The true pattern of faith
"Who through faith…obtained
promises" (Heb. 11:33). The foregoing
verse tells us that faith is the medium through which the promises of God are
claimed. With this thought in mind, we are going to consider the man who is
called "The father of faith" (Rom. 4:11-16). Of course, that man is
Abraham and he was counted as one that inherited the promise.
Abraham’s life represents the true
pattern for inheriting the promises of God. He is a prototype (a pattern) to
the children of faith. His walk will show us how we too can inherit the
promises and blessing. It says of Abraham: "And so, after he had
patiently endured, he obtained the promise" (Heb 6:15). How many
promises are left unclaimed because of a failure to allow the word of promise
to test us?
In today’s Christian society there
is a certain pervading mentality that has come to be known as "easy
get-ism" – no cost, no investment, no price to be paid. Just claim it,
it’s yours! We suddenly have a generation that can jump from Egypt into the
Promised Land without the testing of the wilderness. That is scarcely the
pattern that we find in Holy Scripture.
Until faith becomes sight
And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the
promise. Yes, we can legitimately say that we are called to inherit a
blessing through Abraham. We could quote Galatians 3:14 and say; "Abraham’s
blessings are mine." Theoretically we are called, but what we often
overlook is that there are certain conditions that must be satisfied before we
receive that promise. Jesus said, "For many are called, but few are
chosen" (Mat 22:14).
What does that mean: many are
called, but few are chosen? That simply means that to be called is one
thing, and to be qualified is something else. The prophet Isaiah declared that
we are qualified in the furnace of affliction. In other words, we are
qualified via the trial of our faith. "Behold, I have refined thee,
but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction" (Isa.
48:10). Being chosen is associated with passing the test.
Walking in the faithful steps
Israel could claim to be heirs of
father Abraham physically but spiritually their lives did not measure up to
that of faithful Abraham. Israel had very little spiritual fruit, and their
lives bore little resemblance to Abraham’s. That is why John the Baptist
said, "God is able of these stones to raise up seed to Abraham"
(Matt. 3:19). Abraham is the spiritual father of those who follow in his
"And the father of circumcision
to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the
steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet
uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was
not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness
of faith" (Rom. 4:12-13).
The promise to Abraham concerned his
seed – whose seed we are if we walk in the faithful steps
of Abraham. This is what is called "the righteousness of
faith." Abraham not only believed, but he walked out what God said. He
activated his faith through obedience.
Called, chosen and faithful
Abraham’s life is an example of one
who was called, chosen and found faithful. We shall consider these three
aspects of the Christian journey throughout this commentary. Just being called
and chosen is not enough, it is the end of the race that counts! Many do not
finish the race – they are not faithful until the end. The prerequisite for
reigning with Christ in the millennium is found in Revelation 17:14:
"These shall make war with the
Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of
kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."
The life of Abraham helps us (the
church) to put life into the right perspective. Abraham caught a glimpse of
something eternal, and that vision consumed his whole life. It says of
Abraham: "For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose
builder and maker is God" (Heb 11:10).
The city that Abraham saw afar off was
not an earthly one, it was an heavenly one, and it was comprised of his own
spiritual offspring. He knew that the real Kingdom was the heavenly one, even
though many of the promises concerned the physical realm as well. (The
realities of the physical promises are to be realized in the millennium). But
as for his sojourn upon earth, he was destined to be a stranger and a pilgrim,
setting a precedent for the spiritual offspring who were to follow. (See Heb.
11:13 and 1 Pet. 2:11.)
The greater promises to be fulfilled
by Abraham’s seed
The full scope of the promises given
to Abraham was only received in token measure. This is stated clearly in
Hebrews 11:13: "These all died in faith,
not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were
persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers
and pilgrims on the earth"
We are also told in Hebrews 11:39-40:
"And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not
the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without
us should not be made perfect."
Our spiritual fathers saw these things
from a distance. They were convinced of their validity, they lived their lives
in the light of that vision, and it was accounted unto them as though they had
attained! However, it is through the church that the vision will be completed:
"…They without us should not be made perfect." It is
through the means of the church that the vision shall be consummated! In fact,
the Master himself substantiated the point when He said: "Greater
works than these shall he do…." It is the glorious latter day
church that shall complete the acts of faith and they shall incorporate the
city that Abraham saw from a distance!
It is with this final thought in mind
that I have penned this little commentary: that through the spiritual lessons
demonstrated through the steps of faithful Abraham, we too might be recipients
of those promises and enter into the things that Father Abraham saw from a
And we desire that every one of you do
show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be
not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the