(Romans 4:20) He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
There is no doubt that Abraham is a very important biblical character. The Bible tells us much about him and we want to take a closer look at this great man of faith. We know that Abraham holds a particular place of importance with all Jewish people. They identify with him as the father of their nation, and that is true. But he also holds an important place with all who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Romans 4:16) Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
We will see that Abraham is not only the father of the Jewish nation, but also the father of all who have faith in God. Tonight we want to look specifically at how the Bible associates Abraham with faith.
I. He Is the First To Be Associated With Faith
A. I am not saying that he was the first man to exercise faith in God…
B. But he is the first who is revealed in Scripture to be associated with faith in God.
(Genesis 15:6) And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
C. Note concerning this verse:
1. This verse does not suggest that Abraham was a righteous man.
2. What this verse declares is that God counted Abraham's belief in Him for righteousness.
3. This speaks directly to the issue of the righteousness which is by faith.
4. And that is of extreme importance…especially in light of the multitudes of folks who teach that the O.T. believers were saved by their works!
5. Salvation is and has always been 'By grace through faith…'!
II. He Is Key to Understanding Justification.
A. Paul teaches us about this important doctrine.
1. Justification is a legal term that speaks of one's standing before God.
2. We have no standing based upon who we are or upon what we have done.
3. The only basis for our justification is our faith in what God has done for us through His Son, Jesus.
(Romans 4:1-5) What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
B. If we misunderstand this truth…there are eternal consequences.
1. There are not several ways a person can be justified or have a right standing before God.
2. There is only one way…the way Abraham was justified…the way you are justified if you have exercised faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
(Romans 3:24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
3. However, if a person believes that they can be justified before God by what 'they' do or have done…they will be rejected by God!
(Matthew 7:21-23) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
C. Note Paul's rebuke of the believers in Galatia.
1. Judaizers had come into the church teaching that even though they had believed in Christ…
2. They still needed to keep the Jewish law!
3. Paul clarified this for them…and for us tonight!
4. Read: Gal. 3:1-11
III. He is a Wonderful Illustration of Living by Faith
A. Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the 'faith' chapter.
B. It begins with Abel's faith in v4 and ends up 37 verses later with unnamed saints who were martyred for their faith.
C. The chapter illustrates how God's servants obtained a good report and pleased God by faith.
D. More than a third of these verses address the faith of Abraham.
E. In the weeks to come we will consider his example of living by faith.
IV. Abraham is the Central Figure in the Explanation of Faith and Works.
A. There has been a raging debate for centuries concerning the relationship of faith and works.
B. We have already seen that Paul used Abraham as an example while explaining justification by faith apart from works of righteousness.
C. Now there are always two ends of the spectrum.
1. Some have swung the pendulum to the extreme…
2. These are proponents of 'Easy Believeism'
3. Although faith alone saves, but a faith that is real is also a faith that will accompany genuine salvation with works.
(Ephesians 2:10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
4. So a 'do-nothing' Christian is really not a Christian at all!
(James 2:21-22) Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
5. The lesson that Abraham teaches us here is that faith that saves is always faith that is accompanied by works!
6. Faith that is real is always faith that will change the way a man lives!
We are commanded to live by faith! It is vital for us to understand the father of faith…Abraham. We can learn the basis for our justification, we can learn the practical side of walking by faith, and we learn the connection between our faith and our works. To try to understand faith without seeking to understand Abraham's faith is fruitless.
How is our faith tonight? Is it real? Is it the basis of our day-to-day walk? Do others know our faith? Let's determine to be people of faith to the glory of God.