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The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

Manmin News   No. 759
624
January 28, 2024


쏯ow it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, 쁀braham! And he said, 쁇ere I am. And He said, 쁔ake now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you. So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him And Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, 쁀braham, Abraham! And he said, 쁇ere I am. And he said, 쁃o not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me. Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. (Genesis 22:1-3, 10-13)

If you trust someone completely, you may notice her intention even through her eyes or gestures. When she says what cannot be understood or when she acts beyond comprehension you may put yourself in her shoes and try to understand her without misunderstanding. But even close friends may have ill feelings against each other and break up when distrust is formed between them. In the same way, the fellowship between God and His children is different depending on their trust in Him.


1. Beauty of a trust in which we can lay down our life

We should sometimes ask a favor of someone and do her a favor. If it belongs to evil, we should never take part in it. But when it comes to goodness, we should be able to sacrifice everything we have for it, even including our own lives. It is deemed beautiful in God셲 sight,
It applies to a biblical figure, Esther. When her people in captivity were on the verge of being destroyed by Haman셲 evil scheme, Queen Esther was asked to save her people by her cousin Mordecai. He told her to go in to the king to implore his favor and to plead with him for her people.
But she had no choice but to hesitate because there was one law that anyone who comes to the inner court to the king who is not summoned must be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter.
Mordecai demanded an immediate action once again. She told him to ask all the Jews in Susa to fast 3 days for her and she fasted 3 days as well. She boldly went in to the king against the law. She risked her life for her people. God saw her beautiful heart and gave her wisdom, and then moved the king셲 heart. At last, she could save her people.
As she neither sought her benefits nor spared her life in doing good, God caused all things to work for good and her people were saved. This tells us how beautiful and powerful mutual trust and love among people is. Mordecai brought his parentless cousin Esther like her father, and she trusted and followed him like his daughter. That셲 why he could ask her such an impending favor as security of her life.


2. The trust between God and Abraham

Abraham had such a faith that pleased God and his action was reckoned as righteousness. Later God wanted to reveal his righteousness and planned to test him to perfect his faith, in which we can find what a great trust God and Abraham had between each other.
In Genesis 12, God told him, 쏥o forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father셲 house, to the land which I will show you. God didn셳 talk about his destination but simply commanded him to go forth to the land He would show him. Abraham trusted God so much completely that he obeyed His command and went out, not knowing where he was going.
He believed God saw him all the time and stayed with him in all aspects, so he committed everything into God셲 hands. God was always present with him for the rest of his life. When faced with difficulties, many rely on God in prayers at first but they end up giving up in the middle when His answer is slow than they expect. Abraham was patient with everything and acted by faith until the end.
Finally, he entered the land of Canaan by God셲 guidance, but found many tribes had already settled down there. Though it seemed impossible for him to dwell in the land, he completely believed God셲 promise, which says, 쏷o your descendants I will give this land. But there was a famine in the land although God had promised him, saying, 쏛nd I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing. He had to go down to Egypt to sojourn there.
He had no doubt of God셲 promise at all, and awaited the proper time patiently. A reality didn셳 seem to agree with a dream God had given. But he neither wavered at God셲 promise nor complained against God, but looked at everything with the eyes of faith. By the way, another incident occurred.
While he was staying in Egypt, his wife was taken into the Pharaoh셲 house. But he put perfect trust in God, so God struck the Pharaoh and his house with great plagues and he immediately returned her to Abraham. And he abounded in more livestock and greater wealth because God caused all things to work for Abraham셲 good through his faith.
His nephew Lot stayed with him and received material blessing as well when God blessed Abraham. Their possessions were so great that they couldn셳 dwell together. Abraham셲 herdsmen and Lot셲 quarreled against each other because of water and pasture. Abraham said to Lot, 쏱lease let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me: if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left (Genesis 13:8-9). He gave the first choice to his nephew Lot as he had a good and beautiful heart.
He did all things in wisdom without grumbling or disputing, and treated everyone with love and virtuous generosity. It shows what a great trust he put in God. When God was present with him, it didn셳 matter to him in the least what kind of land he chose. God was so pleased with his faith and action that He blessed him exceedingly (Genesis 13:14-17).
When Lot and his possessions were taken away later, Abraham risked his life to save Lot. When God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah filled with sins and evils, He considered Abraham and saved Lot (Genesis 19:29).
By the way, Abraham was childless and he wanted to make Eliezer of Damascus who was born in his house his heir. God said to him, 쐎ne who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir, and reminded him of His covenant, saying, 쏯ow look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them. So shall your descendants be. Abraham simply believed it.
In reality he and his wife were infertile due to their old age but he believed in the almighty God without looking at such a reality. God was well pleased with his faith and reckoned it to him as righteousness.
He still had no son 10 years later. His wife was no longer patient with God셲 promise but got involved in a human method. She told him to go in to her maid Hagar and to bear children through her. Hagar conceived and bore Ishmael to Abraham.
When 13 years passed and he was 99, God promised him that his wife would bear a son to him next year. At 100, Abraham obtained Isaac through her according to that promise. One day she saw Ishmael the son of Hagar scoffing Isaac and asked Abraham to drive out the maid and her son Ishmael. Abraham was greatly distressed because of his son Ishmael. God told him to do whatever his wife Sarah said to him for his seed would be named in Isaac. He obeyed.
Such a righteous person as has true faith never wavers at passions and desires of the flesh. They only obey the will of God. God was pleased with Abraham셲 obedience and made a nation of Ishmael the son of the maid.


