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Faith of Abraham

Faith of Abraham

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Published by glennpease

"Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." —

Romans 4 : 3.

"Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." —

Romans 4 : 3.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 12, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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FAITH OF ABRAHAMBY WILLARD PRESTO, D,D."Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him forrighteousness." — Romans 4 : 3.o term, to a Christian audience, is more familiar ;no doctrine, to any of our race, more important ; andfew subjects, to most real Christians, less distinctlyand definitely understood, than faith. Scarcely a sub- ject, however, in the whole circle of revealed truths,has been more frequently or extensively discussed,either in sermons from the pulpit, or volumes fromthe press. " The controversy," said a late eminentdivine, " began in the days of the Apostles, and hascontinued ever since ;" this alone shows the high im-portance which is attached to it, in the great schemeof salvation, by all who profess to believe that Godhas revealed such a scheme. Beside, what can bemore deeply interesting to mankind, than the sinner's justification before God? Unless justified, no one of our race can be saved.It is a happy circumstance that an experimentalacquaintance with Divine truth does not depend onSERMO XVIII. 311unerringly correct views ; that the power of a savingfaith may be felt, even though not understood in allits bearings and relations. For multitudes enjoy theformer, who have neither the ability, nor the opportu-nity, nor the means for the latter. For this was thecondition of all the saints of old. " They," says the
Apostle, "having obtained a good report throughfaith, received not the promise ; God having providedsome better thing for us, that they without us shouldnot be made perfect." They had the promises, we seetheir accomplishment. And where can we find exam-ples of a more powerful, unwavering, self-sacrificingfaith, than among them ? Read the long catalogue,as furnished in the eleventh of the Hebrews, and weneed search no farther. They have never been sur-passed for the power of faith, even since the clearerlight of the Gospel dispensation. o better method,therefore, can be pursued, in order to ascertain whatthat faith is, by which the sinner is justified, than byselecting some prominent Scripture example, in whichit was best manifested and illustrated. Such an ex-ample must necessarily embrace all the essential cha-racteristics of faith, having received the direct testi-mony of God himself. Such an example is that of Abraham. He so eminently exemplified that faithwhich is the great fundamental principle of humansalvation, that he is styled the " Father of all themthat believe." And on this very account he is re-peatedly referred to in the Scriptures. Him we have312 SERMO XVIII.selected as furnishing the most striking and instruc-tive example of justifying, saving faith, which ourworld ever beheld. " Abraham believed God, and it"(that is, his faith) " was counted unto him for righteous-ness." What, then, was that faith which Abrahamexercised ? For what his faith was, in all essentialrespects, evangelical, saving faith now is. " Know,therefore," saj^s Paul, " that they which are of faith,are the children of Abraham." What, then, were thecharacteristics of Abraham's faith ? And I remark,1. Implicit belief in the naked word of God. It
was to him enough that God made his will known, tocommand his entire confidence. The proof of this isseen in his whole history, by which he obtained thedistinguished appellation of the " father of all themthat believe." One of the most striking instances othis is recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Genesis,often referred to by the Apostle Paul. It respectedan heir and a numerous posterity, under the most un-promising, and to human appearances, impossible cir-cumstances. As the Apostle expresses it, " Whoagainst hope, believed in hope." There is not a hintof incredulity ; rather, as Paul adds, " He staggerednot at the promise of God through unbelief; but wasstrong in faith, giving glory to God ; being fully per-suaded that what God had promised, he was able alsoto perform. And, therefore, it was imputed to himfor righteousness. ow, it was not written for hissake alone, that it was imputed to him ; but for us,SERMO XVIII. 313also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe onhim that raised up Jesus, our Lord, from the dead."He knew it was God who spake, in whom he hadentire confidence. And he believed in the Lord, andit was counted unto him for righteousness.2. Abraham unhesitatingly obeyed God. This pointis no less evident and striking from his whole history,than his implicit and unwavering belief in God's word.Indeed, his obedience necessarily resulted from hisfaith. There are, however, two most remarkable in-stances of his obedience, which should be recalled,though familiar to you all. The first is thus stated :" By faith, Abraham, when he was called to go outinto a place which he should after receive for an in-heritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowingwhither he went." The original command is recorded

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