Summary: We want to give Jesus the credit for all the great stuff that we've been blessed to see and do for His Name. We always want to point to Jesus in everything that we say and do.
Faith matters to people. Every human being believes something. There is no such thing as a faithless person. Many people believe in themselves, or they place faith in government. Others maybe in a god, or gods, a lot of people put their faith in money, and many in science and theories. The point is that everyone has faith in something.
But there is something different about the faith of Abraham than what most people experience. There is something different about the faith of the Bible. There is a supernatural power that exists in the person who places their faith in Jesus. Paul said that this kind of faith begins when a person hears the "Good News" of Jesus. Jesus is the One we worship because our faith comes from Him and from His resurrection from the dead. And because Paul tells us that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that works in the life of a believer we know this is a supernatural faith. You can believe in the Big Bang Theory if you want to, but, a faith in a scientific theory won't give you eternal life. But, Jesus can give you eternal life. It's an awesome thing to know that there is supernatural power in an unwavering faith.
Paul writes about an Old Testament character that we've all heard of. Abraham was a man of faith. A man who had a supernatural kind of faith, and Paul brings up the example of Abraham for these important reasons we discover in Romans 4:20-25
His faith in God never wavered. "Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God." Romans 4:20
I have talked to many people who used to have faith in God but because of a tragic episode or event, that happened to them, or to someone they knew, they lost faith. They stopped believing. I don't know why for some an experience will drive them away from faith, while for others, a tragedy will drive them closer to faith. In November of 2001 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US, leading Church researcher George Barna published a survey. He begins the report by saying, "The terrorist attacks on September 11 certainly shattered the stability and comfort of American's lives, leading to a surge in church attendance and Bible sales immediately after the attacks."
According to the work of Barna Research a few months before the attack on the US 38% of Americans believed in an absolute moral truth. But a few months after the attack only 22% were convinced of an absolute moral truth. So even though the attacks drove people to church for a short time, in the end, this tragedy shook a core foundation of faith for millions of Americans.
Abraham obeyed God even when it meant moving his family to a place he had never been. He obeyed God even when he was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac. He obeyed God. His faith never wavered, as a matter of fact, Paul is careful to point out that Abraham's faith grew even stronger.
This is why James 1:1-5 says, "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do."
My question for you is do you, like Abraham, have a faith that can't be shaken? It's an awesome thing to know that there is supernatural power in an unwavering faith. Another reason Paul brings up the example of Abraham's faith is that
He knew God would keep His promises. "He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises" Romans 4:21. God promised Abraham a nation. Paul knew his readers would be familiar with the story of Abraham. I'm sure you've heard of the promises that God made to him. God promised Abraham land, a son, and a nation. One day God told Abraham to offer up his promised son as a sacrifice. Of course God didn't intend on the sacrifice to go through, that's why He stopped it, but, Abraham didn't know that. If Abraham questioned God, or argued with God, we don't know. What we do know is that Abraham got up early the next morning, made preparations to travel and to sacrifice his son as God requested.
Now, as God intended, this narrative of a father willing to offer his son to die as a sacrifice is forever in the Biblical narrative. Sound familiar? I'm sure that Abraham didn't have a clue how God was going to keep his promises. How could he know? But Abraham didn't question that promise even when he bundled Isaac on the sacrificial rocks.