai gets impatient for descendents, and talks Abram into having a child with one of her maid-servants, Hagar.  You know the rest of the story.  This, in my opinion, is Abram’s attempt to “help God out” in achieving the promise sooner.  The outcome is not what was desired.

Genesis 17:15-19 – Abram is 99 years old.  God once again promises offspring, but now specifically saying it will be a son, born of Sarai (now to be called Sarah), and he is to be called Isaac.  Interestingly, Abram (now Abraham) now seems to doubt God’s promise, saying in verse 17:  “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old?  And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”  Abraham even tries to convince God to accept Ishmael as the promised son, and God says “no”.

Genesis 18:10 – the Lord personally appears to Abraham, informing him that the promised son will be born within the next year.

Genesis 21 – Isaac is finally born to Abraham, at 100 years of age.

The above passages paint a vivid picture of the highs and lows of Abraham’s faith, specifically regarding the promise that he would be the father of many nations.  Genesis 15:6 gives the basis of faith, the starting point:  Abraham believed.  This is where we must start.  We first must believe that Jesus is the son of God, and that he died for our sins.  After that, we have to continue believing, trusting Him for everything in our lives.  This forms the foundation for walking in faith.

I didn’t anticipate this topic taking 3 posts, but I also didn’t anticipate going into so much detail into Abraham’s journey of faith.  I think it will be useful in the end, so I included it.  I will have to finish this series at a later date.  Stay tuned!

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