He Is The Prototype of Our Faith Today
Published on April 30, 2010 By KFC Kickin For Christ In Religion

I want to tell you a true story.  It's ancient history now but it's a beautiful story of God's love for all mankind.  God looked down, saw a mess and knew something had to be done to reconcile us to Him saving us from what would be a terrible end otherwise. 

It all starts with a man called Abraham.  Years after the events of the original story James wrote this: 

"Was not Abraham, our father, justified by works when he offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  See how faith is wrought with his works and by works was faith made perfect?  And the scripture was fulfilled which said "Abraham believed God and it was imputed to him for righteousness and he was called the Friend of God."  James 2:21-23

The key here is "the scripture was fulfilled."  Normally we know that prophecy is something that is uttered either orally or written down, and after some period of time, later seen. 

Here we're talking about scripture that was given to Abraham.  James is saying what was spoken to Abraham was later fulfilled.  "Abraham believed God and it was imputed to him for righteousness." 

In Genesis 12:1-3 where it all began, we can read about the call of Abraham.  He was told to get out of Ur of the Chaldees which we know is the old name for Iraq.   Hebrews 11:8 tells us that when he was called, he obeyed even though he had no idea where he was going. It was by faith he did this. 

This was no easy feat.  In Joshua 24 we read that Abraham's father's background was idolatry.  Abraham was born a Gentile and declared a Jew.  The Jewish nation would be born from this man.  He was called out of idolatry.  Nothing about his circumstances can explain why he did what he did.  Faith is able to accomplish what circumstances cannot do.  It was not easy to walk away from your clan, your gods, and your way of life.  Something was unusual here.

He was 75 years old when he responded to the call of God.  He was a senior citizen.  Later in Chapter 15 of Genesis which is the most important chapter in the life of Abraham we can see he's a few years older.  We're not sure how much but it's under 10 years because the chronological marker in 16 tells us it was 10 years after his initial call.  In this very important chapter we read this:

"And He (God) brought him forth abroad and said, Look now toward heaven and tell the stars, if you are able to number them and he said to him, So shall your seed be.  And he (Abraham) believed in the Lord and he counted it to him for righteousness."  15:5,6.

This is exactly what James wrote about.  Many believe that Abraham did something to earn this but all he did was believe the promise that the Lord had given him.  Simple belief made him right with God.  It's so simple yet all the religions of the world have told us for centuries we must earn our way into God's good graces.  Not true. 

Abraham was justified by faith.  Paul later made it quite clear that Abraham's salvation was made on this night.  He is justified in Chapter 15 not in Chapter 12  when he left Ur.  We know Abraham left Ur by faith but there are different types of faith.  Abraham, in Chapter 12, is exercising legitimate, genuine faith when he left Ur.  But it is not soul saving faith.  God said to him "follow me and I will show you a land."  He believed it and trusted it would happen but in Chapter 15 it says he believed in the Lord and "was counted to him for righteousness." 

In 1 John 5:13, John wrote something similar to the Christians when he penned this:

"These things have I writeen to you that believe on the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God." 

Simple belief. Soul saving belief.  How complicated the religions of the world make things.

It's one thing to say I believe in Jesus and quite another to believe in his death, burial and resurrection and understand how it means for our salvation.  Saving faith is when one goes to the Savior at the cross and knows he died for them.  God communicates truth to us when we respond.  As we respond to truth, he gives us more light.  God called Abraham by faith.  Abraham responded.  He reached out in faith to God of the promise.  He did not give a performance to earn his salvation. 

Many years passed by and Abraham, not having the benefit of scriptures like we do thought he needed to help God out a bit so he and his wife came up with an idea.  They brought in their handmaiden and she conceived a child.  Of course this was not the child of promise.  This was their idea not God's.  We see here that Abraham was 86 years old (Gen 16:16). It wouldn't be until another 11 years later that God gave the covenant of circumcision (Chap 17)  and even later that the child of promise to be born. 

Later in the book of Romans, Paul said there was a very clear reason why God did it this way.  The only thing that declared his justification was his faith.  Paul asks in Romans 4 "what does circumsion have to do with Abraham's salvation?"  Nothing.  It's simply a symbol or token of his faith already possessed. 

