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The Rev. David Holloway: “Biblical Faith” (Romans 4)

April 26, 2008

From the good people of Jesmond Parish Church in the United Kingdom, here is a sermon on Biblical Faith by the Rev. David Holloway. (This sermon can be listened to here.) Rev. Holloway bases his message on Romans 4 and he has some interesting thoughts about what is Biblical faith:

Look at verses 16-17:

“Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: ‘I have made you a father of many nations.’ He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed – the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.”

What is biblical faith? It is trustful commitment and reliance, first, on God’s promise that we can now be at peace with him through the Cross of Christ; and then for everything else. And the fundamental belief in God is that, verse 17 …

“he gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.”

It is belief in the life-giving God of resurrecting and creative power. Is that the God you believe in? If you do, you should want to trust him and then obey him like Abraham did. Look now at verses 18-19:

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.”

All was against Abraham. Things seemed impossible. Making, and after making, his mistakes, “against all hope, Abraham in hope believed.” This was not fanaticism because God had made the promises. It was not Abraham’s wishful thinking. So often God will ask you to trust him for what seems impossible. But if God, and not your own silly hunch, is behind your call, you must trust God, even for the impossible.

The promise of salvation through Christ is certainly not your own silly hunch; of that you can be sure. So trust God for that. And God’s specific call to action, like leaving Ur of the Chaldees or its modern equivalent, may start off seeming impossible, then difficult, then, remarkably, it is done. But how do you keep your faith in God strong and not waver? Look at verses 20-22:

“Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”

This is so important. First, Abraham “gave glory to God”. He praised God. And as you praise God for his life-giving resurrecting and creative power, faith is strengthened. That is why music and corporate praise is so important, so long as it is directing you to the God of Abraham “who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.”

Secondly, Abraham was “fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” Music and praise is no good if your mind is not engaged. You need to be fully persuaded intellectually of God’s love and faithfulness and righteousness and power. Certainly down the tracks you will never take those risky stands for God or make sacrifices unless you are convinced in your mind. Your mind matters. Faith is rational. You, like Abraham, need to be fully persuaded. Well, that is saving faith. It is rational commitment. You can know God loves you because Christ died for you to bear your sin. He, therefore, wants the best for you. And you can know he has that resurrecting and creative power because he raised Jesus from the dead. So trust him, and make a start this morning even, or especially, if you have never done so before.

I must conclude. I do so by reading verses 23-25:

“The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness – for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

Try the rest of the sermon and see what you think–particularly where Rev. Holloway talks about God justifying the wicked, using Abraham as an example.

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