World of Faith

What is Real Faith? – Part Five: The Rewards of Real Faith – The Blessing of Abraham | March 16, 2007

This week I am going to probably conclude this series on real faith in “World of Faith.” Next week I will likely begin my new series, “Changing Our Thinking,” where I will discuss the need for us to renew our minds. As I said last week, real faith demands that we live in the future, and see ourselves where God would have us down the road, rather in the present time. I’ll be starting in Romans 12, and also using real-life examples to supplement the Scriptures, in exploring this topic. I am not sure yet how long this series will last, but I imagine by May we’ll be in another series after that, most likely on the subject of leadership, but maybe something else.

Onto this week’s entry. Last week I discussed how to exercise our faith, which is required if we desire God to reward our faith. I went to the Master Teacher Himself, Jesus Christ, to explain this subject of exercising our faith. The Lord Jesus Christ said in Mark 11:22-24 (NKJV), “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” This passage shows that real faith is a declaration of one’s belief, and demands that we are bold and speak out what God shows us. That’s why Jesus says we must speak to the mountain. In fact, Jesus teaches us here by example we are to COMMAND the mountain to be removed. We also cannot doubt. Jesus exhorts us here that whatever we declare, believe it will be done for us, and thus we will “receive” it, and we in fact possess it. This is the same concept presented in 1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV), “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” Real faith produces an inner knowing, which is a confidence, or an assurance deep inside us that God will perform His Word. That’s how we know what His will is — by looking into the Word of God. Further, in 2 Cor. 18-20 (NKJV) says, “But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, by me, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For ALL the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” God only hears us when we pray according to His will. Many people teach that God answers prayer with “No,” sometimes. But there is no negative in God. He cannot answer a prayer according to His will with a “No.” He simply does not hear a prayer that is outside His will.

Then, last week, I spoke about how to increase our faith. Real faith is like a muscle. It must be exercised in order to be increased. Again, Jesus is the Master Teacher, and in response to the disciples asking Him how they can increase their faith, He said in Luke 17:6 (NKJV), “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Jesus compared our faith to a mustard seed. Mustard seeds are VERY small. However, only having such little faith, we can have a huge impact. That is how we increase our faith.

So, what should be the result of living a faith-filled life, as I have described, articulated, and characterized it the past four weeks? Well, the Scriptures are very clear that God rewards our faith. Hebrews 11:6 (NJKV) states, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Thus, real faith will believe that God exists, and that God rewards those who diligently seek after His ways. Psalm 103:1-2 exhorts us, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not His benefits.” So, this week, as we conclude our series, we will go back to what we started with — Abraham, the biblical role model for our faith as believers. The Bible discusses the “blessing of Abraham,” and I believe this is the reward for our faith. Paul writes about the blessing of Abraham in Gal. 3:13-14, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us – for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’ – in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” The first thing this passage teaches us is that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law. But what is that, exactly? The curse of the Law is set forth in Deut. 28:15-68. For the sake of time and space, I am not going to go through that passage, but I encourage you to read it on your own. However, Christ has redeemed each and every believer from all of that, because Christ became a curse on our behalf at the crucifixion, and procured for us the blessing of Abraham in the atonement. So what exactly IS the “blessing of Abraham” – ? Well, Deut. 28:1-14 lists the basic concepts of the blessing. Again, I encourage you to read that passage on your own. However, the blessing is also mentioned in Psalm 103:3-5, where the “benefits” of God are listed. This passage says, “Who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion; who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” God is the One who works all these things, and each of these benefits are effectuated by our faith in what Christ did for us on the cross at Calvary. The first thing Christ did for us is that he pardoned all our iniquities — our sins, and so forth. I think most Christians understand this concept, because it is so essential to our salvation.

But some of my readers may have difficulty with some of what I am about to discuss. The next thing this passage teaches us is that Christ died to “heal all our diseases.” I believe, with all my heart, that healing is provided for in the atonement, along with salvation. If you look carefully in Deut. 28, you will see that sickness, disease, and infirmity are basically considered aspects of the curse of the Law. Further, several New Testament passages indicate that Christ died to bring healing to sickness, disease, and infirmity. The first passage that suggests concerns the life of Jesus, and is found in Matthew 8:16-17, which states, “When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.’” This last quotation is taken directly from Isaiah 53:4, which states, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” If you look up in the original Hebrew the terms for “griefs” and “sorrows,” as they are used in Isaiah 53:4, these words actually mean “infirmities” and “sicknesses,” respectively. But the Gospel account in Matthew is not the only New Testament passage that teaches Christ died to bring healing to sickness, disease, and infirmity. Acts 10:38 says, “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Even James, who spoke much of faith, wrote in James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed; the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much.” So, these passages show that not only did Christ die for our sins, but for our sicknesses and infirmities as well.

The next “benefit” listed in Psalm 103 is that God “redeems our life from the pit.” This means that God delivers us from all oppression of the devil, and every bondage that we may face. This means that because of atonement, there is hope for the alcoholic and the drug addict that they can be delivered from their destruction. Then, the last benefit listed in Psalm 103 is that God “satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” Again, some of you are going to take issue with me for what I am about to say concerning this. However, I believe, again with all my heart, that here, the psalmist is speaking of financial and material blessing, i.e., prosperity. What IS a “good thing,” with which we can be satisfied with, according to the Scriptures? It is anything that brings blessing and prosperity to us. Should this be our motivation? No, it most definitely should not be our motivation, and I can cite Scriptures to explain that point. But, I do believe God desires to bless His children with “every good and perfect gift” that He has for us, and there are Scriptures that explain that point, as well. So, what about a financial or material blessing… could that be in the “blessing of Abraham,” which is the title of this week’s entry. Let’s look at a few Scriptures to consider this last point. First, 3 John 2 states, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” This is not a mere greeting, but is a promise that we can stand on in the Word of God. Proverbs 10:22 says, “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.” Deut. 33:15-16 further describes the blessing, “With the best things of the ancient mountains, with the precious things of the everlasting hills, with the precious things of the earth and its fullness, and the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush. Let the blessing come ‘on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.” Joseph was a type of Christ, and as we are Christ’s body, that blessing and inheritance is provided to us, materially and financially. Finally, Deut. 28:8 and 11-12 describes the blessing of Abraham, in terms of material blessing, as follows, “The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand… The Lord will grant you plenty of GOODS, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground… the Lord will open to you His good TREASURE, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand.” Thus, all these Scriptures show that the blessing of Abraham includes a financial/material element, in addition to providing for our salvation, healing, and deliverance, as well. Such is the benefit of living a life full of real faith, so that God can accomplish His purposes and be glorified.

I hope you have enjoyed this series on real faith. Barring further questions, next week I will begin the next series, “Changing Our Thinking.” See you then.

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