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Posted: Apr 19 2011, 04:19 AM
Member No.: 3
Joined: 29-July 05
ABRAHAM AND THE FAITH THAT BRINGS ABOUT RIGHTEOUSNESS
Romans 4: 2For if Abraham was justified (established as just by acquittal from guilt) by good works [that he did, then] he has grounds for boasting. But not before God!
3For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed in (trusted in) God, and it was credited to his account as righteousness (right living and right standing with God).
Galatians 3: 2Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying the Law and doing its works, or was it by hearing [the message of the Gospel] and believing [it]? [Was it from observing a law of rituals or from a message of faith?]
3Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly? Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the [Holy] Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh?
4Have you suffered so many things and experienced so much all for nothing (to no purpose)--if it really is to no purpose and in vain?
5Then does He Who supplies you with His marvelous [Holy] Spirit and works powerfully and miraculously among you do so on [the grounds of your doing] what the Law demands, or because of your believing in and adhering to and trusting in and relying on the message that you heard?
6Thus Abraham believed in and adhered to and trusted in and relied on God, and it was reckoned and placed to his account and credited as righteousness (as conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action).
7Know and understand that it is [really] the people [who live] by faith who are [the true] sons of Abraham.
The Lord has laid all of this on my heart and I do what I can to convey what He has said to all. I would like all to pay attention to a few things while reading this article.
I am not speaking of legalism in any sense of the term. Nor am I speaking of a lack of restraint in any way. If anyone reads this and begins to assume either extreme, KNOW THIS, you are not hearing the Lord about this subject!
This is a very spiritually understood concept. Nor is it something that is likely to be heard from any but the most unusual pulpits. In order to BEGIN to have any kind of true understanding of this topic, we are all going to have to lay down ALL preconceived notions and ideas, all previously held doctrines and understandings. We must come to the place where we no longer trust even ourselves to properly understand what God is telling us. There is no way for me to explain these things to you, they MUST be revealed by Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. Even though this is true, I am obeying the Lord by writing this in order to encourage ALL to deny themselves, take up their cross expecting to have their self-lives put to death and follow Jesus Christ in the very same kind of life of He lived where we also empty ourselves of everything we are and only do and say what we are told to do and say by the Lord Himself. If we have any self-originating idea or action, we are NOT walking as Jesus walked. (Remember, Jesus only did and said what Father God told Him to say and do)
We all must remember that Jesus said He would build His Church on REVELATION KNOWLEDGE, not on anything else. No amount our plans, programs, ideas, or anything else we can come up with will ever bring about what the Lord Himself has said HE would do; He does NOT share His glory with another.
Therefore, if we are unwilling to lay aside and lay down everything that has itís origin outside of God Himself (and that includes what we THINK the Bible says) then we will never understand what the Faith of Abraham is nor how it operates. Yes, there will be quite a bit of scripture in this article, but we must be willing to lay aside everything we think we know so that HE might teach us HIS TRUTH, not manís. (And yes, I am speaking to myself, for I am no better than anyone else. WE ALL must lay down EVERYTHING, just as Jesus commanded us.
If we are willing to do this and allow HIM to speak through the scriptures what is written here, then we all may BEGIN to learn how it is that our Lord desires us to live in this day; in the Age of Fullfillment, especially as we enter this last phase before His return. May the Lord, open our eyes, our ears, our hearts, and our understandings to His Truth alone and cause all things from the enemy to be disregarded and discarded.
Hebrews 11:1NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
6But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].
So goes the biblical definition of Faith. There have been many books written on the subject and I am no scholar to be able to define all the scriptural references that many others have already spoken of. This is not what the Lord has laid on my heart. Looking at the title of this paper, we must hear what God has to say regarding faith in the light of how Abraham lived. We are going to have to try to understand what it is that God saw in Abraham to grant him the favor HE did and thus, on to us, IF we are willing and able to meet those same conditions.
This is not an exhaustive article on Abraham. I will not be posting all the passages that speak of his life and how he lived before God. I must assume those reading this are familiar with him so we can move forward to where the Lord is leading us all.
Abraham lived in Ur of the Chaldeans. After some time, he finally heard God speaking to him. We are not told how long it was that God had been trying to get his attention. But we do know that God spoke to Abram (before God changed his name to Abraham) and told him to go to a place that HE would show him on the way. Abraham believed God and left the rest of his family behind going to some place he had no clue of nor where he would end up.
Abraham DID NOT have a Bible. ALL he had was the Voice of God. He believed the Lord. This means that he adhered to, trusted in, and relied upon Him COMPLETELY! That is what biblical belief means, he really trusted God at what He said.
