Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Faith, makes a work good

Hebrews 11:17-31 (ESV)
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, [18] of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." [19] He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. [20] By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. [21] By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. [22] By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.
[23] By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. [24] By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, [25] choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. [26] He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. [27] By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. [28] By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
[29] By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as if on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. [30] By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. [31] By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

Faith, it makes a work good. Funny that people are always so concerned about whether what they do or not is good, and try to verify their faith by their works. Can you imagine if Abraham tried to do that? Verify his faith by attempted murder? That is the work bantied about and which so much ink is spilled. Abraham was told to sacrifice his son. Today we would think that impossible. We like to think that it is impossible. Many people actually have a hang up believing God would ask this of Abraham, they find it so despicable, though they seem to have no problem asking the same of God with every sin that they commit. But Abraham himself doesn’t point to the work to justify his faith, to verify it. Rather it is the other way around, his faith made it a good work. His faith made an otherwise despicable act a good work because by faith he obeyed God’s command. In doing so he foreshadowed the crucifixion, foretold of Christ’s sacrifice, and showed faith in the resurrection.

1 comment:

Larry said...


Wow. You know I had not revisited those versus for a while. Under my former denominational confessions (SB and PCA) one views those very versus upside done, hold the wrong side of the shovel as it were. And you end up evaluating “do I have faith” as proved by works. There’s an upside down way to read and hear that very verse, rather than faith first and good works “are”, come into being.

It should be greatly encouraging to true confessing Christians.

E.g. When tested by the trial of the exertion of Baptist believers baptism ringing in and about our ears vexing our conscience with its subtle Ishmaelic laughter and “hath God really said”, by faith we baptize our children. When the apparent success of Calvin and Zwingli’s memorial meals exasperates our ear similarly causing that anfechtung Luther so described, “do you alone know (is that really what the Lord’s Supper says and is)”, by faith we approach the alter and receive against the devil, flesh, world and heterodoxy the very body and blood of Christ. By faith absolution is absolution from God Himself for otherwise all I see and hear is a pastor/man speak.