Faith & Abraham
Let us ask a few questions before getting into the article and Scripture.
Why is Abraham used as the figure of the faithful and sometimes referred to as the father of the faithful? Who are the truly faithful in today’s world?
Most who read and study their Bibles know that the majority of religious movements today do not fully teach obedience to God, by what the Bible reveals. We are in a very liberal time frame, especially here in the USA. Very few teach the keeping of the Commandments, as most are guilty of violating the 4th Commandment every week. However, the COG teaches the keeping of the commandments, so is it only those who claim to be COG members today, that are faithful? Can some of those “church of God” organizations not really be the “faithful” in all of their “doings” according to the examples of Abraham, Christ and the early Church? Many who claim to be the COG may not really be at all and are just deceiving themselves, like the Sadducees and Pharisees, still needing repentance! Do you really understand why Abraham is considered the “father” of the faithful and what that is based on?
So let us grab our Bibles and get started. We know from reading the story of this unique man, first called Abram in the Bible, that he became very obedient to God. God called this man out of a land of idol worshipers at approximately 75 years of age and worked with him the rest of his life. God made Abram/Abraham some covenant promises for his descendants to come, physical and spiritual—national and as the true COG, all the way down to and including our time today and beyond. We later see his name changed to Abraham at 99 and learn through other Scriptures and some New Testament writers that one of those promises dealt with Christ being born through a descendant of Abraham some 42 generations later! (Matt.1:17) Some of the aspects of these incidents come easily into mind and others not so easy, for us to understand. But sometimes we humans make the mistake of using our own human reason and interpret the Scriptures from that perspective. We have to really be careful of some websites, blogs and bloggers today, remembering to “test” all things (1Thess.5:21) as Satan the devil uses unsuspecting agents he has deceived to do his will. We are living in a time, right before the return of Christ, where Satan’s wrath will increase and bring the great tribulation. Christ says this in Luke 18:8—“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" (NKJ throughout, unless otherwise noted.) Why would He make such a statement?
One reason is because some that associate within the realm of the COG (where faith should be the most prevalent) are becoming lukewarm and deceived and will deceive others. Even the ordained ministry sometimes part from Scriptural revelation and word meanings to come up with some wrong ideas about what the Scriptures are teaching us. We can see this happening more than ever for our time today, if we are alert. In some situations however, the language used—the way things are worded in various different translations—can also cause us personally to get the wrong idea on some things, so we need to look up word meanings and the intent behind them, being diligent, honest and thorough. Sometimes we just need to be more studious to get all the facts that Scripture contains on any given subject while believing the written word. We will be tested as Christians and refined through trials to determine how faithful we are willing to be, just like Abraham. Can we put ourselves in a position anywhere close to what Abraham was faced with?
One of the most severe tests ever recorded for a human being to go through, besides Jesus Christ’s beating and crucifixion, could be considered the test of Abraham being called on to offer his only son Isaac, so let use look at that trial. What can we learn from these incidents and even more specifically, what amount of faith do we see in Abraham? Gen 22:1-2 says; “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" (God had given Abram/Abraham several commands through the course of many years prior to this, when you read the story, and he had always obeyed.) “And he said, "Here I am." Then He (God who became Christ-John 1:1-2, 14) said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." The very next verse does not indicate any kind of delay, debating or wondering why God would ask such a thing—Abraham just went about doing what he needed to do to obey! What human being today would have the great amount of faith it would take to just believe and trust in God in a situation like this? Abraham passed this test, so we can see a clear reason faith and Abraham are closely associated.
The Scriptures do not give the specific details, but Isaac was also being tried in that same situation as to how obedient he would be to his father, (Being a full grown adult) and this was all played out as a type which pointed to God the Father and Christ His Son in the future! Abraham, Isaac and all faithful had to learn how far God expected them to go and that nothing could be more important to them than striving to obey God in every command! These events or trials are examples for us today (1Cor.10:11) and show a character building process is going on for the true COG. Every true Christian will have some kind of trials in their lives that refines them and in the process of passing the tests, they set examples for those around them and others to come. What kind of faith to always obey God do we show our children and grand-children, by our choices? Some have the character and the faith to pass those test and others have to be tried over and over because of a lack of faith and giving in to breaking the Commandments. (James 2:8-10—See also the Partiality Bible study.) Paul records in Rom 1:16-17, reading from the ASV; “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith.” This is what Abraham was doing and the example he set for us shows we must also develop a tremendous amount of faith in the promises of God! 2 Cor.5:7 simply say of all true Christians; “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
This is one of the main reasons for those trials for Abraham and Isaac, because Abraham was chosen to be the father of the faithful. Isaac was in fact a type of Christ, as Abraham was playing out a type of God the Father, in this situation. Christ was in total submission to His Father to the point of death, as was Isaac to his. (Gen.22:9-Phil.2:8) So this was a tremendous trial for Abraham, but also Isaac, as well as a character building & refining process that obviously instilled in them a tremendous amount of faith and reliance on God. Abraham walked with God the rest of his life (Gen.26:1-6) as did Isaac and then passed these blessings on to Jacob, who also became faithful before he died. Isaac was tried as a type of Christ, however he was “passed over” and not required to die as Christ did, becoming “our Passover”. (1Cor.5:7) Isaac was submissive and a willing sacrifice, believing God and his father Abraham, that he was doing what God had commanded. God told Isaac later; Gen 26:4 "And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;”--. As stated above, these blessings were passed on from Isaac to Jacob whose name was eventually changed to Israel, as God continued to work toward the greater depth of these promises being fulfilled, through the true COG and then the establishing of the Kingdom of God on earth. Rom 4:16 “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all--”. Why? Gen 26:5 “because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."
