Heroes of Faith: 5 Vital Lessons from the Life of Abraham

Abraham is one of the most popular spiritual giants in the Bible. He is known to be the father of the faithful (Romans 4:11) and the friend of God (Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23). His life is so significant that Abraham has been mentioned more times in the New Testament than anyone in the Old Testament. His story covers a good portion of the book of Genesis. To this day, his impact is so big that three of the major religions today consider him as a significant religious figure.

It won’t take a lot of thinking before anyone can realize that we can learn important lessons from the life of Abraham. His life is filled with so many accomplishments and failures that we should not fail to take note of. With these in mind, let us explore the life of Abraham and inculcate in our minds the vital lessons we must learn.

Lesson no. 1: Be willing to give up everything for God

Abraham is called the father of the faithful for good reasons. When God calls him to leave his homeland, the land where he grew up and where his family is, he immediately “went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).

The test of his faith did not stop there. God asks him to offer his only begotten son. Can you imagine the torment, doubt, and fear that could have raced behind Abraham’s mind? If you are a father, will you have the strength and courage to put your beloved son on an altar, kill him, burn him, and offer him to God?


God will never leave us empty. If He asks us to put something down, it is because He wants us to pick something better.


 

Abraham is also a human, however, his faith is bigger than his doubts because he strongly believed that God is able to raise Isaac up, even from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). Abraham is fully convinced that what God had promised He is also able to perform.

This is the type of faith that makes Christians unstoppable.

Abraham has the faith that there is a reason behind everything that God asks him to do. His faith is so strong that he is willing to give up EVERYTHING for God.

Abraham made a decision to give not just 50%, 70%, 80%, or 90% of his life but he decided to give 100% of his life to God. Abraham is ready to leave behind everything familiar to him. Even his own son, he is willing to offer to God.

The faith of Abraham is so impressive that Paul devoted a good portion of the Faith Chapter to Abraham.

Like Abraham, we must have the willingness to devote our whole life and being to God. And do you know the best thing about surrendering everything to God?

God will never leave us empty. If He asks us to put something down, it is because He wants us to pick something better. We may not always understand why God commands us to do something, but we can be 100% sure that it is for our own good (Psalms 84:11).

Lesson no. 2: Even spiritual giants are still humans

There is no doubt that Abraham’s faith is among the strongest in the Bible. However, as strong as his faith might have been, he is still human, subject to frailties and weaknesses.

Abraham and Sarah were already old and they still didn’t have a son. This was a big issue in their life and was considered to be shameful in their culture. Since Abraham didn’t have a child, he had no proper heir for all his properties.

When all hopes seem to fade, God promised Abraham and Sarah that they will have a son in their old age (Genesis 12:1-2, 13:16, 17:6). This promise has been mentioned to Abraham multiple times and Abraham believed God.

Nevertheless, the fulfillment of the promise is not immediate. It took about 25 years before it was fulfilled. Because of this, Abraham and Sarah grew impatient and Sarah gave her handmaid, Hagar, to Abraham. Hagar eventually got pregnant and had a son named, Ishmael.

This fatal mistake of Abraham had caused division within his family. When Isaac finally was born to Sarah, Ishmael and his mother were driven out from their place. Ishmael eventually became the father of the Arab nation, while Isaac became the father of the English-speaking nations and the Jews. This explains why Arab nations and the Western nations can’t find a common ground to sustain long-lasting peace. (If you want to learn more about the history of Abraham’s descendant, make sure to request your free copy of The Middle East in Bible Prophecy.

After the death of Sarah, Abraham took concubines (Genesis 25:6), which is something that God does not approve. As expected, if you break the Law of God, if will break you. Abraham will soon suffer the consequences of his sinful actions.

Although we can see that Abraham is not perfect, he is still considered as a friend of God. We can find comfort from his life that though we may commit mistakes and sin, God is always faithful to forgive us as long as we repent and change our ways.

Lesson no. 3: Tithing leads to physical blessings

Did you know that the first mention of tithing is found in Genesis 13:20? It is the time after Abraham defeated possibly four kings to rescue his nephew, Lot. After defeating these kings, he gathered many spoils and gave a tithe to Melchizedek, who later became Jesus Christ (Hebrews 5:6-7).

