“Then Abram believed the Lord, and that faith was regarded as the basis of Abram’s approval by the Lord.” (GWT)
Even though the process of spiritual growth is simple in design it is demanding because it requires that we study God’s Word, believe the truth revealed to us therein, and apply that truth to our lives. The Hebrew writer points out that when Israel heard the Word of God it did not profit them because it was not mixed with faith (Heb. 4:2). The most important thing we can do as God’s children is learn how to understand and walk in faith (2 Cor. 5:7). Faith pervades every aspect of our relationship with God and our service for Him. Because we are striving for spiritual maturity we are constantly bombarded with attacks that Satan mounts against our faith (I Pet. 5:8; Eph. 6:12). Paul said: “I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming” (2 Cor. 2:11 GWT). If we are not going to be ignorant about Satan’s scheming we must study the Word of God and believe the warnings contained therein. In addition to Satan’s constant attacks are our own weaknesses and evil desires we must deal with. James said, “Everyone is tempted by his own desires as they lure him away and trap him. Then desire becomes pregnant and gives birth to sin. When sin grows up, it gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15 GWT). Paul tells us, “So faith comes from hearing the message (the Word of God, gr) and the message that is heard is what Christ spoke” (Rom. 10:17 GWT). This is another reason why we must continue to study the Scriptures.
The Bible states very clearly that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6). Without faith one has no hope—absolutely no possibility of pleasing God. Often we quote the statement by the Hebrew writer, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). While we use this as a definition of faith, I believe this verse is more of an expression of the power and importance of faith. Faith is full confidence or trust in God’s Word (Rom. 10:17). Faith accepts all of God’s promises and all of His warnings as fact and acts accordingly. Since there are many evidences that the Word of God is true, this is not a blind leap of faith.
There are three aspects of faith: First, faith begins with knowledge of what must be believed (I Cor. 15:1-4). However, one may know what the Bible teaches without ever believing it to be true. Second, one must know what the Bible teaches and then believe it to be true. And yet one may believe the Bible is true without ever making the application of the Scriptures to one’s life. Third, therefore faith is trust, a personal commitment to and reliance upon the Scriptures and demonstrates such trust by applying it to one’s life.
Our text speaks of the faith of Abraham. When Abraham obeyed God in offering Isaac, he acted promptly; he made immediate provision to render complete obedience; he asked no questions of God; with forethought he eliminated possible obstacles to obedience; and he did precisely as God instructed him to do. Notice carefully that all three aspects of faith were involved: He knew what God commanded, he believed it necessary to obey God, and he acted on his trust in God by offering his son in sacrifice to God. Paul shows clearly that if Abraham is to be our father we must walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had (Rom. 4:12). Is this the kind of faith you have?