Men of the Bible Series - Abraham (James 2:23) – PART 2
James 2:21-23, Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Abraham's life illustrates the truth that faith and works go together. Abraham believed God and it was his faith alone that made him righteous. Genuine faith lays everything on the line for the LORD. Abraham believed God and his faith was evident in the offering of his only son. Abraham’s faith said, 'I believe God! I trust God with my life, my children, my future, my reputation.’ And God tested him. Adrian Rogers said, “A faith that cannot be tested, cannot be trusted.” It was clearly the faith of Abraham that led him to do the works that he did. Abraham was not saved when he offered Isaac, but this act showed his faith. God pronounced that Abraham was justified and saved thirty years before Abraham offered up his only son Isaac. James declares that when Abraham offered up Isaac, he was proving his faith. The reason Abraham offered up Isaac was because he did believe God. Therefore, he did what God said. If a person believes Christ, he does what Christ says; he follows Christ. Something is lacking in a profession of faith that has no practice to it. We prove that we believe God when we practice His principles, obey His orders, and walk in His ways.
Genesis 15:6, And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. The word counted means "to reckon, impute, or to place in someone else's account." Abraham was spiritually bankrupt, but his faith in the Lord entitled him to receive God's righteousness that was imputed to his spiritual account before God. The same holds true for us. Our sins were placed in Christ's account for Him to pay and His righteousness was imputed to our spiritual account when we were saved. Like Abraham, we are justified by faith in Christ. Justification is the act of God where He declares the believing sinner righteous on the basis of Christ's finished work on the cross. Justification is an act of God, not a means of the believer's own actions. Justification is not something the sinner does, it is what God does for us when we trust in His son Jesus for our salvation.
No amount of works can make us righteous and it is only faith in Jesus that can cleanse us from our sin. His faith affected his mind, his emotions, and his will. Neither Abraham, nor any other person, can attain the favor of God through the works of the flesh. The only righteousness God will accept is the imputed righteousness of Christ, and that upon the principle of faith only! Romans 4:3, For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Paul quotes Romans 4:3 to show that Abraham was saved by faith and not by works. Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. There is no contradiction between what Paul is saying and what James is saying. James is not contradicting Paul in James 2:21. The key is James 2:23, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Abraham’s right relationship with God did not come from “observing the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28), but through faith and actions working together in love. His willingness to sacrifice his own son, Isaac, was an expression of his faith in and commitment to God (Genesis 15:6; 22:1).
Abraham believed God and Abraham was called the friend of God. Abraham had an intimate relationship with God; he believed God and walked in fellowship with God, following and living for God. When we have true genuine faith in Jesus Christ, we are friends of God. When we were lost, we were dead in our trespasses and sins and we were at enmity with God. When we trusted Jesus Christ, He forgave us and brought us into the family of God. We are now friends of God! Abraham’s friendship was tested by his willingness to give God what he loved most, his only son Isaac (Genesis 22:12).
There are three characteristics to be a good friend.
1. A friend loves at all time (Proverbs 17:17)
2. A friend sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24)
3. A friend is willing to lay down his life for his friend (John 15:13)
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, help me to develop a deeper trust in You. Thank You for Your Word that is faithful and true. May I do what gives You pleasure and glorifies Your Name. Thank You for sending Your only begotten Son Jesus, for I have been forgiven of all my sins. Help me to stand firm in Your Word, steadfast in Your Work, and sincere in my walk with You. May my life demonstrate my love for You until that glorious day when You call me home with You to Heaven. In Jesus Name, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.