Now Abraham's guilt over his handmaiden Hagar immediately comes to the surface.  He is so excited about the promise he thinks about his son Ishmael, desiring a plan for him too. 

God is specific.  Sarah will have a son.  His name is to be Isaac. God's covenant will be established with Isaac. 

Then comes one of the most beloved chapters in the book of Genesis.  Chapter 22. This is when Abraham would offer Isaac up to God as a sacrifice.  Keep in mind the culture back then.   We don't know how old Isaac is, but we can listen to the dialogue between the two and understand he's at least a boy if not a young man. 

They woke up early in the morning to make this trip up the mountain.  We see no questioning; no challenge to God's request of Abraham for this to be done.  Abraham once again responded clearly in faith.  The writer in Hebrews tells us Abraham's thought process giving us more info.  He lifted the knife but in his mind he knew God would raise his son back to life, because before they went up the mountain, Abraham said "we will be back." 

This is the faith process.  Same thing we have to go thru when we exercise faith today.  Abraham clearly understood what God said in Genesis 17.  He heard and believed God would do what he said about how numerous his seed would be through Isaac.  Abraham faced a dilemma of faith.  A paradox was before him.  He must have questioned himself by thinking "how do I reconcile killing my son, the son of promise, and the promises of God that were to come from Isaac?"  His seed would be multiplied thru Isaac and how could this be if he were dead?

He came to the conclusion "I can't reconcile this but God can."  As he looked up, knife in hand, he saw a ram caught in a thicket.  This ram never entered his mind.  In his mind he saw, according to the writer of Hebrews, Isaac dying in sacrifice, then his beloved son would be raised from the dead.  God in his mercy withheld Isaac being sacrificed yet later God did not withold his only beloved Son dying for us. God provided a substitute for Abraham in the meantime.  It was like God was saying, "no Abraham, not your son, but mine.  I will do it. 

Circumstances are God's problem.  My responsibiilty is to do what God tells me to do.  How many times do we look at our own circumstances and don't do what God would have us to do?

It's all about FAITH.  This is the reason Abraham is our spiritual father.  He was a great example to all of us, not  just the Jews. 

Simple faith.  Same faith.  Soul saving faith. 

 

  

 

 


Comments (Page 1)
on Jun 16, 2010

Faith KFC?  Faith is simply belief without proof.  Abraham had proof.  God spoke to him, in a voice, that he heard, and he told him who he was, KFC.  It was to Abrahan's credit that he knew and understood that the voice was telling him the truth.   It is not as you put it,  a matter of simple faith.

However now a days, we'd tell him that he needed to see a psychiatrist, because those that hear voices, are nuts.  Good thing that Abraham wasn't born in our time, isn't it?

on Jun 16, 2010

KFC writes:

Simple belief. Soul saving belief.

It's all about FAITH. This is the reason Abraham is our spiritual father. He was a great example to all of us, not just the Jews. Simple faith. Same faith. Soul saving faith.

I agree Abraham is our spiritual father and a great example to us. However, Scripture teaches it takes more than faith alone, KFC.  Faith is the beginning of which hope and charity must follow.

Regarding faith, the points of your article would be theologically correct had you not always drawn them to the "faith alone" principle of the 16th century Reformers.

................................................

Faith KFC? Faith is simply belief without proof. Abraham had proof. God spoke to him, in a voice, that he heard, and he told him who he was, KFC. It was to Abrahan's credit that he knew and understood that the voice was telling him the truth. It is not as you put it, a matter of simple faith.

You make a valid point. it's not just a matter of simple faith for eternal life.  All the belief and faith in the world won't save a sinner who intends to go on sinning. Faith alone without a good moral life in obedience to God's commands is not enough for eternal salvation.

You write "faith is simply belief without proof". This is more along the definition of human faith. But as you have already noted, Abraham had proof...and so his faith was something else. Abraham had Divine faith...which is firmly believing all that God has revealed or made known to us. 

St.Paul gives a definition of Faith (although not precise) and its efficacy in Hebrews 11, "Now Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not." (meaning that we cannot see).

