“For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself” (v. 6:13).
– Hebrews 6:13-20
This may well be the most anti-intellectual era in the history of the church. Many people, especially many Christians, are suspicious of reason. The roots of this attitude may go back as far as the Enlightenment, when the guns of intellectual criticism were aimed against Christianity. Believers came to see reason as a tool of the enemies of their faith. Therefore, they came to want nothing to do with reason. As a result, the idea that Christianity is embraced by a faith that has nothing to do with reason is almost universally accepted today.
Given this state of affairs, the concept of faith that usually is articulated today could well be preceded by the word blind. The church says to the world that it must accept the Gospel “by faith” apart from any reasonable foundations. But asking people to accept the things of God in this way does violence to God, the fountainhead of all truth; to the Son, the incarnation of the truth; and to the Spirit of truth. Faith can be said to be “blind” only if the object of that faith is untrustworthy, and such faith is foolishness. Christians place their faith in God, who is trustworthy indeed.
God’s trustworthiness is demonstrated powerfully in the same chapter we visited yesterday, Genesis 15. We saw that Abraham took God at His word, trusting His promise of a son. But when God in passing mentioned His other great promise to Abraham—the land of Canaan—Abraham asked for a sign to strengthen his faith, and God graciously responded. He instructed Abraham to bring animals, to cut them in two, and to arrange the pieces. Soon afterward, a smoking oven and a burning torch—symbolizing God—appeared and passed through the pieces. As we have seen in previous months, this was a covenant ceremony. God was saying that He would allow Himself to be ripped asunder before He would allow His promises to Abraham to fail.
Hebrews 6 says that God swore by Himself because there was no one greater than Himself by whom He could swear. He put His deity behind His promises. He pledged His eternal being. But He cannot die and He cannot lie. Therefore, it is not blind faith to trust a God who will so swear. All that He has and all that He is He put on the line as surety for His word. He will not let it fail. He is trustworthy.
Do you believe that all sin is, at its root, unbelief? When we sin, we are disbelieving God’s testimony in His Word that sin brings grief, pain, and separation from Him. By contrast, obedience is rooted in trust that God’s prescribed ways are best. Ask Him today and every day for grace to see Him as absolutely trustworthy and to obey Him.