I have often said that faith is active belief and trust in God. In this important matter, there is a connection between belief and trust. Trust should be the result of what we believe. We can only trust someone whom we believe.
Abraham believed that God could make dead people alive again. But that belief was just an idea in Abrahamís mind until God told him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Sacrifices were usually animals that people killed in order to offer them to God. So when God told Abraham to offer Isaac, a belief in Abrahamís mind was not enough. Then Abraham had to trust God too Ė and he had to trust God completely. And that was faith.
In fact, God did not want Isaac to die. God wanted to see that Abraham was willing to give his son to him. So God provided a sheep for the sacrifice. And it was as if Abraham had received back Isaac from death.
Jesus often told parables (stories or word-pictures that had a double meaning). And this event in Abrahamís life was a different kind of parable. It was an event with a double meaning Ė and that second meaning was more important than the original event.
Abrahamís son Isaac did not die Ė but Godís Son Jesus really did die as a sacrifice. He gave his life to God so that God can forgive our sins (evil deeds). Isaac returned alive to his father, and that was proof of Abrahamís faith. Isaacís life after that event was evidence that Abraham had a right relationship with God.
The reality happened in the same manner as the parable. Jesus really did die; and he really became alive again. And that is the proof of the faith of all who trust him. He is alive; and so he makes their relationship with God complete (Hebrews 7:25).
Like Abraham, we must have the relationship with God that comes only by faith. Our hard work and human effort can never achieve it. It is Godís gift because of Christís death for us, and we can only receive that gift by faith. That is, we must believe God. And we must trust God, so that our faith is active in our lives.
Next part: The faith of Isaac (Hebrews 11:20)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.