3. God-pleasing faith

God planned to make Abraham a blessing to all peoples on earth and continually tested him. At last, God commanded him to offer his only son Isaac as a burnt offering. It might seem unintelligible and unacceptable in a human point of view, but Abraham obeyed it without hesitation because he believed God would be able to raise men from the dead (Hebrews 11:9).
He completely believed and relied on God so he could offer his only begotten son Isacc by faith. His faith was perfected by his action. This is how a righteous person practices God셲 words by complete faith and his words are confirmed with God셲 signs and wonders.
Romans 1:17 says, 쏷he righteous man shall live by faith. What then is faith?
Faith is largely divided into fleshly faith and spiritual faith. People store knowledge in the brain as much as they learn in growth. Many believe only what agrees with their knowledge, which is referred to as fleshly faith. They don셳 believe what is not in agreement with their knowledge and common sense: for instance, the sun and the moon stopped moving or the dead were brought back to life. Fleshy faith is also called 쁡ead faith because it is impossible to gain salvation or receive God셲 answers with fleshly faith.
Spiritual faith can be called 쁫iving faith as we can be saved by spiritual faith, and with spiritual faith we believe God셲 words from the heart though they are not in agreement with knowledge or common sense. As Romans 10:17 says, 쏶o faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ, we have to listen to His words diligently and practice them to possess spiritual faith. God helps us have spiritual faith through the knowledge of His words.
Each one has different faith in its measure. Romans 12:3 says, 쏤or through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
There is a difference in the measure of faith: faith in which they can barely be saved; faith in which they try to practice God셲 words; faith in which they can practice them; faith in which they love God exceedingly; and faith in which they please God. Each one셲 measure of faith is different depending on how much they act upon God셲 words, how sanctified they are by throwing away sins, and how faithful they are in all aspects for God셲 kingdom.
The living God gives His answers to those who ask for by faith and shows His mighty works to those whose faith can be accounted for righteousness by God. James 2:21 says, 쏻as not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? What kind of blessing was then given to Abraham who lived by faith?
God blessed him in all aspects of his life as recorded in Genesis 22:16-18, 쒋 because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
God foreknows and predestines in His kingdom. He foreknew Abraham had a reverent fear of God and would pass the test of offering his only son as a burnt offering, and thus predestined the father of faith to him. The reason for the test was to prevent the devil from accusing him and to prove, before the devil, Abraham was worthy of the father of faith.
When your faith is reckoned to you for righteousness like Abraham, you can receive whatever you ask for by faith and there is nothing impossible with your faith. I pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ you may live by such faith that can be reckoned to you for righteousness and your soul prosper so that you will succeed in everything you do, enjoy good health, and fulfill your heart셲 desires.


 

 

 
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