Summary: “Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you…So Abram went, as the LORD had told him”. (Gen. 12:1-3a)
Our theme for today is “stepping out in faith” Faith “is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Christian faith believes God and acts on His word and His promises. It is a substance or reality, even though we have not yet seen it, because God is true to His word and cannot lie. Faith is often misunderstood and some people have taught that you can meet your own desires by claiming it by faith. Some years ago, it was common practice to hear believers claiming what belonged to others and hoping to receive it by faith. In today’s world, many people have more faith in self and the world than faith in God. This is in sharp contrast to what prevailed in the Garden of Eden before the fall of Adam. At that time Adam trusted and totally depended on God. This changed when Adam chose to obey the devil rather than God. Instead of belief and dependence on God, he chose unbelief and independence from God. Faith in God is the way back to God and stepping out in faith is to restore our belief and dependence on God.
Step One: Stepping out in Faith
a) Hear the word of God
When Adam yielded to sin, he lost God’s image and likeness and all of us have inherited Adams sinful nature for in Adam “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Faith is our way back to God and “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. (Romans 10:17)
b) Believe the word of God
The word of God must be heard before it can be believed and every believer has the responsibility to share it. God’s word, when believed in the heart, has the power to change a person for “out of the heart are the issues of life”. (Pr. 4:23)
c) Obey the word of God
The word of God is spirit and life and results in life when believers obey the word of God. Many believers want to obey the word of God only in some specific areas of their lives and not in every area of their lives. The level of our belief determines the level of our obedience.
Abram, before he was called Abraham, stepped out in faith when God called him to leave his home in Ur of the Chaldees. Abram belonged to a rich family of idol worshippers when God called him. God told him to leave everything and everyone and go to a place that He, God, would show him. There God told him “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.” (Gen. 12:20). Abram did not know where he was going but believed God and stepped out in faith in obedience to God’s Word. The call of God will always require a separation. In Abram’s case, it was a separation from his family and past life. Abram obeyed but not completely. He took his father Terah and his nephew Lot with him. It was only after the death of his father Terah and separation from his nephew Lot that Abram was able to enter into the promised blessings. Abraham grew in faith till he believed God completely and yielded every area of his life to Him in total obedience. At this time he was ready to obey God and offer up his long awaited and beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice to God.
God reveals His love in everything He does and says. His call to faith is a call of love to bless us and make us a blessing.
Step Two: Salvation by grace through faith
a) The forgiveness of sin
Our salvation is proof of God’s love. It does not depend on anything we have done but on what Christ has done for “By grace are we saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God”. (Eph. 2:8) Christ shed His blood to pay the wages of sin for the forgiveness of sin. He endued the full judgement of God on sin to the end when He cried out “it is finished”.
b) The justification of the believer
Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and raised from the dead on the third day for the justification of every believer. Justified means just-as-if we had never sinned and without a sin nature the believer becomes a partaker of God’s divine nature.
c) The renewal of the mind
Man is a spirit; he possesses a soul and lives in a body. When a person believes in Christ he is justified and receives a new spirit where the Holy Spirit comes to live. His soul, his thinking, emotions and his will need to be renewed to act in accordance with the word of God.