Abraham received the promise of an heir and an inheritance, as recorded in Gen. 15:1-5; and verse 6 says, "He believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” In James 2:21-23 we are informed that the scripture quoted above had its fulfilment when Abraham offered up his son Isaac, about forty years after the events had occurred in connection with which the statement was made. That his faith in God's promise and plan was not perfect when the promise was made, is clear from the fact of his trying to fulfill the promise in an unlawful manner by taking Hagar. Gen. 16:1. James says it took a certain class of works to perfect that faith.
Fully to appreciate what the offering up of Isaac meant, read what Paul says of it in Heb. 11:17-19. Here we learn that God showed Abraham the resurrection of the dead; and Abraham grasped it, and this crowning act of faith was accounted to him for righteousness.
No greater faith can be exercised than that which places the life back again in the keeping of the Life-giver. This Abraham did, and showed his submission to the divine will in the most perfect manner possible. When Abraham could take God's word for the life to come, which life was necessary to the fulfilment of the promise, he was so brought into harmony with the divine mind that all other tests and considerations could have no weight to turn him from God. No greater faith could be developed, no greater test required.
This was the faith of Jesus. Step by step he gave all the minor particulars of his life into God's hands; and at last he gave up his life Into the Father's hands: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him." This is saving faith,—a faith which will exalt its possessor to a place with Abraham and Christ.
Herein is seen the work of sanctification by faith. The first inception of faith in Jesus brings forgiveness. As this faith is tested, the life is more and more yielded to God, until the soul has fully placed its life in God’s hands. Then the sanctification is complete.
The great question is, Have I this faith of Abraham and of Jesus?
Alonzo T. Jones.
The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Nov. 29, 1898, pp. 762, 763.