Faith Only

We all would love, one day, to get to Heaven and hear God say, “Good job, my faithful one.” So how does that happen? What do we need to do to hear those words? Abraham is a prime example of faith and deeds working in their proper order! Only by faith can we get to Heaven, not by works; the Word is clear on that. We can’t work ourselves into heaven but works happen when we have faith.

Abraham took God at His word. He was a man of great faith and great deeds. Scripture is abundantly clear that no one can work their way into Heaven, but the Bible does testify that works are a natural byproduct of genuine faith. One example of Abraham’s faith being put to the test came in Genesis 14 after he won a great battle against several neighboring kingdoms. After claiming victory and leading a reconnaissance effort to retrieve his nephew Lot from captivity, Abram met a king and priest named Melchizedek who blessed him and lavished upon him a great feast. What was Abram’s response to God’s kindness and grace coming through this divine encounter with Melchizedek? In an act of gratitude and acknowledgment of God’s blessings, Abram gives Melchizedek a tenth of everything, setting a precedent for the concept of tithing in biblical history (Genesis 14:20). Was the tithe, which means a tenth, the reason for God blessing Abraham’s household? No, the tithe was an outcome of his faith in God!

Faith precedes obedience. Faith also produces obedience. Abraham’s faith created in him the desire to honor God! When we put our trust in God through His Son Jesus, it creates a desire to do God’s will! Good works are the outcome of faith, not the other way around! Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” We all desire to do good things and live a blessed life, but faith without works is dead—it’s nonexistent. Through faith in Jesus, our sins can be forgiven and the righteousness of God can be credited to our account.

2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Romans 4:22-24
This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness if we believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

When Abraham was asked by God to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice, he did just that. But, at the last minute, God stopped him and gave him a ram to put on the altar as an alternative. Was God’s blessing to Abraham nullified as a result? No! Abraham was blessed richly because he trusted God even when it meant giving up his son!

Sacrifice isn’t easy. If we’re completely honest, most of us struggle with tithing. God is clear that if we give, He will bless! No one can not out give God. Tithing is a spiritual discipline deeply rooted in Scripture. In fact, the Old Testament lays a strong foundation for the importance of tithing. Deuteronomy 14:22 says “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.” Leviticus 27:30 declares, “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” Finally, Malachi 3:10 writes “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’”

Is it the tithe that blesses you? No. The tithe is the outward demonstration of our faith! Our faith and tithe, working together, bring blessings! Without faith and a commitment to God’s Word, we would never bring the tithe. Our faith and tithe working together bring blessings. Without faith, our good works are empty vessels.

We can’t work our way to Heaven, but when we put our trust in Jesus, we become righteous in God’s sight. With God directing us through the Holy Spirit, God instills in us the desire to do good works. God does it all! He gave us His Son and He provides the means so we can do good works. Even in a simple tithe, He provided the money so we, like Abraham, can be blessed and be partakers in the Kingdom of Heaven. But it starts with faith!

Steve Thomas