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Trust and Obey

James 2:23-24
And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. (NIVUK)

God tested Abraham, right down to the wire, to see if he was willing to sacrifice his most treasured son, Isaac. As Genesis 22:1-19 reveals, God never wanted the boy Isaac to be harmed, but wanted to see if Abraham would be obedient. Would Abraham want to obey God even more than to keep God's blessing? God was not callous in asking for this sacrifice; He wanted to see whether Abraham's faith was in what he could see and was precious to him, or in the word of the invisible God (Hebrews 11:6). In the end, God provided a substitute sacrifice (a picture of how Jesus would be the substitute sacrifice for us).

We can never get everything right, but the most important thing is to trust that God is right, about everything (especially about our sinfulness and our need of Jesus as our Saviour - www.crosscheck.org.uk) - and do what He tells us in the Bible. Some people are not interested in being in the right with God: they do not care if He is pleased or angry with them. Others would like to be at peace with Him, but are unwilling to do what He says (Luke 6:46). But God comes close to those who have the sort of faith in Jesus that is also willing to be obedient (Titus 2:11-14). God makes them right with Himself and calls them His friends.

Righteousness comes to us as a gift from God when we trust the Lord, especially regarding the sacrifice of His Son Jesus. We can never earn righteousness, or boast that it is to our credit (Ephesians 2:8-9), but God imputes righteousness to us. He makes us His children and fits us for His presence when we receive Jesus (John 1:12). When we believe in Him, we receive God's gift of being 'in the right' with Him (Romans 3:21-26). Abraham looked forward to receiving what God has promised (Romans 4:20-25).

Perhaps it is time to review your faith. Is it your way of looking good in church, or is it a part of your spiritual DNA, controlling every day at work and home as well? Do you behave differently at church and at work? If so, that indicates that you may agree with God in your head but are not willing to take the necessary action because you are not wholehearted in your faith. Or is your Christian faith so authentic that others want to trust the Jesus who has captivated your heart and lifestyle? That is how it should be, so why not ask for God's help to be like that?

Lord God. Thank You for imputing Your righteousness to all who have an obedient faith in Jesus. I repent of the times when I have wanted Your blessing more than I have wanted a dynamic relationship with You. Please forgive me for living as a hypocrite. I need to live a lifestyle that is consistent with my faith. That is what I want, so please help me by Your Holy Spirit to trust as I welcome Your Word, so that I may obey. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams