The Abraham story is so amazing. Here is a guy who had everything he needed in his own land and God called him to another, and he went? I often wonder and dream about what that would be like. What was it that moved Abraham? Was it God’s voice? Did He have a really convincing, powerful voice that shook the Earth as He spoke? Maybe it was some “feeling” that Abraham had like being electrocuted or warm all over or something cool like that. Maybe it was something Abraham “saw” in the conversation. Maybe God gave him this really cool vision of millions and millions of descendents or lands flowing with milk and honey or… All or some of that could have happened but I believe what moved Abraham was he met God. I believe Abraham was exposed to the goodness of God and in an instant knew WHO God was. I believe Abraham may have been aware of WHAT God could do or had done but was moved by WHO God was. I believe this is our eternal journey.
John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Chapter 4 of Romans is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. I can see Abraham in the desert when I read this chapter. I can see his heart as he moves with God. Paul uses Abraham’s example and shows us how God’s promise to Abraham is His promise to us. Check out what Paul says about the nature of God:
Rom 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “ Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, (ESVST)
First notice the object of Abraham’s belief…God. Not believing in the stuff God did or said or provided but WHO God is and knowing WHO God is was credited to him as righteousness. He knew that God was trustworthy. He knew that God would deliver on promises. He knew WHO God is…And WHO is God? God is the one WHO justifies the ungodly! Come on. You have to be cheering now. OK, how about these verses at the end of Romans 4:
Rom 4:21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “ counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in Him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (ESVST)
I was reading this and it hit me for the first time. I saw something new about our faith in God and Jesus. I have always known in my heart that the faith we have is in Him and not just the event. It is more than believing in the historical truth of the crucifixion. It is easy to believe that God can raise the dead. Even the atheist will say God can do something while confessing he doesn’t believe in God. Even the demons can say they believe in Jesus because they know him. I would say it isn’t hard to believe that God became a man, walked the earth and died on a cross. People believe in vampires and demons and the occult so believing in a divine birth isn’t a leap. There is an entire period of history and even today people are influenced by the idea of a bunch of gods and demigods running around here on Earth and in Heaven. We call it mythology but to many it is very real. It is more like history than fable. Maybe the elite intelligent ones are too superior in their thinking to believe such a thing as a divine birth but they will carry their rabbit’s foot and wear their lucky socks to play softball. No I believe the “faith” in God Paul talks about is the faith in WHO He is. What He does is evidence of WHO He is. But “WHO He is” is what we need to know and experience.
Matt 5:6 Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied! (AMP)
God is the one WHO justifies the ungodly. Our desire is to have a right relationship with Him. That is what we were created for. Our “believing in Him” or our “faith” is knowing that His desire is to have a right relationship with us too. That was the plan all along. We have turned that work “righteousness” into a religious word about behavior. That is a lawyer perspective not a God perspective. God wants a relationship. He died to prove it and justify His actions. How could we not respond? Instead the enemy wants to attach all kinds of mixed teaching and condemnation that actually keeps us from a relationship. All the while God says not to worry, He has it under control and we can know this by knowing we have a right relationship with Him:
Matt 6:31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
God is so amazing. This is the same God that says get out of the boat and walk on the water. He doesn’t stop at just good enough. He thinks bigger than we do. He acts bigger than we can. He loves more than we understand. We have faith in WHO He is not just WHAT He does. What He does proves who He is. Our faith is in a good God that loves us.
Don’t let anyone tell you that God is angry at you. It is a lie. It is not possible for God to be angry at His children. That would say Jesus wasn’t enough and God is a liar. Instead know this truth: God wants you. When you are turning away from Him, ignoring Him, living apart from Him, feeling condemned by Him… all He wants is you. He hates the lies. He hates the unbelief. He loves you. He is that good, believe it. It is WHO He is.