 

 

 

 

on Jun 16, 2010

Well Lulapilgrim if I read that passage of Pauls for myself, I wouldn't say that the meaning that you gave it was the one that I'd find in it.  I would say that Paul was saying that faith wasn't enough..  One can hope but hope isn't always fulfilled.  Which is what I would see in his words "the evidence of things that appear not".  i don't see it as things that we can't see.  However do I take things literally, as they are written  and don't try to guess at what the author is trying to say.

 

Please explain what you mean by divine faith.  As far as I can tell Abraham had proof, no faith necessary.  The proof of God's own voice.  I also wouldn't say that Abraham had to have faith to know and understand that it was the voice of God either.  Some things one just knows.

on Jun 17, 2010

Well Lulapilgrim if I read that passage of Pauls for myself, I wouldn't say that the meaning that you gave it was the one that I'd find in it. I would say that Paul was saying that faith wasn't enough.. One can hope but hope isn't always fulfilled. Which is what I would see in his words "the evidence of things that appear not". i don't see it as things that we can't see. However do I take things literally, as they are written and don't try to guess at what the author is trying to say.

Let's see if I can show better how Abraham fullfilled St. Paul's definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1.  By faith Abraham completely submitted his intellect and will to God. Romans 1:5 and 16:26 calls this human response to God "the obedience of faith".  To obey in faith is to submit freely to God's revelation because its truth is guaranteed by God who is Truth Itself. Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance and he went out not knowing where he was to go. By faith, he lived as a stranger and pilgrim and by faith Abraham offered his only son in sacrifice.

His faith in God gave him assurance of things hoped for and the evidence or conviction of things not seen.

Because he was "strong in his faith" Abraham became the "father of all who believe". Rom. 4:11; 184:20; Gen. 15:5.   

 

 

on Jun 17, 2010

 

You write "faith is simply belief without proof". This is more along the definition of human faith. But as you have already noted, Abraham had proof...and so his faith was something else. Abraham had Divine faith...which is firmly believing all that God has revealed or made known to us.

St.Paul gives a definition of Faith (although not precise) and its efficacy in Hebrews 11, "Now Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not." (meaning that we cannot see).

Please explain what you mean by divine faith.

Goodness....books galore have been written on this subject. I like St. Thomas Aquinas' definition best....In Faith, the human intellect and will cooperate with Divine Grace: "Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the Divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace." 

To start, Divine faith is the way to salvation while unbelief is the way to perdition. 

The 3 theological virtues are Faith, Hope and Charity. Divine faith is a "theological" virtue because it has God as its direct and principal object. Theos is the Greek word for God.

As opposed to human faith and acquired virtues, God Himself infuses His supernatural gift of Divine Faith into our soul.

Next, Faith is our personal adherance to God that is it is our free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. This is how Dvine Faith differs from human faith. We entrust ourselves to God and believe wholly what He says. As Christians, believing in God can't be separated from believing in the ONe He sent, Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said to His disciples, "Believe in God, believe also in Me." St.John 14:1. And the same with the Holy Spirit; we believe in the Holy Spirit because He is God.

So back to St.Paul....Divine Faith is the firm adherence of the soul to a truth which is not clearly "seen" as true. By faith we accept something as true even though we don't fully understand it as true. Faith then constitutes real knowledge bit at the same time it is not empirical knowledge (for example, in faith I accept the Incarnation as true). Divine Faith is certain knowledge. It's more certain than human knowledge because it's founded on the Word of God Who cannot lie.  

For me, a Catholic the fullness of what I believe about God relates to everything He has told us about Himself through both written Revelation and by oral revelation Tradition. (Deposit of Faith).

Divine Faith seeks understanding. It is intrinsic to Divine Faith that the more true believers desire to know and understand better what God has revealed, the more they want to know. the more knowledge calls forth a greater faith Ephesians 1:18 teaches that the grace of faith "opens the eyes of your hearts" to a lively understanding of God's plan and all its mysteries their connection with each other and with Christ, the Center of revealed mysteries. 

Of this St.Augustine wrote, " I believe in order to understand,; and I understand the better to believe."

