Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected.
Jay Herndon was a missionary to a poor mining village in Ireland. A tragic incident happened during his ministry:
One cold evening, the men of the village piled into their company bus and made their way down the mountain after a long day’s work.The narrow road was slick with ice and the experienced driver had to navigate carefully. To the left stood the towering, jagged rocks, and to the right lay the edge of a sheer cliff.
Suddenly, as they came around a bend, the men could see just ahead the figure of a little boy, sitting in the middle of the road playing with a toy. The driver had only a split second to make a decision. If he swerved, he would either crash into the mountain wall or plunge off the cliff, potentially killing all of his passengers. If he continued forward, he would surely kill the little boy.
He braked as hard as he could and kept the bus in the middle of the road. After the bus stopped a few hundred feet beyond the crumpled body, the driver leapt out. He picked up the lifeless form, buried his head in the boy’s coat, and wept.
It was his own little boy.
When the Apostle James searches inspired history for a biblical example of faith in action—faith and obedience that defy reason—it’s no wonder he goes back to that unforgettable story in Genesis 22 where Abraham offers his son Isaac as a sacrifice.
This was the son God had promised him for more than twenty years. This was the son who was supposed to father many nations. And now God was asking Abraham to give him away.
Would Abraham argue, “What about your promises? What about the fact that I waited so long to have this son? How can you ask such a sacrifice?”
Instead, Abraham climbed up Mount Moriah with his son and prepared the altar.
Fifty years of faith and growth had paid off, and Abraham was ready for the test of his life. He believed God would fulfill His promise. Even after death, he believed God would resurrect his son Isaac in order to keep His promise.
Abraham believed that God would keep His word.
This is the kind of faith that the world can’t help but notice. It’s what we could call dynamic faith. It trusts entirely in God’s character, regardless of circumstances:
• Dead faith never walks up the mountain—it never makes an altar of anything in life.
• Demonic faith knows that God will keep His promises, but it refuses to personally bow before His altar.
• Dynamic faith walks up the mountain, builds an altar, and prepares to kneel before a sovereign Lord, no matter what the sacrifice.
James says this kind of faith justifies us before men. While we aren’t saved by making sacrifices, our submission and obedience to Christ proves to the world that we have the genuine item. Our faith is real.
Follow in Abraham’s footsteps up a mountain today . . . prepare to build an altar somewhere along the way.
What has God asked you to place on the altar of your life? A job? A hobby? A relationship? A dream? Place it in His hands today . . . and leave it there.
Read how the story of Abraham and Isaac concludes in Genesis 22
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