“Would you do anything God asked you to do?” I asked a teen who happened to be at my house during Bible time.
He grinned, then joked, “I wouldn’t do anything like Abraham did because I’m not as crazy as he is.”
We all laughed, but I dared disagree with his youthful joke.
Go figure—the Father of faith obeyed when God told him to take his only son and sacrifice him on the altar. We know the full story, how God stopped him at the testing point and told him to offer a lamb, instead.
Abraham didn’t know how the end would turn out, yet he obeyed.
The entire universe grapples with God in a quest for his grace without his Lordship. Sometimes God asks hard things of us—really, really hard things—and it is entirely more convenient to do what seems fun, then beg God to help us when life gets rough.
But back to Abraham. He could only say yes to that order because He knew the character of God. Complete faith in Who God is led Abraham to complete obedience to God’s commands.
Cheap grace calls people to claim Christ verbally without a change of lifestyle. Non-Christians look on and see the mockery of it all. Satan himself looks on and laughs.
“You believe that God is one, you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?” (James 2:20, ESV)
Abraham understood that he could not claim God while refusing to obey God. The Father of faith had an understanding of real grace, that the Lord of the universe is interested in a relationship with us that changes us.
Truly walking with God means he is with you. He cannot be with you without affecting you in every possible way. You can believe He exists and claim that as your salvation, but scripture teaches that demons do the same thing.
Your kind of faith has to be an intimate relationship with His presence rather than head knowledge of His existence. The Presence changes everything.
This is not some die hard, works based religion. Never! Religion suffocates a soul, and good works will never redeem your soul. But a relationship based on trust so sweet, personal, and deep that it will permeate your soul and cause it to change because that’s the only thing the presence of Christ can do—this is the faith God is looking for.
Like a caterpillar resting in its chrysalis, your soul will merge into sanctification when it knows the presence of Jesus Christ. In Christ, you can both rest and grow. It seems contradictory, but Kingdom ways are often opposed to human reasoning.
Nothing else will ever do Christ the credit He deserves. How could we think it possible for someone to know Him without being changed by Him?
Obedience can only happen when we see that God’s no always leads to His better yes. The character of God is all goodness; therefore, He can only ask good of us.
Abraham knew, as he trudged the mountain side with his only son, that God was all goodness. Though told to offer Isaac, Abraham told Isaac that God would provide a lamb for the offering. Abraham’s faith simply knew that all would turn out well.
Still, God tested him to the point of a drawn blade raised over his son’s heart. Abraham was still pushing through in obedience when the Spirit of God said, “Enough.”
In your situation, God knows exactly when to say, “Enough.” You can trust Him to come through with a better yes.
God was not depriving Abraham of his only son; He was inviting him to be the father of many nations through faith.
See this again—God’s no is never deprivation, but always an invitation to a better yes.
“Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness, and he was called a friend of God.” (James 2: 23, ESV)