“And he brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:5-6
Thinking about Abraham this morning and how, because he believed what God told him, it was counted to him as righteousness. Fast forward only seven chapters and we find God testing Abraham’s faith in a way that is essentially incomprehensible. The ultimate test of Abraham’s belief in God.
Hadn’t Abraham already believed God? Yes.
Hadn’t Abraham already obeyed God? Yes — prior to the law of Moses and the laws that followed.
“Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’ —and he was called a friend of God.” James 2:21-22
That word “completed” (teleióō) is “to consummate, reaching the end-stage, i.e. working through the entire process (stages) to reach the final phase (conclusion).
[This root (tel-) means 'reaching the end (aim).' It is well-illustrated with the old pirate's telescope, unfolding (extending out) one stage at a time to function at full-strength (capacity effectiveness).]”
Abraham believed God. This belief resulted in him getting up the next morning, walking up that mountain, and laying his son on the altar.
I say I want great faith. I say I want to be a friend of God.
But do I want it that much?
Talk is cheap…