Action! Or sometimes not…

“the righteousness of the faith”

Romans 4:11



We’ve been studying Abraham in the Book of Romans the past few weeks.  Paul is speaking to Jews, so he is using Abraham, their patriarch, as an example for them. 

The misconception that Paul was working to dispel was the belief that there is something that you must do to achieve righteousness, like circumcision, or other acts or works that are signs of one’s faith.  Paul quotes Genesis 15:6 says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 

I love that verse.  I love the assurance of ~ as a friend of mine puts it ~ “Believe and Receive”.  There is nothing we need to do to earn salvation.  We only have to believe that He is Lord. 

But once you believe, and once that faith is accounted to you for righteousness, well then, yes, there are what are generally called “works”.  Signs of your faith.  James says in chapter 4 of his epistle, that by works, faith is made perfect, and that faith without works is dead. 

Now, what those works look like is important to consider.  As we saw with Abraham, circumcision was an act, an outward sign of his faith in God.  James writes about Rahab protecting the spies (see Joshua chapter 2) and about serving “a brother or sister naked and destitute of daily food”.  Good works ~ signs of our faith ~ can be acts of love toward another, worship toward God, or sacrifice on our parts.

And I got to thinking about the stark contrast between Abraham’s evidence of faith, in regards to two different issues with his son Isaac.  The first was after God promised Abraham that Isaac would be born.  The second was after God asked Abraham to sacrifice that promised son, Isaac.  Abraham’s actions were quite different in those two scenarios.  Obedience was called for in contrasting ways. 

In the case of “sacrificing” Isaac {I put that in quotes because of course, Abraham was not asked to follow through with that}, Abraham did what was needed to perform a sacrifice, including travel, bringing wood, etc.  Then he built an altar and bound his son and placed him on that altar.  All actions of faith.

But years before that, when Abraham had received the promise that he would have a son, Abraham’s obedience had called for…. nothing.  Quiet faith.  The “Be still and know that I am God” sort of faith.   Nothing to do but wait on God’s timing.

Keeping busy in your faith, or waiting patiently for Lord… which one are you better at?  And which one’s harder for you?  Both of them are faith in action.


~ “walk in the steps of the faith

which our Father Abraham had” ~

Romans 4:12


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