I’ve been thinking about faith. Where does it come from? And Abraham believed God. How did his belief start? Did he just conjure it up from his mind? How does a person get faith? Does it come to me if I repeat enough times: I believe, I believe, I believe?
Thinking about how Abraham got faith, we can trace his life back to his younger years. The first recorded encounter Abraham had with God was recorded in Genesis 12:1. God told him to get out of his own country and go to a land He would show him. God told him that He would make of him a great nation and that He would bless him and make his name great. What was Abraham’s response? He left. He obeyed the Lord. He just trusted that God would take care of him and that He would show him where to go. And God did. God went with him, appeared to him along the way, and saw to it that he got to Canaan.
So what caused Abraham to trust the voice of God? To tell you the truth, if I were in his situation I’m not sure I would be so trusting. Abraham left the only home he knew. He didn’t know where he was going. And I’m not so sure he knew God that well. But I think one of the keys to our whole dilemma is obedience. I think God must have impressed on his mind that he was God and that he must obey Him. I think when he decided to obey God that is when God gave him the ability to believe—or we could call it the gift of faith; when he decided to obey God and trust Him, then God gave him the gift or the ability to do it.
Aha, but some of you are thinking, so Abraham really did it himself. He believed God himself when he decided to obey. Hence, it’s really up to us, not God.
Well, I can see that we have a part in the whole process, but don’t we really know that God does it all. All the way through, he does it. He calls us. He speaks to us. He convinces us. He molds our will. And He gives us the strength to believe and obey. The hard thing for me to understand is why some of us (most of us) don’t believe and obey—because it’s right there in front of us, being offered to us as a gift of His grace. What makes us not want it, not choose it? What evil has so corrupted the mind that we are unwilling to choose what is so appealing, so good?
“Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Rom 4:3). Wow! How does that happen? How does any person just believe and they are made righteous? Yes I know that we are saved through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus through the propitiation by His blood (Ro 3:24-25). But yet it is through our faith. So we are back where we started. Where did our faith come from? The only answer I can give is that God gave it to us because He loved us and He wanted to see us saved and made righteous. Faith is a miracle of His grace. It is the miracle seed that He offers to us, which if planted in the heart will begin the righteous life—eternal life. Then joyfully we live each day by faith—“from faith to faith” (Romans 1:17).