Sunday, April 08, 2012

Well Done Abram?

Did God say "Well Done!" to
Abram in Gen 15:6?

I really don't know how the concept of "faith" got to be so messed up.  To me it appears to have started being perverted immediately after the Church which is His Body came into existence. We read letters like Romans and Galatians and they make it clear that people had tried to pervert the Gospel of the Christ while Paul was still alive and ministering. We read in 2Tim 4 that all except Luke had abandoned Paul.

Along with the subject of whether God gives a few chosen people saving faith or not there is an idea that someone having faith is something "good." This is what we will be discussing today.

Normally I would go to Rom 4:16 to show that faith cannot be something "good" it cannot be meritorious because then salvation could not have been by grace and through faith. Paul says that it had to be through faith so that it COULD be by grace, or unmerited favour.
Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 
In this verse we see that our salvation is like Abram's salvation. In this way he is the father of all of us who are saved by grace through faith. To me this verse is clear enough. Faith cannot be something "good" or something that "merits favour" because Paul says that salvation had to be of faith so that it could be by unmerited favour. This isn't proof-texting, because Paul is making a statement of fact here. However, let's continue because this is not clear enough for everyone.

Romans 4 intrinsically links how ungodly sinners are justified before God, and reconciled to Him to the experience of Abram in Gen 15:6.
And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
We read in Rom 4:20-22:

20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
It is because Abram was assured that God therefore accounted him righteous. What does "accounted" mean?

In the Greek it is the word Logizmai and in the Hebrew it is Chashab. Both of them mean to consider, or impute, a characteristic on someone or something. It means to look upon someone AS THOUGH they were what you are considering them to be.

God did not RECOGNIZE righteousness in Abram, He RECKONED Abram AS THOUGH he was righteous. God did not say "Well done Abram! You believed Me, and that was good to do!" God didn't look at Abram's faith as something that needed to be rewarded. Abram believed God, and yet God YET EVEN STILL had to RECKON Abram as though he were righteous. Abram was not yet righteous, he was only reckoned so.

As a further point; with regard to regeneration prior to faith as a means of God giving people faith because unregenerate people are "totally depraved" or so utterly evil that they cannot believe consider what Paul says in Rom 4:22.
22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Abram was not first made good enough to believe through Regeneration. Abram believed and yet even still had to be merely accounted as righteous.

The word therefore in Rom 4:22 in Greek is Dio and means "on account of." Further if we read Gen 15:1-6 we do not find God inserting faith into Abram but God reasoning with him.

Clearly it was on account of Abram's faith that God called him righteous. Clearly, as Paul puts it in Rom 4:1-8 God justifies ungodly sinners on account of our faith in Him. That faith is nothing more that the reasonable assurance of God's promise. It doesn't consist of anything, it doesn't do any thing, it is reception not offering. Faith is not "good" or meritorious.

It is the one who disbelieves that is "doing" something, or taking action, that demands a type of reward. Rom 1:18-32.

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