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Steps Of Faith

Scripture: Romans 4:1-12; Text: Romans 4:12

"And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised" (Romans 4:12).

I want to notice an expression which is found in the above text scripture. It describes the believers walk, as those "... who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham ..." With that thought in mind, we shall look at four steps of faith.

In the Bible there is a great deal said about our walk before God. Consider a few such references briefly: (1) In Micah 6:8 we read, "He hath shewed thee 0 man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?', (2) Of Enoch it was written, "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him" (Genesis 5:24), (3) In the New Testament Paul said, "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8), (4) In our final reference we go back to consider Abraham. "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect" (Genesis 17:1). As he endeavored to walk before God, Abraham walked with steps of faith, as Paul described him in the text. When Christians today are willing to walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7) they also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham.

walk of faith. This is important because if we imitate anyone completely, we will make the same mistakes and commit the same sins they do. Therefore we use the visible pattern of mortals, only so far as they obey the word of God. Many great saints of God had sins which marred the beauty of their lives. Peter denied the Lord three times, Thomas doubted and Paul persecuted the saints. For that reason he said, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). His admonition was simple, follow me only as long as I follow Jesus; but when I make a mistake and sin, don't follow me down that path. The same should be said with regard to the walk of Abraham. As long as he walked in obedience to God's will and used his faith in God's service, then follow his steps; but when he deceived others by passing off his wife as his sister (Genesis 12:13), then do not follow his path, for he had ceased to walk in the steps of faith.

The text is really teaching us to walk in the steps of faith as Abraham did. If we follow the man Abraham, we will walk in his folly as well as his faith. So, let us observe the steps of faith which made his life please God and then commit our lives to the same walk of faith. There are at least four different steps that Abraham took as he walked by faith in God. (1) Abraham left all for God, (2) Abraham left all with God, (3) Abraham found all he needed, in God, and (4) Abraham was willing to yield all to God. For our greater edification, let us now enlarge our study of these four steps of faith.

(1) Step one was taken when Abraham left all for God. That was a step of great faith and there are few who would be willing to do what Abraham did. Abraham had been reared in a paganistic society in Ur of the Chaldees (Genesis 11:31). After Abram (Abraham) reached manhood and married, God came to him with a command that was not easy to obey. "Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee" (Genesis 12:1). Abraham was told to leave his kindred and go into a land that God would select. He did not know where to go, only that he should go. He was not told how far, only that God would lead him there. He must have possessed great faith because he was willing to leave all the security he formerly enjoyed in his native land and journeyed to a distant and unfamiliar place. The New Testament confirms the faith of Abraham, saying, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whether he went" (Hebrews 11:8). I think all of us can agree, it took a great deal of faith, to leave all he had enjoyed and follow God? Yet it is that step of faith that we are to now imitate.

Through the ages, God has required some of His people to make great sacrifices. Others have had an easier path to follow; yet we must all be willing to leave everything for God, to prefer Him above every earthly possession. He may never require such a sacrifice of us, but many have been willing to sacrifice all on the altar of divine service. Peter was willing to leave his father and forsake their fishing business in order to follow Jesus. He said "... Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee" (Mark 10:28). Matthew gave up a good job when he followed Jesus. Luke 5:27-28 says, "And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and follow him." Levi and Matthew are the same person by two different names. He had one of the best paying jobs of his time, for he was a tax collector and most of them were rich. Nevertheless, he gave it all up to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul had a similar experience, being a man of wealth and authority; but he came to love Jesus more than all the material possessions which he owned and even more than life itself. This was his testimony, "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Philippians 3:8). Paul had been inspired of God to write about the steps of Abrahams faith and he walked in this same step of faith. All who are willing to take this step of faith, must be willing in their hearts and minds, to forsake all that keeps them from being a faithful and obedient servant of Jesus Christ. He said "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33).

(2) Step two was this, he was willing to leave all with God. He not only was willing to leave his earthly possessions in order to obey God, but he was also willing to leave all aspects of his life in the capable hands of a gracious God. His faith enabled him to trust in God's divine care and he relied upon God to provide his temporal needs. This can be seen as we examine the actions of Abraham as recorded in Genesis, chapter thirteen. As Abraham and his nephew Lot traveled under the leadership of God, they enjoyed the blessings of great prosperity. Their flocks and herds grew so large that the land was not adequate to sustain them. That caused the herdsmen of Abraham and Lot to become contentious. Because Abraham trusted God's care and provisions, he said to Lot, "Lo is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left" (Genesis 13:9). Abraham was telling Lot that a separation was necessary, but he gave Lot the right of choice. Whichever direction Lot wished to go, Abraham was content to go in the other. The scriptures which follow their separation tell us that Lot selected the fertile plains of Jordan which were well watered, and so Abraham took the less desirable land. What made Abraham willing for Lot to take all the "rich" land? The answer is obvious, he trusted all to God's good care and relied on God (not the land) to provide for his needs. His faith was not in vain because God blessed him richly in the years that followed.

