We tend to look at the people listed Hebrews 11 – the great “Faith Chapter” – as those who lived above failure. They did great things “by faith” and could not have ever sinned. But that will NOT stand up to scrutiny – the record of their lives proves otherwise!
Abraham (also called Abram) – the “father of faith” is a case in point. I read a chapter today during “coffee with the Lord” that includes both the positive outcome of faith and a faith-failure (Genesis 12)…
First the positive: the spiritual outcome of faith in
Abram/Abraham’s life and experience! It has been an example for all believers through the centuries! AUTHENTIC FAITH LEADS TO/RESULTS IN OBEDIENCE! When God spoke to Abraham and challenged him to “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to a land that I will show you… Abraham went as the Lord told him.” And his “faith-obedience was “counted to him as righteousness” by God! (Genesis 15:6) That is why, I believe, that Apostle Paul spoke of “the obedience of faith” in Romans 1:5 and 16:26 (at the very beginning and the very end of Romans). Authentic faith leads to and results in obedience!!
However, the tragedy is, Abram’s faith-obedience was short-lived! In the same chapter (Genesis 12:10-20), rather than trusting God to protect him, Abraham arranged for Sarai to tell a half-truth and thus jeopardized her sexual purity. As a consequence, a pagan king ended up rebuking Abram, the same guy had a reputation of reverencing and trusting God!
So what’s the deal? … Faith leads to obedience and results in God counting us righteous (i.e. it results in something called “justification”), but those who have demonstrated “faith-obedience” and experienced “justification by faith” sometimes have “faith struggles” and fail! What should they do? They should acknowledge their failure (it’s called “confession of sin”) and ask God to forgive them (check out 1 John 1:8-9)… AND HE WILL!