What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, has found?…
I. ABRAHAM WAS A MAN OF FAITH.
1. His faith was not —
(1) Assent to a creed;
(2) Nor an intelligent conviction of any plan of salvation to be accomplished centuries later in the sacrifice of Christ.
2. It was a grand, simple trust in God. It was shown in —
(1) His forsaking the idols of his forefathers and worshipping the one spiritual God.
(2) In his leaving home and going he knew not whither in obedience to a Divine voice.
(3) In his willingness to sacrifice his son.
(4) In his hope of a future inheritance.
3. Such a faith is personal reliance, leading to obedience and encouraged by hopeful anticipation.
4. This faith is a model faith for us. For faith is to rely upon Christ, to be loyal to Christ, to hope in Christ, and to accept the fuller revelations of truth which Christ opens up to us as Abraham accepted the Divine voices vouchsafed to him. The contents of faith wilt vary according to our light; but the spirit of it must be always the same.
II. HIS FAITH WAS RECKONED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. The special point in Abraham's character was not his holiness, but his faith. God's favour flowed to him through this channel. It was the way through which he, imperfect and sinful as are all the sons of Adam, was called to the privileged place of a righteous man. This is recorded of him in the sacred history (Genesis 15:6), and therefore should be admitted by all Jews. The reasons for our relying on faith are —
1. Historical. Faith justified Abraham, therefore it will justify us.
2. Theological. Faith brings us into living fellowship with God, and so opens our hearts to receive the forgiveness that puts us in the position of righteous men.
3. Moral. Faith is the security for the future growth of righteousness; with the first effort of faith the first seed grace of righteousness is sown.
III. PARTICIPATION IN ABRAHAM'S FAITH IS THE CONDITION OF PARTICIPATION IN ABRAHAM'S BLESSING. The Jews claimed this by birthright, but Abraham had it by faith. Only men of faith could have it. Therefore Jews who lost faith lost the blessing. But all men of faith are spiritual sons of Abraham (ver. 12). The finest legacy left by the patriarch was his faith.
(H. F. Adeney, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?