The true COG today is a Spiritual Organism, made up of those who have and are being led by the Holy Spirit (Rom.8:14) to do the same thing! These will exercise faith like Abraham when tempted to disregard any Command of God, knowing that God’s ways are always right and the best way. Including the faithful who have died, these are to marry Christ at His return, therefore they are being developed into the bride of Christ and first fruits. This was part of the covenant that God made with Abraham. Isaac was the son of promise through Sarah whom God would use to start building a nation of people to work through, and would eventually bring forth Christ, the Spiritual Son of promise for the reconciliation of the world. (John 3:16) Abraham and Isaac went through, in type, what God the Father and Christ would do in reality. Nothing less than being willing to give all in obedience would be acceptable for those who would be the bride of Christ. It was already in the plan for Christ to give all at the command of the Father, as we see He was “slain from the foundation of the world”. (Rev 13:8—last part)
We see more of this connection to Abraham’s faith explained a little further in Rom 9:7-10 --“nor are they all children because they are the (physical) seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called." 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise: "At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son." 10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac--”
We can see a little more of the picture revealed in what Paul stated in this letter; Gal 3:7-9 “Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed (along) with believing Abraham.”
It is the “called, chosen and faithful”—the compassionate and loving spirit led ones holding fast to the truth—that will be with Christ. (Rev.17:14) The true COG, the woman who will be protected from Satan’s wrath (Rev.12:14) and then made Spirit to marry Christ, (Rev.19:7-8) are those who not only keep the commandments of God, but have the faith of Christ. (Rev.14:12) They will be doing the true work of God and zealously preaching the Gospel, which is done in service and out of love for all of mankind. The true COG will especially have a love and deep concern for all other called out & chosen ones—all who are the body of Christ—not just one particular organization. This “woman” will cling to the truth of God and strive not to compromise or be lukewarm in any area, while still doing the work of God. These will have been zealous to repent if they have let down (Rev.3:19) and that applies to all true converts today, scattered among these COG organizations.
We have seen here the example of Abraham’s faith as well as Isaac’s submission and faithful obedience. We must cling to truth and desire to please God more than men in order to recognize and resist the deceptions of those who would subtly destroy us with various heresies and compromises. Satan, the great counterfeiter is at work through those who become his agents today to destroy all who yield to his evil influence and subtle deceptions of men, which will worsen with time! We are being tested and refined through our trials if converted, (Luke 3:16) which are to prove our faith is based on belief and is of Christ, growing in us. We need to pray for God to increase that faith in us, (Luke 17:5) because it is His faith in us that gives us that Spiritual strength we need to obey in trying situations! Gal 2:16 KJV; “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Abraham simply believed God in faith and it was counted to him as righteousness! (Rom 4:9, ---“For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness”.)
This is why faith is associated with Abraham and why he is considered the “father of the faithful”! Those who are the faithful of today will be keeping the Commandments and also be striving to follow that example; reading the word of God with belief instead of interpreting it for themselves and injecting their own ideas. It is also not enough to just be following a COG group leader or the teachings of an organization to stay in a certain group, because they actually may not be doing the job Christ has given us all to be doing. If any of us have slipped into lukewarm compromises, we need to clean ourselves up and repent! (Rev.3:19) Do not give up your crown because of following men teaching and doing lukewarm things that are considered spiritual heresy or compromises in God’s eyes. If you do, you may miss your opportunity to be a first fruit, and will not be exhibiting the faith that was in Abraham. Let us consider Abraham and the faith he displayed by believing that we should seek first the kingdom of God, (Matt.6:33) which will help us develop more of the kind of faith that was in Abraham! If we let Christ live in us, we will also have more of HIS faith as well!