What Is Faith?
“The victorious Christian life,” said George Morrison, “is a series of new beginnings.” As you study the life of Abraham and Sarah, you will learn what faith is and how to walk by faith. You will discover that, when you trust the Lord, no test is impossible and no failure is permanent.
The world is in a mess, and it does not seem to be getting any better.
What is wrong?
It all goes back to events recorded in the Book of Genesis. Except for the account in chapters 1 and 2, the first eleven chapters of Genesis record one failure of man after another, failures that are being repeated today.
- The first man and woman disobeyed God and were cast out of the Garden (chap. 3).
- Cain murdered his brother Abel and lied about it (chap. 4).
- Humanity became so corrupt that God cleansed the earth with a flood (chaps. 6-8).
- Noah got drunk and exposed himself to his son Ham (chap. 9).
- In their defiance of God, men built a city and a tower; and God had to send confusion to end the rebellion (chap. 10).
Disobedience, murder, deception, drunkenness, nudity, and rebellion sound pretty up-to-date, don’t they?
If you were God, what would you do with these sinners, men and women you had created in your own image?
“I’d probably destroy them!” you might reply; but that’s not what God did. Instead, God called a man and his wife to leave their home and go to a new land, so that He might give humanity a new beginning.
Because of God’s call and their obedient faith, Abraham and Sarah ultimately gave to the world the Jewish nation, the Bible, and the Savior.
Where would we be today if Abraham and Sarah had not trusted God?
Consider the elements involved in their experience.
NOW [in Haran] the Lord said to Abram, Go for yourself [for your own advantage] away from your country, from your relatives and your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others].
And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves].
Genesis 12:1-3 (AMP)
Faith is not based on feeling, though the emotions are certainly involved (Heb. 11:7). True faith is based on the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). God spoke to Abraham and told him what He would do for him and through him if he would trust and obey. “Great lives are trained by great promises,” wrote Joseph Parker; and this was certainly true of Abraham and Sarah. God’s covenant gave them the faith and strength they needed for their lifelong pilgrim journey.
Making promises to God does not save us; we are saved by believing God’s promises to us. It was God who graciously gave His covenant to Abraham and he responded with faith and obedience (Heb. 11:8-10).
How you respond to God’s promises determines what God will do in your life.
The Bible records God’s many covenants, beginning with the promise of the Redeemer in Genesis 3:15 and climaxing with the New Covenant through the blood of Jesus Christ (Luke 22:20; Heb. 8). The Hebrew word translated “covenant” has several meanings:
- To eat with, which suggests fellowship and agreement;
- To bind or fetter, which means commitment; and
- To allot, which suggests sharing.
When God makes a covenant, He enters into an agreement to commit Himself to give what He promises. It is purely an act of grace.
God did not give Abraham reasons or explanations; He simply gave him promises: “I will show you… I will make of you… I will bless you…I will bless those who bless you”. God promised to show him a land, make him into a great nation, and use that nation to bless the whole world. God blesses us that we might be a blessing to others, and His great concern is that the whole world might be blessed. The missionary mandate of the church does not begin with John 3:16 or Matthew 28:18-20. It begins with God’s covenant with Abraham. We are blessed that we might be a blessing.
Notice the contrast between Genesis 11:1-9 and 12:1-3. At Babel, men said, “Let us!” but to Abraham, God said, “I will.” At Babel, men wanted to make a name for themselves; but it was God who made Abraham’s name great. At Babel, the workers tried to unite men, only to divide them; but through Abraham, a whole world has been blessed, and all believers are united in Jesus Christ. Of course, Pentecost (Acts 2) is the “reversal” of Babel; but Pentecost could not have occurred apart from God’s covenant with Abraham (Gal. 3:14).
One Step At A Time
Know that God has a good plan for your life and that you will be blessed when you obey Him. You can miss out on blessings by not obeying what God clearly tells you to do. He shows you the way to go, and you are to walk in that direction. Sometimes God may be gracious enough to carry you part of the way, but there comes a time when the carrying is over, and He says, “Now walk.”
God wants you to obey Him quickly. He does not want you to argue with Him for three or four weeks before you will do a simple little thing. He wants you to trust Him and, like Abraham, take the first step He calls you to take in faith.
Father, I thank You for separating me from my old life. The old things have passed away and all things are become new. I now bind myself to You as my first and most vital necessity. I commit my way to You, for I know that You are directing my paths.
I am fully aware that I am blessed with father Abraham. You bless me and make my name great. You shower me with Your abundance and make me a blessing in this earth. I give freely of my substance and do what I can to bless the people around me. I thank You, Father, that You bless those who bless me and curse those who curse me. Through me, everyone in my circle of influence is blessed.
DECLARATION OF FAITH
I have been called by God to fulfill the destiny that He has for my life. He has made me great has blessed me with an abundance of all good things. All of my needs and desires are fully met in Him.
If I honor God, He has promised to promote me to a position of prominence.
I am blessed and I am a blessing. In this awesome prosperity that I enjoy from my heavenly Father, I have plenty for myself, with an abundance left over so that I can be a blessing to others.
God blessed those who bless me and curses those who curse me.
He brings me to the place of abundant favors and confers on me happiness and prosperity.
I pray this prayer and declaration of faith in Jesus’ name, Amen.