Genesis 15:6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
This short verse is one of the foundation stones of the entire Bible. Paul goes on about it at some length in Romans 4, and it is the basic concept that sparked the Protestant Reformation. The theme of the readings at this point is God’s Provision, but we receive that provision fully only by faith. After all, that most important of God’s provisions, salvation through His Son, seems completely absurd to the strictly “rational” mind. It’s certainly not something we can work for, much less create, and then hold in our hand. God, being perfectly righteous and holy, cannot put up with sin, so He provided the perfect atonement for sin through the cross of Christ, and gave us faith as the as the means of receiving that atonement. There’s a Southern Gospel song that says, “Prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door.” We can go through the motions and say the right words, but if we don’t repent and believe, we don’t receive salvation. Abram believed God, and that made all the difference.
Naturally, this applies just as much to me as it does to anyone else. My relationship with faith is rather atypical, because I grew up in a home that was saturated with faith and the Bible, but all of that was effective in my life only to the degree that it became personal. We have a record of my proclaiming my love for Jesus when I was around five, and I was baptized by my own choice and decision at seven, and I had intermittent times of experiencing the Presence of the Lord throughout my childhood and youth, but I still descended into pride and presumption, not loving Jesus enough to obey Him in all the decisions of my life. (John 14:15) It was not until He tapped me on the shoulder and, when I turned, showed me a mirror to see the the state of my soul, that I came to the repentance that really allowed me to believe. (Mark 1:15) Life since then has been quite an adventure as He has taught me to believe and trust Him, and that process is hardly through yet. My life now is dedicated to sharing God’s truth with others so that they too may repent and believe, receiving God’s righteousness and salvation and everything else. I am far from perfect at the task, but my focus is to be on Him rather than on myself, because He never gets it wrong no matter how badly I mess up, and He has told me to rest, relax, and rejoice in Him
Father, at times I feel like I’m in a continuation of Hebrews 11, where at the end of the long list of people of faith it says, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.” (Hebrews 11:39) Help me maintain full trust in You, regardless of what the world around me is doing, so that Your will may be done in and through me on Your schedule, regardless of whether I see the fruit in this life or not. Thank You. Praise God!