 

 

 

 

 

 

on Jun 17, 2010

Abraham was born a Gentile and declared a Jew.

Yes, it is commonly thought that Abraham was declared a Jew, but it's not true. Abraham is the first Hebrew recorded in the OT, and he was not a Jew although he was the progenitor of the Jewish people. 

Abraham was the first of the patriarchs of Israel and it was through Isaac and his son Jacob, whose name God changed to Israel, that Abraham became the ancestor of the Jewish people. And through Ismael, he was also the ancestor of the Arabs, now mostly Mohammedans. 

 

 

 

on Jun 18, 2010

Well I suppose if a voice came out of nowhere and told me that it was God, I'd believe it too.  It wasn't like Abraham was in a city filled with people who could have done such a thing.  So I don't see where faith would have had anything to do with it.  I don't see where Abraham would have any choice other than to believe that God was indeed God.  It wasn't a matter of faith, but a matter of proof, the proof being a voice that came from nowhere, from no human being.   It would have been impossible to deny a voice that came from nowhere anything that it asked.  I don't see "divine faith" as having anything to do with it. 

I don't think that Paul can explain why Abraham did what he did either.  Paul never knew or spoke to Abraham considering that Abraham lived hundreds of years before Paul.  I don't think anyone who comes long after another has the right to explain their motives or even what they thought unless they expressed them directly to them personally.  That, would seem to me, to be a HUGE leap of assumption to think otherwise.  It would in fact be tatamount to explaining what Atilla the Hun thought about invading China.  Unless some one has left a written record about their own thoughts, no one knows what they were.  Guesses are not knowledge.

on Jun 18, 2010

 

I don't think that Paul can explain why Abraham did what he did either. Paul never knew or spoke to Abraham considering that Abraham lived hundreds of years before Paul. I don't think anyone who comes long after another has the right to explain their motives or even what they thought unless they expressed them directly to them personally. That, would seem to me, to be a HUGE leap of assumption to think otherwise. It would in fact be tatamount to explaining what Atilla the Hun thought about invading China. Unless some one has left a written record about their own thoughts, no one knows what they were. Guesses are not knowledge.

Exactly. Guesses are not knowledge...but who's guessing here? No one is.

Again,

Faith is our personal adherance to God. Faith is our free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. This is how Dvine Faith differs from human faith. We entrust ourselves to God and believe wholly what He says. As Christians, believing in God can't be separated from believing in the One He sent, Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said to His disciples, "Believe in God, believe also in Me." St.John 14:1. And the same with the Holy Spirit; we believe in the Holy Spirit because He is God.

We know about Abraham from Sacred Scripture which is God's written Revelation to us.  By faith, I accept what St. Paul wrote about Abraham as true. Why? Becasue God was inspiring St. Paul to write what he wrote.

In other words, the Holy Bible is not simply a literary output of certain people. It is a most unique expression of God's revelation exactly as God desired to manifest Himself, in writing.  

 

on Jun 19, 2010

You say that Paul was inspired by God.  How do you know this to be true?  Other than taking Paul's word for it that is.  This is a man who had set out to hunt the apostles down and kill them.  His miracle with Jesus was not seen by anybody but himself.  The only witnesses to it, saw a bright light but didn't hear anything.  I deal in proof only, faith is not an option.

You say that the bible is a literary output of certain people.  In that case Paul could have said anything and it would have been written down and regarded by many as the truth and as proof.  I prefer to put things to the test for myself.  I don't see the bible as "proof"of what man thinks it says, but a map of sorts that man can follow in order to prove the truth to ones own self.  Except for a few places where god instructs man to to write down the words he is told, the bible is written by men according to their own experiences.

on Jun 19, 2010

You say that Paul was inspired by God. How do you know this to be true?

By faith I know with absolute certainty that all 73 (46 in the OT and 27 in the NT) Books of the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God.

God inspired the writers to write His written revelation becasue He wishes all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth. But the Holy Bible does not contain all truths necessary for salvation. St.John 21:25.

For example every Christian is obliged to sanctify Sunday. But no where in the whole Bible, from Genesis to The Book of the Apocalypse is there one word authorizing the sanctification of Sunday.

