Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.Genesis 15:6(HCSB)
Abraham is often called the father of faith because: "Abram believed God, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness." Abram had been a pagan man in a heathen land, living in an idolatrous society when God called him. In chapter 12, we read that he immediately left his home and family roots and set out to a land that the Lord would show him... where God would not only bless him but that through him, all the families of the earth would be blessed. And so, at the age of 75, Abram set out on his journey of faith towards the Promised Land.
Abram believed God and obediently set out for the Promised Land, and his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness. He received many reassurances of God's faithfulness over the next fifteen years, and experienced God's protective hand of blessing on many occasions, as he passed through the land that God promised to give him and his descendants.
For fifteen long years, Abram waited for the birth of the son the Lord had promised, and one day the Lord appeared to him in a vision and told him to stop being afraid and gave him another, beautiful assurance, with the promise, "I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward."
The Lord knows the thoughts of our heart and knew that Abraham had become fearful that the promised Seed through whom all the families of the earth would be blessed, had not been born and God spoke to his silent sadness with the words "stop being afraid," and reminded Abram that He was his shield and his exceeding great reward. In an attempt to help God fulfil His promise of a son, Abram produced a child of the flesh through Hagar the Egyptian, but the Lord had much to teach His servant.
Despite being justified in the eyes of God because of his initial faith when he left his home and family and set out for the Promised Land, the Lord sought to develop, deepen, expand, and enlarge his faith until Abram realised that the Lord alone could supply all his needs according to His riches in glory, according to His perfect timing, and according to His perfect will. Like us, Abram was justified when he first believed the Word of the Lord but like us, His faith needed to grow and mature - which takes time in the life of every believer.
The doctrine of justification by grace through faith in Christ is the crux upon which our Christian faith rests. First, we trust His Word and believe the truth of Scripture just as Abram did in his early life so that like him, we will be born anew at that point and credited with Christ's righteousness simply because we believe the promise of God, laid out in His Word.
Having been born again and credited with Christ's righteousness, it will never be withdrawn, as was the case with Abram, and like him, we also are to live the rest of our life by faith. Like Abraham, we are to have confidence in His power and His faithfulness to carry out all that He has purposed and all that He has promised, which means that we do not rely on our own understanding or abilities, our merit or righteousness, but rest on the veracity of His Word.
Abram had to learn that there are two types of righteousness. There is a false righteousness that we think we can try to achieve in our own strength and through our own abilities and strength until we discover that there are none that are righteous, and the things that we consider to be virtuous and good, are like filthy rags in the eyes of God Who alone is righteousness. And there is the righteousness of God - a righteousness that is in Him alone. And it is HIS righteousness that was reckoned to Abram because Abram believed the Word of the Lord and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
We are not to superimpose our own flawed and limited understanding of all that God has said, but to live our lives by faith as well as starting out by faith. It was only by His grace through faith in His promised Word, that Abram was reckoned to be righteous and the same is true of all who believe that God's Word is true and His promises are sure.
Too often, our faith in God falters because what we see with our eyes and experience through life's challenges, conflicts with our human logic. We can't imagine how God could deal with this problem or how we are going to overcome that difficulty - and the mountainous waves of disbelief cause us to sink into a sea of despondency or become entrapped in a web of despair, and we try to help God out just as did Abram (resulting in the birth of Ishmael) which damages the Father/son relationship between ourselves and God.
But He takes and uses all our failings to develop and deepen our faith in Him until, like Abraham, we eventually realise that He alone can supply all our needs, according to His grace and not our feeble works.
We finally read in Scripture that Abraham "was not weak in faith; he staggered not at the promise: he was strong in faith; he was fully persuaded."
May the Lord carry out a similar work in each of us.
Dear Lord, thank You that I am justified by faith in Christ and have been covered in His righteousness. I pray that You would work in my life, a faith like that of Abram. Help me not to stagger at Your promises, but believe Your Word and trust in Your faithfulness. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.
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