What is Faith?

By: Thomas E. Brewton

It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. (Romans 4:13)

Rev. Josh Hanson preached Sunday’s sermon at Black Rock-Long Ridge Congregational Church (North Stamford, Connecticut).

Using the familiar story of Noah building the ark, Rev. Hanson emphasized that “Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” (Genesis 6:22) This is why Genesis 6:9 states that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.”

Secular scholars, seeking to disprove the Bible, point out that the story of Noah and the flood is just one of several similar epics recorded in the ancient world. There is, however, one significantly different detail in the Biblical account of Noah: the exact dimensions of the ark given by God to Noah. Other flood epics, notably the Gilgamesh epic of the same Mesopotamian area, describe the boats as being cubical, that is of equal height, width, and depth. Boat builders will tell you that such a craft does not float well and is very likely to capsize.

In contrast, the proportions given in Genesis are exactly the proper ones for a seaworthy, stable vessel:

“This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.” (Genesis 6:15)

Moreover, a boat of this size is huge, far larger than most of us imagine. Each deck is one and a half times the size of a football field. With its three decks, a very large number of animals and people could have been accommodated.

The scriptures do not record that Noah argued with God. Because of his faith in God, he simply followed God’s commandments.

The Apostle Paul hammers home the message that it is through faith, not works, that we come to justification with God through Jesus Christ. Neither our own efforts, talents, power, or money, nor the collectivized political state of the liberal-progressive religion is sufficient for salvation.

Faith is not something like “the force” in “Star Wars” to be captured by the Jeddi as a means to gain objects or powers of their desire. Nor is it any of the accidental circumstances of our lives Ð wealth, position, personal talent Ð that lead us to think that our blessings are of our own making.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

“By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose arkhitect and builder is God.

“By faith Abraham, even though he was past ageÑand Sarah herself was barrenÑwas enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better countryÑa heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.” (Hebrews 11:1-19)

We must be like the patriarchs of old. We must listen in our hearts and consciences for God’s commands and have the faith to follow them.

Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

His weblog is THE VIEW FROM 1776

Email comments to viewfrom1776@thomasbrewton.com

About The Author Thomas E. Brewton:
Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

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