I accept the Holy Bible as the Word of God on the authority of the Catholic Church.

God did not intend that Holy Scripture to be our only rule of Faith independently of a living voice of His teaching Church. This is true even under the Old Law. When Christ came to earth, He didn't change the order of these things.

Christ did not intend that His Gospel be proclaimed by the ciruclation of the Holy Bible.  It was mainly by preaching that He intended to convert all nations and that's why He founded His Church.

 

   

 

on Jun 19, 2010

I deal in proof only, faith is not an option.

I think one of the most unsettling questions Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke when He was instructing His disciples concerning His Second Coming was, "Yet when the Son of man comes, will he find, do you think, faith on earth?"

 

on Jun 21, 2010

So you are telling me that it's only your faith that tells you that the words of Paul are truth?  If I may ask, why don't you bother to put them to the test?  Jesus said  that one could ask and be given.  He didn't put any stipulations on what could be asked for that I know of.  Why don't you ask, instead of relying on faith?  Are you afraid of asking, or afraid of finding out the truth?  Is it not worth the time to ask?   I'm not assuming that you are any of the above, but I'm wondering why you haven't, what are your reasons?

Do you think that he will find faith on the earth?  Do you think that it will be a positive thing if he does?  I think that he will, and I think that he will be quite disappointed that man is willing to simply believe and not willing to take the necessary steps to find out.  Jesus didn't ask for just faith from his disciples.   He taught them.  If faith was all that was necessary, the teachings would not have been necessary, would they?

on Jun 21, 2010

I do agree with John, the bible does not contain all the truths necessary for salvation.  There are just somethings that must be searched for and experienced for oneself.   If one doesn't make the effort to find them out for oneself, one will never know what those things are.  Jesus gave the steps to find them, it's up to the individual to make the effort.

I find it hard to believe that all the words in the bible are "God inspired".  Too many are in conflict with the direct word of God and the teachings of Jesus.

on Jun 21, 2010

Why do you say that Christ founded a church?  No where have I read that he did.  Peter supposedly did (you are the rock upon which my church shall be built), but Jesus's prediction of that doesn't necessarily mean that he approved of it nor that he wanted it to happen.  The fact that he said "my church" means nothing other than his name would be associated with it, to assume that it does mean more is strictly that, just "assumption".   Christ worshipped in temple and specifically called it "my fathers house".  It would seem odd that Jesus would call it that and then instuct his apostles to build another house for his father.  Which by the way, I've not read anywhere in the bible that those instructions were ever given.

on Jun 21, 2010

So you are telling me that it's only your faith that tells you that the words of Paul are truth?

I guess I wasn't as clear as I should have been in my reply #10.  So No, it's not only my faith, but also the God-given authority of the Church guarantees the words of St. Paul are truth. When Christ ascended into Heaven, He did not leave us orphans.  He left us His Church whose sole purpose is to help guide us to everlasting life. St.Matt. 28:16-20, note especially verse 20, "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you".   

By God's command, the Catholic Church proclaims the truths of Divine Revelation as contained in both Holy Scripture and Tradition. (and my just bringing this up could raise KFC's ire to the point of deletion)! But anyway,

The Holy Bible didn't just drop down from Heaven and it wasn't alwasys as it appears now, a compact book neatly bound. For several centuries the Bible was in separated segments scattered all over Christendom and there were other books under the name of Scripture that were being ciruclated among the faithful as well.

It was the Catholic Church in 397 that declared which books were inspired by God and which were not.

I find it hard to believe that all the words in the bible are "God inspired". Too many are in conflict with the direct word of God and the teachings of Jesus.

For 15 hundred years the Catholic Chruch was the sole guardian of the Bible. And it is the Chruch that assures us that the translation from the original languages is faithful. The Bible needs an authoritative interpreter becasue it is very difficult to understand...of this it says so itself!! The CC alone was empowered by God to interpret the Bible.

I understand your point. Protestantism came and their leaders wrote their own versions and established the "right" of individual interpretation and ever since thousands of different sects have divided and subdivided over different translations and interpretatons.  No two of them interpret the Bible in the same manner.

 

 

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