After some time of following Godís directions (with a few screw ups) God made a covenant with Abraham and PROMISED him a son. Abraham was happy about this and set out to make it happen. After some time, Sarah even got into the act and offered Hagar as a possible mother for the child. Well, as Abraham helped God, he got Ishmael. For those who do not know, Ismael is the father of the rest of the Middle Eastern peoples, the Arabs. How much trouble have the Arabs caused Israel? Just because Abraham tried to HELP GOD!
It took a number of years before Abraham FINALLY stopped relying on himself and put his total trust in God. He came to the place where he KNEW that he himself could never produce an heir, that Sarah would never have a baby, UNLESS GOD HIMSELF DID IT! So, instead of trying to do whatever he could to make it come about, Abraham had a PURE FAITH that produced a son by the Promise of God.
And THAT is the kind of faith we are supposed to have. Look where it came from. It did not come by Abraham reading a book or hearing some man talk. NO! It came from Abraham himself hearing the Word of the Lord from God Himself; from the very lips of our Lord who IS the Word.
Romans 10: 14But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed [in Whom they have no faith, on Whom they have no reliance]? And how are they to believe in Him [adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him] of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?
15And how can men [be expected to] preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings! [How welcome is the coming of those who preach the good news of His good things!]
16But they have not all heeded the Gospel; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed (had faith in) what he has heard from us?
17So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself).
Do we believe this or are we still listening to what man says thinking that all we have to do is listen to the scriptures? Do we not understand yet? What did Jesus Himself say the scriptures are for?
John 5: 37And the Father Who sent Me has Himself testified concerning Me. Not one of you has ever given ear to His voice or seen His form (His face--what He is like). [You have always been deaf to His voice and blind to the vision of Him.]
38And you have not His word (His thought) living in your hearts, because you do not believe and adhere to and trust in and rely on Him Whom He has sent. [That is why you do not keep His message living in you, because you do not believe in the Messenger Whom He has sent.]
39You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently, because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them. And these [very Scriptures] testify about Me!
40And still you are not willing [but refuse] to come to Me, so that you might have life.
The scriptures were given to us to send us to Jesus Christ that they testify of, so when we DO go to HIM, then (and ONLY THEN) will we be able to receive His Everlasting Life! Notice, I am not putting down the Bible and the scriptures. I am saying of them the same as Jesus did. The Bible is a testimony of Jesus Christ and what HE has promised. But the scriptures themselves are unable to provide anything other than knowledge. It is for this reason Jesus spoke to the Pharisees in the manner that He did, because they were attempting to make the scriptures EQUAL with God (at least their own understanding of the scriptures). And I must ask this question.
How is what the Pharisees believed any different than what is commonly taught in Christianity today?
Brothers and Sisters, please listen. The scriptures do indeed tell us what is available to us IN CHRIST, but they have no more power to make those promises real in our lives than the 10 Commandments have the Power to make a person holy on the inside! At best, we can comply with the commandments, but we will always find our hearts are defective, just like Paul spoke of in Romans 7. and we must also remember that Jesus Himself told us all that our righteousness had to exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees.
Matt 5: 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness (your uprightness and your right standing with God) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
How is this to be possible? The Pharisees complied externally to every single nuance of the Law. They were meticulous about it, but Jesus told them their hearts were FAR from the Lord; they were full of iniquity, and to quote Jesus>>>
Matt 23: 25Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but within they are full of extortion (prey, spoil, plunder) and grasping self-indulgence.
26You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and of the plate, so that the outside may be clean also.
27Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you are like tombs that have been whitewashed, which look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead men's bones and everything impure.
28Just so, you also outwardly seem to people to be just and upright but inside you are full of pretense and lawlessness and iniquity.
The Pharisees were making the very same mistake Abraham made at first, but they did not learn from their mistakes. So now, I must ask us all once more;
How is what the Pharisees did any different from what is commonly taught in Modern Christianity?
Abraham truly believed GOD Himself not some book. (no offense to the Bible, please) He heard God speak from His own lips and believed the Word He spoke so much so that Abraham ceased trying to accomplish anything for himself but rather had the FAITH that comes from TRULY HEARING the Word of God from the Lips of the Lord, and ceased his striving to accomplish the promise himself and instead BELIEVED GOD would do what HE promised He would do, HIMSELF!
Without Abrahamís help. All Abraham ended up doing was doing what God told him to do; nothing more and nothing less! Abraham KNEW he could not produce the promised son himself. He KNEW Sarah would not ever have a child UNLESS GOD DID IT HIMSELF! This is why Issac was a child of promise. God promised and God provided the means for the promise to be fullfilled. All Abraham has to do was Trust God Absolutely in all things and CEASE trying to HELP God in any way.
