Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Abraham Believed - Galatians 3:6

"Even so Abraham believed God,
and it was reckoned to Him as righteousness."
(Galatians 3:6)

There are two key ingredients to the recipe of righteousness that is found here in Galatians 3:6.

"Abraham believed!"

We are not told that Abraham reasoned,
     nor that he understood,
     nor that he had it all figured out. 

No, we are told that he "believed".

And what did He believe? "Abraham believed God!"

Abraham was a man of faith - simple faith. He took God at His word. He trusted what God said. He believed that God would do what He promised and fully abandoned himself to His care. Abraham simply submitted Himself - even to that which he could not see. "Abraham believed!"

Do we?

Those who know me well know that I am a reasoning wrestler. It could often be said of me "Lori reasoned", "Lori wrestled", and "Lori wrangled."

Is it just as often said of me "Lori believed"?

As poor, weak Peter humbly acknowledged to His restoring Redeemer - "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." With Peter I cry out in the midst of my own weakness - "Lord, You know all things; You know that I believe in You!" With the demon-possessed boy's father of Mark 9 I most earnestly and honestly cry out: "I do believe; help my unbelief."

Weak faith is still faith - real faith. Sometimes I wonder if doubting faith is not even greater faith, for to walk with God in spite of the storm of uncertainty shows a trust that is often absent when things look pretty and line up perfectly.

Abraham believed and by grace, I do too!

If you find yourself in similar shoes to mine - believing yet doubting, resting yet at times reasoning your rest away - Dr. Luther's thoughts may encourage you (not to mention challenge the hang nail out of you).

He writes:
“To believe in God as Abraham did is to be right with God because faith honors God. Faith says to God: 'I believe what you say.'"
He goes on to remind us that "when we pay attention to reason, God seems to propose impossible matters in the Christian Creed." Think about it (or maybe don't)- the virgin birth, Creation out of nothing by only a word, hell, heaven, the hypostatic union of Christ as 100% God and 100% man, water into wine, talking donkeys, speaking serpents, the dead rising....

"Reason shouts that all this is preposterous. Are you surprised that reason thinks little of faith? Reason thinks it ludicrous that faith should be the foremost service any person can render unto God."

He continues:
"Let your faith supplant reason. Abraham mastered reason by faith in the Word of God. Not as though reason ever yields meekly. It put up a fight against the faith of Abraham. Reason protested that it was absurd to think that Sarah who was ninety years old and barren by nature, should give birth to a son. But faith won the victory and routed reason, that ugly beast and enemy of God. Everyone who by faith slays reason, the world's biggest monster, renders God a real service, a better service than the religions of all races and all the drudgery of meritorious monks can render.
Men fast, pray, watch, suffer. They intend to appease the wrath of God and to deserve God's grace by their exertions. But there is no glory in it for God, because by their exertions these workers pronounce God an unmerciful slave driver, an unfaithful and angry Judge. They despise God, make a liar out of Him, snub Christ and all His benefits; in short they pull God from His throne and perch themselves on it.

Faith truly honors God. And because faith honors God, God counts faith for righteousness."

Now, I am by NO means telling us that we should check our brains at the door -nor does the Scripture. Elsewhere God beckons us to "come, reason together." BUT... the rub comes when we exalt our human reason above His divine revelation. At that point we establish our own thinking as the arbiter of truth and set our mental abilities up as God.

Just as physical works will not justify us, neither will mental ones. Faith is not reason that we conjure up. "Faith is the gift of God."

Friends, what are you banking on? As the credit commercial asks, "What's in yer wallet?" The righteousness of Christ or the reasonings of the creature?

"Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned (credited) to Him as righteousness." 

With father Abraham may we fall on faith and not rest on reason.

By grace, through faith,

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