Righteous Faith

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And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.”  But the word of the LORD came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.”  He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”  And he believed the LORD; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:3-6 NRS).


Abram is confronted with a promise that would not be considered possible had it not come from God.  Even faced with an impossible promise, Abram believes God, and because of this, he is reckoned to be righteous by God.  Righteous faith is that which, while surrounded by the looming darkness of reality, is willing to see the light of promise and believe that which is otherwise impossible.


(Image courtesy of bible-history.com)

Like parting of the Red Sea, God’s faithful are asked to walk through the dark waters of uncertainly with the looming threat of failure.  Those walls of water could have caved in at any moment.  It was God alone that held the waters back from God’s people as they journeyed to the other side.  Maybe they could see a glimmer of light at the end.  That promise that there was somewhere else waiting for them.  As Christians, we are called to hear God’s promise, the promise of Jesus Christ that faith will have its fulfillment at the Resurrection.  The picture Christ’s words paint is filled with times of trial, darkness, threat and peril, but there is also hope.  We hold on to that hope as we traverse this life and use it as a source of strength for all the threats the world throws at us for our belief in that which it calls unfounded.

When you believe what God has promised to God’s faithful, and you believe without any cause to do so, you have righteous faith as Abram did.  Some Christians ask for proof.  They search for holy grails, lost arks, hidden tombs.  They desire relics, mysterious shrouds, and tangible evidence of miracles.  All this at the urging of the world.  Abram had no children and a barren wife.  He had no reason to believe what God promised to him other than God telling him so.  It was not the plausibility of the promise but the strength of the one who gave it.  If God were to tell you that tomorrow the world would be upside down, despite the scientific challenges, would you believe because it was God who told you?  How about God promising that God would always be with you, never forsake you?  Or what about Jesus promising that despite all the trouble one undertakes in being a disciple, that the reward for faith is greater than we can possibly imagine?  Which is hardest to believe?  Which one is the hardest to live?

To believe in spite of the world, despite the critics, despite our own concerns is righteousness.  There is no greater praise of God than to believe his word without question, even when there is cause.  To say to God before all the world, “I do not need proof.  I desire no evidence of likelihood.  I hear and I believe,” is our testimony to God’s omnipotence.  Righteous faith rebels against the demands of scientific proof, historical evidence, and rationalness when they question the validity of God and God’s promises.  Yet righteous faith does not stand in need of vindication.  It is pleased to simply stand in the presence of God.

Prayer:
God of Promise and Deliverance,
Your word is the ground upon which your faithful stand.
There is no greater source of strength.
While the world looks on with a critical eye,
May we have the faith which Abram had.
May we hear and believe,
Simply because it is you, O Lord, who speaks.
We desire to be righteous before you.
We want to possess righteous faith.
Help us to turn aside from the impulse to question you.
Instead, may we live as people of the promise.
Strengthened by the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
All else is sinking sand.
Glory to you and your holy word!
Amen.

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