It is THIS KIND OF FAITH that pleases God and no other. Pure faith that totally TRUSTS HIM to accomplish the promises God has promised. If we do what we can to ďhelpĒ God, we may produce something, BUT it will always end up being an Ismael, a child of the flesh, a child of bondage. Only when we totally put our trust in HIM to do what HE has promised He will do and reach out in FAITH to Him to do it because we heard His voice make that promise, ONLY THEN will the TRUE SPIRITUAL PROMISE become a reality in our lives!
Notice Abraham who did not have ANY written record to tell him what to do, who had no history of God working in the lives of those who had gone before. Abraham was found to have FAITH. This faith brought forth Righteousness into his life. This righteousness was not just imputed, but it was IMPARTED! He actually lived in a right relationship with the Lord. Abraham believed God and Obeyed what he was told. When he came to a place in his walk where he discovered he could not accomplish what was demanded of him by God, he trusted that God would accomplish it Himself in Abrahamís life. This is how Issac came to be. Abraham KNEW he was beyond an age where he could produce a child; Sarah had never had a child and she was also well past the time when she could ever have a child by natural means.
Then faith in Godís SPOKEN WORD to him, came into being. As Abraham stopped relying on himself completely and only relied upon God to accomplish His promise, Sarah got pregnant! This is why Isaac is called the child of promise, for God promised him to Abraham and then God caused Sarah to get pregnant when they both were only trusting in God to provide the son. They KNEW for a fact that they could NEVER do this, only God was able.
And now we come to today.
Philippians 3:9 And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law's demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith.
2 Timothy 3:15 And how from your childhood you have had a knowledge of and been acquainted with the sacred Writings, which are able to instruct you and give you the understanding for salvation which comes through faith in Christ Jesus [through the leaning of the entire human personality on God in Christ Jesus in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness].
Notice what Paul tells us. We are not to have any sort of righteousness that comes from our keeping the Law. BUT we are to be righteous. This righteousness does NOT happen due to our obedience to His Law. This righteousness comes by Faith in Christ Jesus ALONE! We receive an IMPARTED RIGHTEOUSNESS that comes only by faith, never by adherance to a command. Please do not think I am speaking of anarchy or of our living any way we desire and God only seeing good in us. That is NOT what I speak of.
I am speaking of a REAL RIGHTEOUSNESS that is no different than what God demands, but it comes as a result of our totally trusting Jesus Christ to live His life through us.
Galatians 2: 20I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
21[Therefore, I do not treat God's gracious gift as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose]; I do not set aside and invalidate and frustrate and nullify the grace (unmerited favor) of God. For if justification (righteousness, acquittal from guilt) comes through [observing the ritual of] the Law, then Christ (the Messiah) died groundlessly and to no purpose and in vain. [His death was then wholly superfluous.]
This righteousness does not come from our keeping the Law, from our striving to be good, from any form of US DOING ANYTHING. No, it comes by faith alone in Christ Jesus.
Eph 4:21 Assuming that you have really heard Him and been taught by Him, as [all] Truth is in Jesus [embodied and personified in Him],
Eph 4:22 Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion;
Eph 4:23 And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude],
Eph 4:24 And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God's image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.
Now I ask you, how do you imagine that anyone could strive to be as truly righteous as Jesus was while He lived on this earth? Yet, that is what is required of us and it is NOT something that God sees in us because of Jesus. It is NOT imputed righteousness but a TRUE Righteousness and True Holiness. This is exactly what God promised in Ezekiel.
Eze 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness; and from all your idols will I cleanse you.
Eze 36:26 A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Eze 36:27 And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall heed My ordinances and do them.
Eze 36:28 And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be My people, and I will be your God.
Look at those verses once more. Compare them to Ephesians 4 and you will see the very same thing. God will change our nature to be JUST LIKE JESUS and HE will cause us to walk in His statutes and ordinances and DO THEM! He will do it for us! Our nature will be such that our natural reaction will be exactly the same as Jesusí was in every situation. But this happens by FAITH, not by our triving to make ourselves better, not by trying to obey the commandments, not by controlling our behavior. We will NOT be living in Romans 7, that is where most of us live right now, knowing what God desires and finding out that deep inside of us lies our heart that is not only deceitful, but it is depraved.