May Abraham’s experience be a lesson for all of us who profess the name of Jesus. Let us take this step of faith which Abraham took, and commit our care and keeping to God. In every situation we should do the best we can, but then turn the matter over to God. Our faith will enable us to leave all the intricate details of life to the capable care of God. Sometimes during an illness we fret and become anxious, but by faith we can trust God to handle our problems. No matter what arouses the monster of fear in our hearts, our faith in God can bring a calm peace again. The psalmist said, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee" (Psalm 56:3). If we take this step of faith, it will not matter what we face, it will only matter that we face it with God's help. Isaiah said, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (Isaiah 26:3). There are many things which God has given us the ability to do for ourselves and we should attend to them. But in those times when we are not adequate for the task, faith in God will enable us to reach beyond self and take hold upon God as our help. Listen to the three Hebrew children as they faced such a situation. Their faithfulness to God had brought the decree of death upon them. They were given a final chance to bow down to the idol or be cast into the furnace of fire. They said "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, 0 King" (Daniel 3:17). Later in the chapter we discover that they were not disappointed, their faith in God was justified as He sent the presence of Jesus into the fiery furnace to preserve their lives. They left all with God and so can we, if we take this step of faith. Paul assures us that "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

(3) Step three was taken when Abraham found in God all he needed. Abraham had physical needs as saints have in every age. He needed food to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear and a place to live, but his faith enabled him to believe that all he needed, God was able to provide. Now that does not mean that we can sit idle and be lazy and expect God to feed and clothe us. From the beginning God ordained honest labor as a blessing and told Adam to dress and keep the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15). Work was instituted before sin entered into the world, so work is not a curse. In Proverbs, Solomon warns us that idleness will bring poverty (Proverbs 6:10-11). In the New Testament Paul declared "... that if any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Yet when we plant the crop, then faith enables us to trust that God will give a good harvest. We ought to do all we have the ability to perform, but then we can and must trust God to do what we cannot.

Notice that Abraham did exactly that in Genesis, chapter 15. "After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward" (Genesis 15:1). God was his shield for protection and at the same time God was his rewarder, who provided all blessings and benefits. He discovered that if he had God, he had all that he needed. When God was with Abraham, they always constituted a majority. Paul asked, "What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:31-32). By God's blessings, all our needs can be met; for only God can meet all the various needs of our lives. Only God can be ever present, to help and provide for us at all times and in all circumstances. The psalmist said, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). Have you discovered the truth of those words in your life? If not, let me remind you of Abraham’s faith.

Abraham's faith enabled him to find all he needed in God. In Genesis chapter fifteen, Abraham confessed that he had no son. But God was also able to supply that need. Though he was one-hundred years old and Sarah was ninety, God blessed Isaac to be born. God proved that He was all they needed, when He miraculously gave them a child. He is still able to meet every need of life. Paul said to us, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). His power has not diminished.

(4) Step four came when Abraham was willing to yield his all to God. Abraham loved God so deeply that it surpassed his love for everyone and everything else in life. Such profound love made him unwilling to withhold anything from God. Even his precious son of promise Isaac, would not be too much for God to ask. So when God said to Abraham, "... Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of" (Genesis 22:2); he obeyed! He took the boy and all provisions necessary for a sacrifice and journeyed to the appointed place. I can almost hear the thoughts of others, "Is there nothing he will not do for his God. Does he love God more than his own flesh and blood? What we need to remember is that his obedience to God was an act of love and faith. He loved God more than Isaac and his faith caused him to believe that after the sacrifice, God would raise Isaac to life again. Listen to Hebrews 11:17 & 19, "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: ... Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead ...."

All of us should exercise our faith and manifest our love to God in the same way. If we do, we will also become willing to yield our all to God. Everything we are and have, we will want to use for His glory. We should count nothing as our own, even our life belongs to God and should be used to glorify Him. "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Are you willing to yield your all to God and lay all on the altar of service, to obey His commands? The Bible teaches us to give our money to support God's worship. Since it is to be given proportionate to His blessings, I understand that we are to tithe. Paul puts it this way, "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come" (1 Corinthians 16:2). If every child of God did this, the church would never need to take another "special collection.” The above scripture also teach us that God requires part of our time. We are to worship Him on the “first day of the week,” which is Sunday. By giving our time in the service of God, we become living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). But we are not likely to be willing to give either our money or time, until we have given our hearts to love God. He speaks to us through Proverbs 23:26, saying, "My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways." If we give our hearts to love God, we will be willing to give our lives in obedience to His will. Remember that Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). Love moved early saints to serve God "And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God" (2 Corinthians 8:5). Like those Macedonian saints, may we be willing to give ourselves to God, without reservations; then all we have will be used for His glory. When we become willing to yield all to God, He may not require it of us. He did not require Abraham to offer Isaac on the altar. What really counts is that we be willing to yield all to God; then He can and will use it for His glory, as He allows us to use it for our good. If we take this step of faith with Abraham, we will experience the blessings promised in Matthew 6:33. Jesus said, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you." What a loving and gracious God we serve.

In conclusion, let us recognize the fact that God has given faith to everyone of His elect who has been born again. The Holy Spirit produces faith within us (Galatians 5:22), but it is our responsibility to use it. If we want to please God and live a life that glorifies Christ, we must exercise our faith in our daily walk. Like our muscles, the more faith is used, the stronger it becomes. Therefore, I encourage you to use you faith frequently to obey God, as did Abraham. As we achieve this level of spiritual living, we will also have the peace and joy that blessed Abraham in his walk with God. Let us pray for grace that we may “walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham.”

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This page last updated on June 7, 2014