The Faith of Abraham: Obedience?
,… so that you will not grow weary and lose heart
Instruction from God Genesis 22:1-3
The Faith (Obedience) of Abraham 22: 4-14
Blessing from God 22:15-24
Instruction from God Genesis 22:1-3
In the old testament God spoke directly to individuals and by way of prophets to people at large. God spoke directly to Abraham. Today God speaks to us through the objective character of His Word, the Bible.
God spoke to Abraham and in this passage commanded Abraham to:
Take your son
Go to Moriah
Sacrifice Isaac/Burnt Offering
"The word came from Ha-Elohim, the personal, true God, who tried him (??????), i.e., demanded the sacrifice of the only, beloved son, as a proof and attestation of his faith. This constituted the trial, which necessarily produced a severe internal conflict in his mind.
The Faith (Obedience) of Abraham Genesis 22: 4-14
and the historic tension of sin/Righteousness
"accounting that god was able to raise him up, even from the dead"
The obedience of Abraham is the central experimental aspect of Genesis 22. As God had instructed, Abraham must obey. This obedience was beyond the temporal aspects and abilitites of Abraham which is demonstrated by the difficulties Abraham had with "truthines". Abraham could be considered to be schitzophrenic in his relationship to God. On one occasion he would be disobedient and the next he would obey.He was disobedient when he:
Left with Family Genesis 12:4
Lied (deception thru Sarai to Pharaoh) Genesis 12:11-13
Violated the order for the home (slept with Hagar) Genesis 16:1-4
Lied (deception thru Sarai to Abimilech) Genesis 20:1-2
On the other hand he obeyed God:
Left Ur of the Chaldese Genesis 12:1-4
Changed his name Genesis 17:5
Circumcised himself and household Genesis 17:10
Changed Sarai's name Genesis 17:15
And in Genesis 22:3
Abraham rose Genesis 22:3
saddled his donkey (3)
took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son (3)
he split wood for the burnt offering (3)
arose and went to the place of which God had told him (3)
I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship (5)
return to you (5)
Abraham took the wood (6)
he took in his hand the fire and the knife (6)
God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering (8)
the two of them walked on together (8)
Abraham built the altar there (9)
arranged the wood (9)
bound his son Isaac (9)
laid him on the altar (9)
stretched out his hand (9)
took the knife (9)
stopped the knife
Abraham raised his eyes (13)
Abraham went and took the ram (13)
offered him up for a burnt offering (13)
Faith: 4. Evangelical, justifying, or saving faith, is: the assent of the mind to the truth of divine revelation, on the authority of God''s testimony, accompanied with a cordial assent of the will or approbation of the heart; an entire confidence or trust in God''s character and declarations, and in the character and doctrines of Christ, with an unreserved surrender of the will to his guidance, and dependence on his merits for salvation. In other words, that firm belief of God''s testimony, and of the truth of the gospel, which influences the will, and leads to an entire reliance on Christ for salvation. "Faith, in its essential temper, is that elevation of soul by which it aspires to the good, the true, and the divine."We can understand the obedience of Abraham in light of the book of Hebrews.
1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2For by it the men of old gained approval.6And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
8By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 12Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE.
13All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
17By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18it was he to whom it was said, "IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED." 19He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
18"He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19"This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20"For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21"But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."
The only possible way for a person to have Faith is to be made so by the Decree of God the Father through the imputation of the righteousness of Jesus Christ by spiritual rebirth and regeneration by the work of the Holy Spirit.
"The work of the Holy Spirit that most concerns us is the renewing of the elect after the image of God. And this is not all. It even savors of selfishness and irreverence to make this so prominent, as tho it were His only work. The redeemed are not sanctified without Christ, who is made to them sanctification; hence the work of the Spirit must embrace the Incarnation of the Word and the work of the Messiah.
First, The work of the Holy Spirit is not confined to the elect, and does not begin with their regeneration; but it touches every creature, animate and inanimate, and begins its operations in the elect at the very moment of their origin. Second, The proper work of the Holy Spirit in every creature consists in the quickening and sustaining of life with reference to his being and talents, and, in its highest sense, with reference to eternal life, which is his salvation."
So, the Faith of Abraham is the singular work of God that is Decreed by the Father, Executed by the Son and given by the Holy Spirit thru the testimony of the Word of God. The order of salvation helps us to understand the sequence of events of the decree to salvation by God:
In the Reformed camp, the ordo salutis is
- gospel call
- inward call
- conversion (faith & repentance),
- sanctification, and
- glorification. (Rom 8:29-30)
4Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.
13Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.14For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. 17So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
21I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.Romans 8
1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.9However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
12So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh- 13for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" 16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
26In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; 34who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36Just as it is written,
"For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
6But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "through Isaac your descendants will be named." 8That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. 9For this is the word of promise: "At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son." 10And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger." 13Just as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
1I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, 4who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, 5whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
14What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth." 18So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.19You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" 20On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? 21Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. 25As He says also in Hosea,
27Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, "Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; 28for the Lord will execute his word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly." 29And just as Isaiah foretold, "Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity, We would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah."
"I will call those who were not My people, 'My people,'And her who was not beloved, 'beloved.'" 26 "And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, 'you are not My people,' There they shall be called sons of the living God."
30What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33just as it is written,"Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed."
The struggles that the believer undergoes today are no different that the perceived dichotomy of the disobedience and obedience by Faith of Abraham. We must realisitically expect the struggle to continue and intensify if we are not subject to the work of the Holy Spirit, lacking in the disciplines of the Grace of God in the administration of His Word to our own minds. The renewing of the mind is the work of the Holy Spirit through the reading of the Word of God. Without the Word of God, the Spirit and the Flesh war is a continuing struggle that effects the believer, cripples relationships and becomes the playground for satan.When the believer feeds upon the Word of God the blessings are Wisdom, Endurance, Discernment. The victory of the Holy Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit;
16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
3For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
Blessing from God 22:15-24
I will greatly bless you (17)
I will greatly multiply your seed (17)
your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies (17)
In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, (18)
In conclusion, the writer of Hebrews concludes the treastie on Faith by Chapter 12:1-3Hebrews 12:1-3
May God grant repentance to you freethinkers. I pray for you to know the Truth, as the Truth, Jesus Christ will set you free. And,.. you will be free indeed!
1Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.