Genesis 15:6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
This is one of the foundational verses of the whole Bible. Noah’s righteousness was one of obedience, which is certainly important, but Abraham’s was one of faith, which goes even deeper. Faith could be said to be “out of fashion,” or “out of favor” in the world today. The devil has mounted a sustained assault on faith under various names, such as “science,” “rationalism,” “humanism,” and most recently, “tolerance.” I put all of those in quotes, not only because they are specific terms used in the battle, but because the devil has distorted the actual meanings of those words to make them say things that are untrue. True science is “following the footsteps of God,” as one man put it, and not trying to “make God unnecessary,” as so many try to use it today. Likewise, human intellect is a gift from God; honest rationalism understands that the universe demands a Creator, and that His existence means we are accountable to Him. Human beings are certainly unique in God’s creation, but in general today, humanism tries to replace God with man as the highest good, and that brings chaos. And of course, those who preach tolerance today generally mean acceptance of anything and everything except obedience to God. People of faith certainly aren’t perfect, as Abram/Abraham demonstrated amply, but they have a foundation for life and living that can be had no other way. Genuine faith will be active, as James and John both say clearly in their letters. Genuine faith takes our eyes off of ourselves and fixes them on the only One who is worthy of our reliance, and that is a good thing indeed.
Like everyone else I am only saved by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Since God offers faith as a gift, I am to receive it gratefully and exercise it so that it may grow. I constantly recognize things in my own life and in the lives of others that indicate a lack of faith, or immature faith, so this is never something to be taken for granted. I am not to discard the intellect I have been given, nor teach others to do so, but I must always recognize its limits, and walk in trusting obedience. That does not mean setting up false tests of God, like the snake-handling preacher who recently died after refusing treatment for snakebite because of “faith.” He had faith in faith, rather than faith in God, and it let him down. That can be a tricky area. I’ve heard quite a few messages that could be said to promote faith in faith, and as pious as they sound, they are deceptive. Jesus indeed said several times things like “Your faith has made you well,” but the operative factor there was the object of their faith, Jesus, and I must never forget that.
Father, as we move forward in this year of “doing the works that Jesus did,” (John 14:12) help us keep our focus on You, and not on the things You enable us to do, or even on our faith. Help us indeed trust You fully, believing that You can do anything at all through any vessel of Your choosing, and offer ourselves as Your instruments, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!