Friday, January 22, 2021

The Faith That Has So Much Going For it

There are some people who had to live by faith and hope in Yahweh-God without a history of people already doing so.[1]

Noah may have been the first to face an assignment from the Creator in which he had to take God’s word as truth without any testimony of people who had already done so. God told him to build an ark to save his family and a sampling of all God’s creatures from a coming worldwide flood. This was at the same time as all of Noah’s extended family were making the earth such an evil place that they were the reason the judgment of the Flood was on its way! 

The next person who stands out is likely the most well-known of those who lived by faith. The world’s three major religions all identify him as the Father of their beliefs and way of life.[2] Abraham lived many generations after the Flood of Noah’s day, and well after God separated humanity into groupings based on language.[3] 

Without any further interactions with humanity than what Abraham would have heard about regarding Noah and Babel, God suddenly appeared to Abraham and promised him both a land and a people.[4] Abraham would have to believe God for a land that would not be his to possess in his lifetime, but would belong to his descendants hundreds of years after his death. He would need to believe God for a great people and nation even while his wife, Sarah, was barren and could not have the child who would begin the journey. As everyone knows, Abraham believed God, and Israel’s history proves God’s faithfulness. 

As we look back on Abraham, we ourselves have a few thousand years of prophecies that have already been fulfilled. We also have Abraham’s example of faith cheering us on as we seek to live by faith today. His testimony is, “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”[5] 

The issue for Abraham is the same as for us. It revolves around three P’s. 

The first is “promised”. Everyone who lives by faith does so on the basis of promises that have been made by our Creator to his people. God promised Noah a flood was coming, and that the ark would save him and his family. God promised Abraham a land and a nation. Both had sight-based reasons to doubt anything would happen, but they had something we have today, which are promises from God. 

The second is “power”. We may believe someone fully intends to keep their promise but know that things could happen that are beyond their ability to control.  

When we are dealing with the promises God has made, we are also dealing with the fact that God has the power to do what he promised. Abraham knew that even without a trail of testimonies proving it true in real life experiences. We now have oodles of prophecies and fulfillments showing God both faithful and powerful at doing what he says, and so we can believe that the promises not yet fulfilled will certainly come to pass. 

And, the third is “persuaded”. God’s promises and his power to perform them are just as real for us today as for anyone who experienced his work throughout the millennia. The clincher is whether we are persuaded in our own minds that the promises we are waiting on will happen just as certainly as the ones that are already embedded in history. Abraham believed God; his believing God’s promise was credited to his account as righteousness, and his example calls us to do the same.[6] 

Now, let’s contrast what men like Noah and Abraham would have experienced without a history of faith-building testimonies with our present-day experience. Not only do we have testimonies that include Noah and Abraham, but God has added so many direct prophecies about things that were to happen in the future but with their fulfillments already behind us. In a sense, living by faith today is easier than ever. 

We even have the word of God that was saturated with prophecies about the coming Messiah’s life, death and resurrection, and the fulfillment of salvation in which people like us can be born again by faith, born into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, so that we are living IN the realities that were once promised. 

We also have the Holy Spirit poured out into the church so that we are empowered to live the life of faith with the personal presence of our Savior with us always. God simply wants us to live by faith in him each day with our hope settled that the things still future for us are just as settled as the things that were once future to Noah, Abraham, Moses, the prophets, and even the disciples. 

I will close with this reminder that, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”[7] Noah believed what God spoke to him. Abraham believed what God said. They both heard the word of Christ and that was enough for them to trust him in faith. 

The most influential thing on your faith is hearing the words of our Savior through the Scriptures on a daily basis. It is as we hear Jesus speaking to us through his word that we not only know his will, but feel faith rising within us to put his words into practice. 

© 2021 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)


[1] Yahweh is a transliteration (sounding-out) of the Old Testament name God gave his people to use when addressing him. In our English Bibles it is presented as “the LORD” (notice the all-caps), which misrepresents what God breathed-out as his divine name, not a title of authority. However, in God’s grace and mercy, he now uses this error to identify that Jesus Christ is “Lord”, affirming the deity of our Savior, the name by which we are saved (see Acts 4:12).

[2] Judaism, Islam and Christianity all identify Abraham as central to their religious beliefs, albeit with different understandings of the role that Abraham plays in how we live today.

[3] You can read the historical account of this in Genesis 11:1-9, leading to the genealogy from Noah’s son Shem all the way to Abraham in Genesis 11:10-32.

[4] Genesis 12 and following.

[5] Romans 4:20-21

[6] Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23; Galatians 3:23-29

[7] Romans 10:17

No comments:

Post a Comment