When writing the Scriptures, God’s inspired penmen rarely sought to define faith; their primary focus was on describing it.
In Hebrews 11, for example, we read: “by faith, we understand” (v. 3), “by faith, Abel offered” (v. 4); “by faith, Enoch was taken away” (v. 5); “by faith…Noah prepared an ark” (v. 7); “by faith Abraham obeyed” (v. 8) and “dwelt” (v. 9); “by faith, Sarah received strength” (v. 11); “by faith Abraham offered up Isaac” (v. 17); “by faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau” (v. 20); “by faith Jacob…blessed each of the sons of Joseph” (v. 21), “by faith, Joseph…gave instructions concerning his bones” (v. 22); “by faith, Moses…was hidden by his parents” (v. 23); “by faith, Moses…refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter (v. 24), “forsook Egypt” (v. 27), and “kept the Passover” (v. 28).
In Romans 4, the apostle Paul describes the nitty-gritty components of Abraham’s faith with these words: “who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness’” (vv. 18-22).
Stubborn. Tenacious. Strong. Unwavering. Conviction-filled. Trusting. Obedient. These words do not define Abraham’s faith; they describe it.
This is why Abraham is the father of all those who believe (Romans 4:11). This is the spiritual heritage and lofty legacy of Abraham, the father of us all (Romans 4:16). These are the steps of faith which father Abraham took while still uncircumcised (Romans 4:12).
This is what faith looks like.