The message given by elder and guest speaker Barry Bruff at Baruch HaShem Messianic Synagogue www.baruchhashem.com this past Shabbat got me thinking deeper about the explanations of faith found in Hebrews C11 and James C2. It’s been a while since I really just sat back and soaked in the messages from those two amazing chapters of Scripture. One could make a case for Hebrews 11 and James 2 as being two of the greatest expositions and summaries of Biblical faith in the Scriptures.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Last week’s Torah portion was Lekh L’kha (Go forth) from Genesis 12:1-17:27. This portion of Scripture told of Abram’s (later Abraham) being called out by God and Abraham trusting in God’s revelation of the Gospel (Gen 12:3,Gal 3:8), promised child (Gen 15:4-5), promised land (Gen 15:18-20) and eternal covenant sign of circumcision (Gen 17:9-13). It is in this portion of Scripture that we are told that Abraham believed in God and God credited Abraham’s belief as righteousness (Gen 15:6).
Why was Abraham’s faith counted as righteousness? Hebrews 11 states that Abraham regarded the One who made the promises as trustworthy…….looking forward…….and welcoming them from a distance. Abraham had hope and confidence that the promises of God would be realized in due time.
It is also in this portion that Paul forms the basis of his theology in respect to being saved by Grace through Faith in Messiah Yeshua’s atoning work on the cross that has secured our salvation and position in God’s family. Abraham is Paul’s prime example of how God declares people righteous which is on the basis of real faith. Abraham had real faith which then led to faith’s natural by-product which is real action.
James 2:20-23 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.
Hebrews 11 states that by trust both Abraham (11:8) and Moses (11:28) obeyed God. For by faith, comes true obedience.
These two things cannot be confused or separated out from each other or we get an incomplete picture of faith. Abraham trusted in God’s word and believed in His promises which led to him acting on those beliefs as evidenced in the text. Abraham’s example shows that true faith is not just something you say or consent to but it’s also something you do according to God’s will being led by the Holy Spirit.
As disciples of Yeshua, our actions are a reflection of the faith we have in our Master. I pray for a greater hope and conviction in His promises for my life and the greater body of Messiah.
May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the matchless name of Yeshua the Messiah!