Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

faith like abraham's

2/14/12

In Romans 4, the Bible extols the faith of Abraham, holding it up as an example to others. Even more pointedly, Paul said that the faith of Abraham and the subsequent covenant between him and God formed the basis for the mystery of the Gospel (Galatians 3: 6-8).

In analyzing the faith of Abraham, I note several things about that faith. It did not involve a sacred text. None had been written yet. It did not involve compliance with any religious system and its rules, leaders, and prescribed rituals. It did involve a one on one relationship between God and Abraham. By extension we know that Abraham's faith involved none of the things we have been taught to have faith in: institutional religion, a sacred book, religious doctrines, prescribed rituals, human instructors, pious living, and our own ability to be faithful to all the above.

Somehow we have been led to believe that our faith in God is somehow expressed by all these other elements of faith. In fact, these other supposed manifestations of faith are a denial of faith in God. Faith in God must eliminate faith in anything other than God. If faith in God must be supplemented by something else, then I believe in multiple objects of faith and by implication multiple gods. Faith in God cannot be activated or demonstrated by faith in human capability in any form or fashion. To the extent I look to a book and my human understanding of that book as a component of my faith, I turn from God and begin to rely on myself. When I allow the church and its leadership to intervene in my faith, placing themselves between me and God, I relinquish faith in God again and embrace a faith in human capability, including my own ability to discern the right church and right leaders. Whenever, I rely on my own faithfulness in maintaining a life of righteousness in order to please God, I no longer show faith in God alone. That is true because ultimately my faith is expressed in every aspect of what I rely upon to achieve righteousness.

Faith in God, in the most basic sense, means a reliance on God's faithfulness to His inalterable promise to Abraham. That is the message of Paul in Galatians 3. Either I depend on God's power or my own ability. Faith in God is not a mixture of His faithfulness and mine, His ability and my own. Any element of faith in me or any other humans as a participant in realizing the promise of God makes the promise null and void. Paul says that cannot be.

That is the basic, inherent problem with traditional Christianity. It is a faith that is not at all like Abraham's.

 

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