However, IF we truly believe our Lord can and will change this and we truly allow HIM to put to death that wrong heart, then receive the NEW NATURE, the NEW MAN that is created to be like GOD in True Righteousness and Holiness, and we WILL walk JUST LIKE JESUS, without having to force ourselves, without trying to control those inner desires and lusts. It will naturally flow out of our inner being just like Jesus said when He spoke of the Rivers of Living Water that will NEVER run dry! And we will never thirst again!
GALATIANS 3: 10And all who depend on the Law [who are seeking to be justified by obedience to the Law of rituals] are under a curse and doomed to disappointment and destruction, for it is written in the Scriptures, Cursed (accursed, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment) be everyone who does not continue to abide (live and remain) by all the precepts and commands written in the Book of the Law and to practice them.
11Now it is evident that no person is justified (declared righteous and brought into right standing with God) through the Law, for the Scripture says, The man in right standing with God [the just, the righteous] shall live by and out of faith and he who through and by faith is declared righteous and in right standing with God shall live.
12But the Law does not rest on faith [does not require faith, has nothing to do with faith], for it itself says, He who does them [the things prescribed by the Law] shall live by them [not by faith].
13Christ purchased our freedom [redeeming us] from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation] by [Himself] becoming a curse for us, for it is written [in the Scriptures], Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (is crucified);
14To the end that through [their receiving] Christ Jesus, the blessing [promised] to Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, so that we through faith might [all] receive [the realization of] the promise of the [Holy] Spirit.
Please, do not react to this message. Stop trying to figure it all out. Do not expect the natural human mind, our normal human reasoning to fathom all of this, especially all at once for the first time. Can we trust our Lord? If we go to Him and ask Him if this be so, will He not tell us HIS TRUTH? But we must go to Him without ANY preconceived notion or idea. We must lay down all of our understandings, ideas, doctrines, thoughts, teachings, RIGHTS, pride, studies, everything we hold dear and be willing for the Lord to correct us in all of these things.
As long as we are the ones who decide what is right and wrong, what is good or evil, we are acting as God in our lives, lifting up our reasoning and understanding above God Himself. If we come to Him as little children, willing to be taught, willing to be corrected, asking Him what HE says and then TRULY BELIEVING HIM, taking HIM at His word, HE will tell us His truth.
But we must remember, we cannot have ANY preconceived idea of the outcome. If HE tells us that we are wrong and what I have presented is the TRUTH, then we MUST lay down and discard our old ways and ideas, taking up what HE teaches us as HIS ABSOLUTE TRUTH! Are we truly willing to humble ourselves in this manner? Will we really be as little children KNOWING we do not have a clue and only our Loving Father knows THE TRUTH and HE will tells us as long as we do not cling to what we have always hung onto? Will we really do this?
I warn you, it is not easy. Oh, it is quite simple, but just because it is simple does NOT make it easy. We so love to be in control, to determine for ourselves what is right and wrong. But that is the very same sin Adam and Eve committed in the Garden. God did not want that for them and HE does not want that for us. As long as we continue to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, HE will not let us eat from the Tree of Life.
Dear brothers and sister, I beg of you, do not allow pride, bad feelings, feelings of condemnation, being judged, or any other negative feeling deter you from laying everything DOWN and allowing our Lord Jesus Christ to teach you by the Holy Spirit. He will do so, but NOT if you are already full of your own ideas.
I can only do what I know to do to present this truth to you. Abraham understood and finally, after many years was able to KNOW he could not help God at all and then put his absolute Trust in the One who made the promise in the first place.
We too are in a similar circumstance. We have relied on ourselves to determine what is right and wrong for many years. Even though we may have actually used the teachings in the Bible to do so, it was our own ideas of what the scriptures meant that we were relying on. We were leaning on our own understanding.
We must move beyond human understanding and move on out into Revelation Knowledge. This is KNOWING beyond the ability to speak or understand as Paul spoke of in Ephesians. It is the Revelation Knowledge that Jesus spoke to Peter about when Father God revealed to Peter that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah. That is the kind of knowledge Jesus builds His Church on, NOT on the kind of education we get from school, by studying and memorizing various passages of the Bible.
The only way to prove this to yourself is to do as I have stated; lay ALL things down and do not allow them to influence you. Trust GOD to teach you HIS TRUTH.
I pray that all who read this would truly give their lives including their RIGHTS and ability to decide for themselves what is right and wrong DOWN and become as little children, allowing our wonderful Father in Heaven to lead and guide us by His Holy Spirit. It is the ONLY WAY we will be safe. It is the ONLY WAY to TRULY know His Truth and to have the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ; the faith of Abraham.
A bondslave in Christ Jesus, Dirk