Believing God October 1, 2013

This is the fifth in a series of extracts from “A glorious High Throne”, a readable Bible commentary on Hebrews and is Ch. 41 of the original book. The series will cover the whole of Hebrews 11, the great New Testament chapter on the subject of faith. Here is a quote from this chapter;

Abraham did indeed believe God, ‘concluding that God was able to raise [Isaac] up, even from the dead’ (11:19). The word ‘conclude’ means ‘reckon (as on a fact)’ and is related to our English word ‘logic’. When the bombshell struck, and Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Isaac, his faith was immediately engaged. But he also wrestled mentally with the huge problem that confronted him and reached a clear conclusion — that God could and would raise the slain Isaac from the dead.

This is an important point because faith is so often viewed, even by Christians, as the negation of reason or logic. But, as we saw earlier (see comment on 11:3) there is neither conflict nor valid comparison between faith and reason, for they are quite different kinds of faculty. Faith provides spiritual information to which we can and should apply our rational minds.

It is both right and proper, then, that we should reason on the basis of what faith reveals. This is exactly what Abraham did. He asked himself how it was possible to reconcile the death of Isaac with the promise of God. One possible answer was that God had withdrawn the promise or changed his mind about it. But that could not be, for faith knows that ‘the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable’ (Rom. 11:29). What was the alternative? That God would demonstrate his acceptance of the sacrifice of Isaac by raising him from the dead!