Was Abraham Justified By Faith?

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Hi F____,

Thank you for this question.

It is easy to answer because the scriptures simply do not say that Abraham, or anyone else in the Old Testament was “justified by faith”, as your question suggests.

James and Paul agree that Abraham was “justified by works”, but as Paul points out, that means nothing to God:

Rom 4:2  For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

Jas 2:21  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

Abraham’s ‘faith’ was merely a type and shadow of the saving faith “that should come unto you… not unto [him]self”.

1Pe 1:10  Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
1Pe 1:11  Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
1Pe 1:12  Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Peter spent 3 1/2 years with Christ, but he was not yet converted because the holy spirit had not yet been given to give Peter and without the holy spirit no one can have the saving faith of Christ.

Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the [Holy] Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

If Peter were not converted, how could anyone in the Old Testament have been converted?

Christ tells us this is just how important the holy spirit is to the process of our salvation:

Joh 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Joh 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

Clearly the world had never yet been “reproved of sin, or righteousness, and of judgement” nor had it ever received the holy spirit before Christ came into this world.Clearly the world had never yet been “reproved of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” nor had it ever received the holy spirit before Christ came into this world.

Luk 22:31  And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
Luk 22:32  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Luk 22:33  And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.
Luk 22:34  And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

I hope this helps you to see what this world cannot see, that the Old Testament men of faith “were not ministering to themselves but unto us”, and they “enquired and searched diligently, [and] prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:”

Abraham and all of the Old Testament men of faith will be saved with “few stripes” through the fiery words of Christ which ‘words in the mouths of God’s elect are the ‘fire’ of the “lake of fire”.

Isa 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
Isa 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh [fiery words] uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;

Jer 5:14 Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

A couple more points that need to be made concerning the quality of Abraham’s faith is that Abraham’s faith allowed him to kill the men of the armies who carried off the people of Sodom, which included his nephew, Lot.

Gen 14:17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale.

The ‘faith’ available to Abraham and to all in the Old Testament permitted them to partake in the practice of polygamy:

Gen 25:6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.

Clearly the faith of the Old Testament times was not the saving “grace through faith” which is “the gift of God” which we are granted in the New Testament.

To bookend this question of whether the Godly men of the Old Testament will be in the first resurrection and whether they will have any part in that “blessed and holy… first resurrection”, Christ himself tells us this concerning the spiritual standing of any and all who died before the sacrifice for their sins was made through His death and resurrection:

Mat 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Abraham was certainly ‘born of a woman’, and yet “he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than [Abraham]”.

Your brother in Christ,


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