In which the daisy of faith doesn’t have to be perfect

by Craig on July 26, 2011

We’re picking biblical daisies.

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If this is your first time to the study of biblical daisies – please read this first – otherwise what’s up ahead might not make much sense. But after you read it – you’ll heart biblical daisies.

And before picking today’s daisies…
the ripples of context…
because without context…
pretty much any verse can mean pretty much anything.

The broader context: Paul’s planning to visit the church at Rome. This letter was kind of a sum up of his doctrine, so that when he got there they’d know the basics.

The nearer context: how faith fits into the picture of salvation.

The context ahead: more about faith and salvation.

The immediate context: Abraham and his faith.

Two daisies from two verses, first Romans 4:3 (v. 4 thrown in for context):

Indeed, if Abraham was justified on the basis of his works, he has reason to boast; but this was not so in the sight of God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

In context, Paul’s not writing about Abraham’s “all of his life” kind of faith. It’s Abraham’s belief in the promise of God that he’d have children – even though he and Sarah were way too old to have kids.

He clearly believed, because he kept trying to make babies with Sarah. But if his faith was perfect he wouldn’t have had a child with Hagar.

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A side note:
I know it seems like infidelity to us…
but it was the custom of the time…
it wasn’t a sin because the law of Moses defined sin…
and it came lots later.

Oh, and this daisy – it’s white – believing a promise of God and acting on it.

But Paul throws in a little context for his retelling of the story of Abraham and his faith, and in that context there’s another daisy.

Romans 4:6 “So also David declares the blessedness of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works

Abraham was before the law of Moses – so his daisy couldn’t be yellow. David was after – so his could be. But he’s referring to Abraham – so the daisy in question is Abraham’s daisy… and white.

I heart the ripples of context!

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The big things I take from this:

•    Abraham believed, but his faith was imperfect – and still good enough to save.
•    We’re saved by that kind of faith, not our white daisies.
•    Abraham’s faith involved acting in accord with his faith (i.e. babymaking with Sarah) – so ours does too.

Which brings me back to James 2:17 – faith without daisies is dead.

If Abraham didn’t do the “work”, there would have been no child of promise, and no Savior, and no salvation for any of us.

Anybody else think that it’s kind of amazing that things written more than a thousand years apart could be so connected?

And anyone else as happy as I am to know that faith doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be “saved”?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Cora July 26, 2011 at 9:02 am

It’s a jump-for-joy happy here, Craig. Through my teen years, and my years at Bible School, I NEVER thought my faith was good enough. I think I said the sinner’s prayer at least a thousand times, hoping that my faith was stronger and “good enough.” The Lord must have been rolling His eyes each time that prayer reached His ears!!!!! I love it that all the great characters throughout the Bible were never “good enough”, yet had their bouquet of daisies to show us. Yes, it does make me feel “connected” to Abraham now. To think that my wilted, scrawny bouquet is “counted for righteousness” is just an awesome thought, isn’t it????

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Craig July 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Cora, I have often wondered about how “perfect” faith had to be. I think I’ve known instinctively that it didn’t have to be perfect – but there were still doubts because of it. To look at the father of the faith – and find it that, yes, he was justified by his faith – AND – his faith was not perfect – to have that biblical example – that’s the magic for me. And you and me both – our wilted, scrawny bouquets are enough – through grace. This study of “works” is revealing so much! Thank you Cora, thank you, and God bless you.

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Andrea Dawn July 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Aahh . . . to know “the blessedness of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works” . . . such a precious truth. In the beginning this appeared outrageous and scandalous to me, but being brought to a place where there is precious little I can “do” has changed all that. Such an almost incomprehensible concept that one can merely believe and it’s counted as righteousness. (I understand that what I believe is most often evidenced by the things I say and do.) Thank you, Craig, for sharing some of my favourite truths.

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Craig July 26, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Andrea Dawn – after all of these years of being a Christian, and graduating from Seminary, and studying and translating, for a year, the book of James, I know that salvation is by grace through faith – but I’m thinking that “daisies” – the white ones, and even some yellow ones, are a vital part of faith. I’m determined not to come to a full conclusion until I’m done praying, and studying all of the “daisies” in the New Testament. But regardless – it does all come back to one thing in the end – in the middle of any “daisy” (works) bouquet – the only thing that gets us to life forever with God – is his Grace – the red rose in the daisy bouquet – because no daisy bouquet is perfect. It all comes back to that. Thank you Andrea Dawn, thank you much, and God bless and keep you and all of yours.

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Layla Payton July 26, 2011 at 9:53 pm

I do so LOVE this! I feel like I always offer our Father a handful of wilted & warm dandelions. However, while thinking about dandelions, I can’t help smiling. When my children brought dandelions to me, I valued them far above roses…ER, daisies. While I know that I should strive to bring my best bouquet to God, I also know that my best is only good because HE enabled me to pick each and every one. Sometimes, I pick a daisy. Sometimes, I pick a dandelion. All times, my Father picks me. :)

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Craig July 30, 2011 at 7:42 am

I totally get that dandelion story – and I totally get why you heart the dandelion bouquet so much. There’s that verse that talks about our righteous acts being as filthy rags to God – but I have come to believe that verse was really for the Old Testament times – before grace was operating in this world. I think now and he looks in our “white daisies” – even though there as you described “wilted and warm” – I think he hearts them – they are still imperfect – but I think he hearts them – and us – and you are so right – our Father picked us! Thank you Layla thank you, and God bless you

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Michelle July 27, 2011 at 12:29 am

And anyone else as happy as I am to know that faith doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be “saved”?

Yes, yes and YES!

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Craig July 30, 2011 at 7:44 am

me – I’m raising my hands with a yes, yes, and yes ƪ(◠‿◠)╯God bless you Michelle!

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Layla Payton July 27, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Michelle…YES!

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Craig July 30, 2011 at 7:44 am

ƪ(◠‿◠)╯- seriously – God Bless you Layla!!

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A. August 1, 2011 at 10:51 am

Yes, Michelle! It revives the awareness of what Jesus taught us that childlike faith is so precious…and children aren’t perfect, either.

Admittedly, it breaks my heart to see that first picture. It breaks my heart for Hagar and for Sarah, especially for Hagar.

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