The faith of Abraham Part III


There is a great dispute in the religious community regarding salvation by faith, and that alone, as opposed to salvation through the obedience to the faith which involves not only believing in God and the Lord Jesus, but also includes repentance from our life of sin, an acknowledgment (confession) of our belief in Jesus, and a burial into His death through the means of baptism into Christ.   The dispute unfortunately comes down to a discussion of “faith versus works,” which misses the real issue.  I don’t know of any preachers who are preaching that you can work enough to earn Heaven.  God’s Word makes it clear that works of human merit would put God into a debt of owing us salvation.  Paul settles that argument once and for all:  Romans 4:1-4 (KJV) ¹ “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? ² For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. ⁴ Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.”
This passage affirms that Abraham was counted as righteous because he believed God.  It also affirms that if he had been justified by works (of merit) he would have a reason to glory, and God would be indebted.  Relying on any works of merit would make salvation a matter of God owing us for our mastery, and not of grace.  We simply cannot earn forgiveness and salvation.  Paul’s context leading up to Chapter Four has been a discussion of the Law of Moses, a system that relied upon human keeping of the law, all of the law.  Man could not be justified under that system because other than Jesus, no one was able to keep that law or any other law perfectly enough to demand salvation based on a perfect score.  Man has always needed the grace of God.  
James used the example of Abraham just as Paul did.  Their writings do not contradict each other.  Neither of them is advocating human merit or personal achievement.  James, however, does treat the subject of the kind of faith that saves.  He describes a kind of submission to God that shows one’s faith to be genuine.  James 2:20-23 (KJV)   ²⁰ “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? ²¹Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? ²²Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? ²³And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”  Abraham’s submission to God’s Will signified the sincerity of his faith.
By faith, we must obey God for the gospel calls for “obedience to the faith.”  In discussing  justification by Faith, as opposed to relying on one’s works, the Apostle Paul opens and closes the book of Romans with the truth that saving faith is obedient faith: Romans 1:5 (KJV) ⁵ By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name”;  Romans 16:26 (KJV) ²⁶ But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.”
We must “obey from the heart” the doctrine of Christ - Romans 6:17-18 ( KJV ) ¹⁷But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. ¹⁸Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” It was only after obeying that form of doctrine that they were made free from sin.  If we desire to have “The Faith Of Abraham,”  we must have a faith that is submissive to God’s Will  –  Not Latent and Passive; But Active, Dynamic, Obedient Faith!!
Surely our salvation rests upon the genuineness of our faith.  That genuineness would not be so if we refused to repent of our sins, confess Jesus with our mouth, submit to Jesus’ death by being buried with Him by baptism into His death.  (Romans 6:3-6;)  Colossians 2:12 (KJV) ¹²“Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”

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