v 6 Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.
You will, almost for sure, come across people who say something like this:
‘Of course I believe in God – there MUST be a God somewhere surely!’ That however is quite different from what is said here of Abraham. This is much more fundamental. ‘Abram believed the Lord’ – that is, he took God at His word, believed God’s promises, and acted on them. It was not some kind of intellectual stance; it was a life-shaping and demanding one. Now, as some of you know, I am a Mathematician; I believe Pythagoras Theorem – and I can in fact prove it to be true. But that belief did not prevent me on one occasion from buying a splendid cabinet that was just tall enough to stand upright in our kitchen. However, it had to go through the door into the kitchen on its side, so when we tried to stand it upright – yes, you’ve got it – the diagonal was too long and it was never going to be upended! The penny dropped immediately; there is this guy Pythagoras who set out a theorem …. Of course, I knew and sincerely believed the theorem, but had failed to think about it in practice. Believing God is to give practical, daily assent to what He requires. God has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus, His purposes for life have been revealed, and faith is taking God at His word and setting out to follow Him in the practical details of life.
But here is the rub, like all human beings we find that we fall short of 100% obedience to that standard. It is just at this point that faith – practical trust – in God’s stated plan to forgive us and make things right between us comes into play. God’s amazing plan is to forgive failing people and restore the relationship between Creator and his created beings when they affirm their trust and hope in God’s Son Jesus. It is this practical, life-shaping Faith that is the vehicle for God’s promise to eradicate our guilt and declare us to be righteous in His eyes. This is what Abraham experienced, and it is also at the heart of the New Testament message – righteous because of faith.