One of the key teachings in Christianity is that salvation is a result of our faith in Christ and what He has done on the cross, not our ability to obey and follow God (Rom 3:21-22, 4:24-25, Eph 2:8-9). It’s referred to as the doctrine of ‘justification’. However the life of a Christian is bombarded with challenges and situations that can test our faith, that can rock our assurance in what Christ has done and will do for us. So how do we ensure that we stand up against the doubt that will come our way? How do we allow the assurance of our salvation to remain firmly rooted in our hearts?
The answer is to give glory to God no matter what life throws at us. Does that mean when shocking things occur we give glory to God? No, we don’t give God glory for sinful things or situations as a result of sin. Rather we give God glory by trusting in Him despite the shocking and awful things that happen. This illustrates that we know God has things in control, that He is working in all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28). This will highlight to others that our faith is grounded in who God is and what He has done in Jesus and not what life’s circumstances delivers.
In Romans 4, we learn how Abraham’s faith was credited to his righteousness. In other words, as Abraham chose to trust in God, God considered him righteous. Abraham trusted in God’s ability to deliver him to the promised land, to father a child despite his aging body. He didn’t trust in his ability to follow God but in God’s ability to be faithful and deliver. As I was reading chapter 5 I noticed a word in verse 20 that holds a key to how we can allow our faith to grow in God.
Romans 4:20-21 “unbelief made him (Abraham) waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”
Any ideas what that word is? “As”. Abraham grew in faith as he gave glory to God. Time of unbelief lead him to waver occasionally from God’s direction for him, however, ultimately His faith and obedience matured as he chose to trust in God to give Him the glory no matter the reasons for doubt in his life. Abraham was convinced that no matter what happened God would deliver on His promises.
I think this is a key way in how God works in our life. He just doesn’t role out the red carpet for us… how would that make us grow? We just don’t automatically grow in our joy and love for Him and then become obedient. God wants to develop our faith, to mature it. That only comes by first trusting in Him, by obeying His direction no matter how we may feel, in first choosing to give Him the glory. As we do that God will nurture our faith in Him, building the joy and love that will inevitably develop.
What a blessing it is to be able to trust in Jesus, to rest in the fact that no matter what happens in our life that we are eternally safe in Gods hands as we continue to trust in Him. We will all stumble at times, but as we choose to trust in Him, to repent and trust in what Jesus has done for us, to trust that God is working in all things for the good of those who love Him, our assurance in our salvation and faith in God will grow… And God will get the glory. Amen!!!