This automatically dispels the wrong assumption that tithing is only commanded to the Israelites since the Israelites haven’t existed yet during the time of Abraham. The truth is that God commanded His people, both in the past and today, to give tithes and offering. This is a big topic so please request your free copy of What does the Bible Teach About Tithing?

Because of Abraham’s obedience in the law of tithing and to the law of God as a whole, he was blessed and increased by God (Isaiah 51:2). He became a “mighty prince” (Genesis 23:6) and “very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold” (Genesis 13:2).

Needless to say, tithing opens a floodgate of blessings. We can read in Malachi 3:10-12:

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
says the LORD of hosts;
12 “And all nations will call you blessed,
For you will be a delightful land,”
SAYS THE LORD OF HOSTS.

Lesson no. 4: Faith is both believing and doing

The Apostle Paul said, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28). On the other hand, James said, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).

Did Paul and James contradict each other? A deep look at these passages will tell us that they did not. As a matter of fact, Paul and James were complementing each other. They were in agreement. Both Paul and James used Abraham to explain their point.

Abraham both believed God but did not just let that belief remain in his mind. He acted upon his belief. Paul and James included in their letter that “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3 and James 2:23).


Abraham showed us that no one can earn salvation and it is equally true that salvation cannot be earned without works.


 

The point of Paul is that no amount of work can earn us salvation. Most of the Jews in Paul’s time are so self-righteous that they trusted on their work. They thought that their tradition and law-keeping will make them right with God. This is the kind of thinking that Paul wants to correct.

Looking at the statement of James, he is dealing with Christians who have the “intellectual” faith. They are Christians who have the gift of God’s knowledge and yet, that knowledge is never translated in their lives. They have faith but they lack action.

Faith is demonstrated through action. Believing is one thing but acting on that belief is completely different.

Abraham exemplified what true and living faith is. Abraham’s belief in God behooves him to act upon his belief. Abraham has faith and how would God know if he really has faith? Through his actions. Faith is both belief in God and doing his commandments.

Abraham showed us that no one can earn salvation and it is equally true that salvation cannot be earned without works.

Lesson no. 5: When making a decision, think generationally

Abraham is a man of decision. Whether we like it or not, we are all presented with different choices. Some are minor, while others are really significant. The story of Abraham showed us that every action leads to another. This is importantly true in Abraham’s life and it is certainly true in our life today.

Abraham made a decision that did not just affect his life but also the life of other people. The effects of his decision did not just affect his immediate lifetime but also down through the history of man.

The decision of Abraham to take into his own hands the fulfillment of God’s promise caused a tremendously negative effect. One decision led to the creation of the different modern nations today. Because of his decision to obtain a son from Hagar, he started a domino effect that run through the ages. We now have that ripple effect of seeing the Middle East as a powder keg of strife and war. His descendants are always in conflict because of the family feud that had started with Ishmael and Isaac thousands of years ago.

The story of Abraham and his descendants show us that the decision we make can potentially affect everything around us. For this reason, before we commit a sin, we must also remember that sin can put a toll on us in a personal and national level.

So many times we have seen people suffer not because of their own actions but because of the sin of other people. Sin can affect the person doing it and the people around him. In Abraham’s case, his sin of adultery affected not just himself but also his family and descendants.

So before making a decision or committing a sin, think about how it can affect not just yourself but also your loved ones. Think in a generational scale.

Conclusion

Abraham is known to be the father of the faithful. Whether you are a Jew or gentile, an Israelite or non-Israelite, you are part of Abraham’s seed (Galatians 3:29) when you accept Jesus’ sacrifice and follow God’s commandments.

Therefore, it is important for us to think about the life of Abraham. Learn the lessons from his life and like faith, let these lessons be evident in your life through righteous deeds and actions.

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3 thoughts on “Heroes of Faith: 5 Vital Lessons from the Life of Abraham

  1. What a thorough and insightful article, Joshua! Thank you for the prayer, thought, and time you put into writing it. I always appreciate your sound, thoughtful writing. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: 12 Vital Lessons We Learn from the Life of Mary, the Mother of Jesus | Becoming Christians

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