“but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised” (Romans 4:12)

As I was studying Romans 4:12 the other day I was struck by the consideration of “the steps of the faith of our father Abraham.” Paul’s point in the argument of Romans here is to make clear that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness prior to the receiving of circumcision (a work). But I had to ask what did the steps of Abraham’s faith look like?

He did not boast about His faith. Abraham never seem to be a man who boasted about having faith. He never went out and said, “Hey, look at me I am a follower of God.” Ironically, when Abraham did interact with those outside his immediate circle, he was at times prone to lie to them (bout His wife). He never went around telling everyone, “Hey, you would never believe the promises that God has made to me.” He seems to have just been an ordinary man whom God saw fit to bless.

His faith was “wordless.” What I mean by wordless is that Abraham did not describe his faith to others. I don’t seem to recall Abraham going around and talking to people about God’s sovereignty or His immutability or His kindness or any other attribute. I should note, however, that Christians today are called to defend “sound doctrine,” which calls for the use of words (see 1 Tim. 6:3, 2 Tim. 1:13  and Titus 2)

His faith was “living.” I chose the word living to highlight the use of Abraham in James 2 as an example of someone who did not have “dead” faith. You see Abraham’s faith was primarily reflected in his actions and conversations with God. God calls Abraham out Haran, Abraham goes (Gen 12). God tells him He will have a son, he believes and continues trying to have a son, although with his wife’s maidservant (Gen 15-16). God tells him to circumcise every male as a sign of the covanent, he does it (Gen. 17). God tells Abraham of His intent to wipe out Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham calls on God to demonstrate His righteousness by preserving the righteous (Gen. 18-19). God calls Abraham to sacrifice his son, Abraham goes and tries to do it (Gen 22). Abraham’s faith was demonstrate through the life that he lived, thus it was a living faith. A faith that evidenced itself deeds and not merely words.

Let this be a fresh reminder to all of us who claim to believe in Jesus Christ. Does our faith demonstrate itself through our actions? Or just in our words? We talk about a sovereign God, but do we act as though He is sovereign? We say he is omniscient, but do we live as though He knows every thought and deed we have done, are doing, and will yet do? We say he is righteous and just, yet do we live as though the sins we commit will be rightly judged? We say that there is forgiveness with Him and that our sins have been forgiven, but do we act like we have been forgiven?

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