Faith, Part 3

Salvation Bible Basics

The third kind of faith is dynamic faith. It is illustrated in the life of Abraham in James 2:21‑24, ‘Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.’  Let me quickly run through this and try to explain what James is talking about here.

In Genesis chapter twelve, we see Abraham being called by God to leave his country to go to a land that God will show him. God also promised that his descendants would be more than the sands of the sea. Abraham obeyed God. Several years later in Genesis chapter fifteen, God spoke to Abraham again. God had promised to give him children, and he had none yet at this point. But again God promised Abraham that he was going to have many descendants, and ultimately the Saviour, the One who would die for the sins of the world would come from his lineage. Through the Messiah, Abraham would become a blessing to all families of the earth. This incident in chapter 15 takes place some thirteen years after chapter twelve.

The Bible says in Genesis 15:6, ‘And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. That word counted is a bookkeeping term. It means the same as the word imputed which we read in James, and that word accounted that we read in the book of Romans. A bookkeeper has a ledger sheet that shows how much money is owed. These amounts are on the debit side, the minus side. When money is received, then this amount is put on the credit side, and added in to balance out the minus amount.

Spiritually, we are on the minus side. When we go to God, He imputes His righteousness to us. It is in essence like adding a positive figure to balance the books, so we don’t owe anymore. When Abraham believed God, when he put his faith in God’s promise, it was at that moment that Abraham was counted righteous by God.