Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Examining Faith

In Genesis 15, a short verse (oft repeated) simply states, "Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness." (NIV)

Yet, skip a verse and Abram needs assurance once again!

"But Abram said, 'O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?'"

Abram asked a lot of questions - he reasoned with God a lot, too.

What do you think it means that Abram was "credited with righteousness"?

Do you think this is a significant revelation?


Kansas Bob said...

I think that it is significant because it says that a right relationship with God isn't all about doing right thing but in believing in what He says.

It is contrary to most man made religion that says that it is ll about doing the right things.

Of course, if you believe what He says then you will (generally speaking) do the right things :)

Lynne said...

To me it's a challenge to our pre-digested definitions of faith. I guess I live in an environment where the legalisms are less behavioural (don't do ..) and more to do with having the right opinions on doctrines that are really theological nit-picking.

To me Abram is a pretty powerful picture of a guy who had all the doubts and questions that most of us wrestle with but instead of piously covering them up he threw tham back into God's lap with the expectation that God did have answers (a bit like Habakkuk, actually) It's faith as committed relationship, not just a set of intellectual opinions

Another Voice said...

Yes, Bob, I totally see that, too. Abram seems to have a relationship with God and believes God will do what He says - even if he can't understand how or why.

Another Voice said...

Lynne, that form of legalism can easily seduce me.

Abram truly can't imagine how God will accomplish what He says - and he's not afraid to ask. And God answers all of his questions, just as he seems to expect. That is incredible to me.

What do you mean by, "It's faith as committed relationship..."??

Lynne said...

What do I mean by "faith as committed relationship"?

To mean that means my faith is posited in someONE, rather than someTHING. I don't ultimately put my trust in my doctrinal understanding (which is fallible), nor that a certain set of actions will get me a particular response from God (if you do X you will be blessed)nor in a religious system. My faith has to be in God Himself, that even though He doesn't seem to meet any of my expectations in the short term, He is my God, His character is utterly dependable, and faith means sometimes just doing what he says in spite of the consequences.

does that make it any clearer?

Another Voice said...

Absolutely clear, Lynne! I'm glad you spelled that out for me - it seems like a very important thing for me (anyone) to know and remember.

I find it interesting that you and Bob both reflect on this with two similar thoughts:

1) Abram's relationship with God

2) The outcome of this type of relationship will usually be obedience - not out of fear or sense of duty, but total belief and trust in God.