1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?
2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
3 For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
7 “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS ARE FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS ARE COVERED;
8 BLESSED IS THE MAN TO WHOM THE LORD SHALL NOT IMPUTE SIN.”
9 Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.
10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.
11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also,
12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.
13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect,
15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 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
17 (as it is written, “I HAVE MADE YOU A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.”
19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.
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.”
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him,
24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,
25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.
With God, believing is the principle thing, the thing upon which the ability to do anything that could adequately represent Him exists. Out of Abraham’s belief came a life of commitment to God’s will that confirmed something that already existed in his heart. Nothing he would do out of that righteousness in his heart could ever be a requirement for that reality, and yet it became a very essential confirmation of its authenticity. If Abraham at any point would have just told God that he believed in Him, but really didn’t want to take the knife to his parts, his disobedience would have disqualified his belief. If he had chosen to use wisdom with regard to his precious son, Isaac, claiming that his belief was enough and that driving a knife into his heart was irresponsible and going too far, there could have been no experience of the promise that only comes as a result of belief-confirming obedience. If he had failed to honor with the tenth of the spoils, out of a heart of belief in the God from whom all His blessings flowed, and before this was even given as a pattern, might he have never experienced an ongoing relationship with a God that requires total belief?
While there is nothing that we can do take the place of believing, there will surely come multiple opportunities to confirm the belief that is anchored in the heart. Thankfully Jesus has taken any guilt or punishment that our sins require, but what He provided that is so much more significant is a heart of belief. For everyone who has believed in Jesus, both before and after the cross, there has been a requirement of significant cutting away that will either confirm that belief with its obedience or disqualify it with its reliance upon another belief. Jesus said that whoever fails to take up his cross and follow Him is not worthy of Him. Matthew 10:38
Abraham is such a great faith model for us. He was strong in faith, he did not look at the scene realm, He did not waver, he glorified and praised God, and he was fully convinced that what God said He would do He would do!