If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
In “Following the Equator” by Mark Twain, there is an epigraph at the beginning of each chapter that was supposedly written by one of Twain’s famous characters, Pudd’nhead Wilson. One of these epigraphs gives a definition of faith: “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”
That may be how an unbeliever looks at faith, but that is not how a believer looks at faith. For a Christian, faith is believing that God will do what He has promised to do and acting accordingly.
By definition, the object of faith is something which is not seen. It does not take any faith for me to believe that my wife, Amy, exists. I see her every day. She is visible to me. But if you are going to obey God, you have to have faith in that which is invisible. You have to be willing to take action even when you cannot see God or the future He has in store for you.
That is exactly what Abraham did. Abraham was to the Jewish people what George Washington is to Americans–he was the father of their nation. Hebrews 11:8 says, “By 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.”
Did you know that Abraham is the only person in the Bible who is called a “friend of God”? I can think of no greater compliment! What made Abraham a friend of God? His faith. Romans 4:2-3 says, “If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’” Abraham had a right relationship with God because of his faith, not his works. His works were the result of his faith.
God told Abraham to leave his home and go to a land that God would give him. And Abraham obeyed, even without knowing where he was going. God also told him, “Look up into the sky, Abraham. See all the stars? So shall your descendants be.” Even though Abraham did not have any children at that point, the Bible says he believed what God said. And in the great accounting room of heaven, God exchanged Abraham’s faith for His righteousness. Every good thing that Abraham did sprang out of his faith in God even when he could not see the future.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Going Without Knowing” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Mark Twain, “Following the Equator” (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1903), 132.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org