From Trust to Faith
“And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore ‘it was imputed to him for righteousness.’ ” Romans 4:19-22
“His trust did not waver when he considered his own body — which was as good as dead, since he was about a hundred years old — or when he considered that Sarah’s womb was dead too. He did not by lack of trust decide against God’s promises. On the contrary, by trust he was given power as he gave glory to God, for he was fully convinced that what God had promised he could also accomplish. This is why it was credited to his account as righteousness. Romans 4:19-22 The Complete Jewish Bible
When studying the Scriptures it is a great blessing and privilege to be able to consider various translations because slightly more expanded understanding can be gained from the subtle differences in the use of language between them. The Complete Jewish Bible translation of this passage is such an example.
This phrase in particular jumped out at me. “He did not by lack of trust decide against God’s promises. On the contrary, by trust he was given power as he gave glory to God,” Romans 4:20
When we don’t trust someone’s word it’s virtually impossible to put our faith in them. So, instead of believing what they say, we doubt them and choose against their word precisely because we don’t trust them. But when we trust someone, we don’t hesitate to take them at their word with no further proof than that they said it.
A lack of faith says I don’t trust you. If I don’t trust you how can I believe what you say?
This is the real squeak point of failing to act on faith. Abraham acted on faith because He believed what God had said to Him. And He believed what God said to Him because He trusted God.
“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” Genesis 15:1-6
Up to this point God had lead Abraham and his family (including Lot and his family and servants and all his goods) from Ur to Haran and now from Haran to Bethel to Egypt briefly and now back to Bethel. In the mean time their substance of people and livestock and all manner of goods and material things increased so much so that there was about to be a civil war between Lot’s people and Abram’s people over the resources of the land, so Abram gives Lot the choice of choosing where they would go to separate from one another to prevent strife. Lot chose the fertile plain and Abraham chose the land of Canaan.
When Abram was finally fully separated from his family as God had told him to do before they left Haran, God said to Abram that all the land he could see from the north, south east and west He would give to him and his descendants after him forever. Then He told him, his descendants would be as numerous as the dust of the ground. If a man could count the dust then he would know the number that his descendant would be.
So Abram moved his tent to Mamre and their he built and altar to the Lord.
In time the kings in those regions went to war against the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the course of the war Lot and his family and all his possessions were taken captive. When Abram heard of it he mustered and army among His 300 plus servants and they went after those who had captured his nephew Lot and his family and rescued them. In doing so he also defeated all their captors, sending them retreating in every direction.
Now by all reasonable assessment Abram’s servant army should have been no match for the armies of the nations that came against the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, but Abram had evidently made a promise to God that if He would favor him, when he rescued his nephew that he would not receive any reward from these kings but give the glory to God.
“And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.” Genesis 14:21-24
Abram trusted God because God had shown Himself to be worthy of his trust. He had led him and his family through hostile nations on the way to the place that He would show them. He had given him many goods including servants and slaves from the Pharaoh of Egypt, and He gave him the victory over the Kings who warred with the King of Sodom, and allowed him to rescue his nephew.
So when God comes to him and promises him that he will have descendants as numerous as the dust of the ground and his seed as the stars in the heavens, it was not shocking or implausible to him. Rather, he was “fully convinced that what God had promised he could also accomplish.”
“By trust he was given power as he gave glory to God.”
The power that Abram possessed was his faith, and his faith was his ability to act on what he believed. Now our faith also has power, and the source of that power is the knowledge of God. What we know of God we know by faith in His Word. Our salvation, our healing, our eternal life has come to us by faith in the name of Jesus.
We are saved by grace through faith in the name of Jesus. The name of Jesus is the sum of all the work of salvation He did for us: His life, His, teaching, the miracles, signs and wonders He performed; raising the dead, feeding the 5000 and the 4000, delivering those possessed with demons, restoring sight to the blind, making the lame to walk, the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak, his suffering on the cross, His death, His burial and is resurrection and most importantly the glory of God. All these are signified in the name of Jesus.
Our faith is based on our trust in the Lord.
“And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” Psalm 9:10
What we know of HIs Word we can believe because He is not a man that He should lie. [Numbers 23:19] What we believe of His Word we can act on by faith because we trust Him. We have faith in Him because we trust Him.