The Hebrew people looked to Abraham as the father of their faith. Thus, to help Jewish Christians in Rome understand that people are saved by God’s grace through faith, not by works of holding to the Old Testament Law, Paul appealed to the example of Abraham, himself.
Abraham was declared righteous because of his faith–because he believed God–not because of his works. Did Abraham’s works matter? Yes, for faith is belief that leads to action (JAMES 2:14-26). However, Abraham was not saved by his works. In other words, he could never be so good or so obedient that God was somehow obligated to bless him. One need only read Genesis 12-26 to know that Abraham was not a perfect, sinless man. God chose and blessed Abraham by grace, and Abraham received it in faith, and it was his faith that led God to credit him righteous.
In the same way, we can never be so good, religious, “church-involved”, moral, etc. so as to earn salvation from God. We can do nothing that would obligate him to save us. We are only saved by grace through faith (EPHESIANS 2:8-9). However, like Abraham, if we truly have faith, our actions will demonstrate it.
What does this passage tell us is needed to be a descendant of Abraham?
The true descendants of Abraham (God’s holy nation) are those who are not necessarily physical descendants of Abraham, but rather are his “spiritual descendants.” Those who share the faith of Abraham.
TWO KEY ATTRIBUTES OF ABRAHAM’S FAITH (A GLORIFYING FAITH)
Faith BELIEVES! Read Romans 4:18-25
Abraham believed God! He believed his promises and all that he said! The key to eternal life for us is to have a faith that believes (JOHN 20:30-31).
What do you truly believe? Do you truly believe Jesus died for you? If so, what should this produce in your life and attitude?
Do you truly believe the church is the family of God (MARK 3:31-35; EPH 2:19). If so, how should this shape your attitude towards and devotion to the church?
Do you truly believe that we must love as Jesus loves us (JOHN 13:34-35)? Do you truly believe we must forgive in order to be forgiven (MATT 6:14-15; 18:21-35)? If so, how do such beliefs impact your heart and attitude towards others?
Do you truly believe people are lost and in need of salvation? If so, how does this shape your actions and decisions on a day-to-day basis? How does it impact your priorities?
Faith GOES! Read Hebrews 11:8-12, 17-19
What was the evidence of Abraham’s faith according to these passages? How are we to imitate his example?
Abraham was willing to put his belief in practice! When challenged to “Go” he went! Where are we challenged to go in our faith?
John 12:23-26 > We must go wherever Jesus is! Where has Jesus gone that we must follow?
Total surrender, dying to self!
Grace and forgiveness towards those who sin against us
Loving the church to the point of laying down our lives for it (Ephesians 5:25)
Loving others as ourselves (brothers and sisters, the lost, the outcast, sick, forgotten, undervalued by society…)
Making Disciples / Seeking and Saving the Lost!
Do we really believe like Abraham? Are we willing to go wherever God is calling us?
Take an honest assessment of yourself: What do you believe?
To what “land” of faith is God calling you to go this week? What will you do to go there?
How might you use the upcoming holiday season to serve God, love others, and put your faith into practice?