The called race becomes the believing race. Abraham was first a called one, then a believing one. He had abandoned everything and had no way to go on except to trust in God. He trusted in God because he did not know where he was going. God had only told him to leave his country, his kindred, and his father’s house. He did not tell Abraham where he was going, forcing him to trust in God. Abraham could say, “I simply trust in God. I go wherever He leads me.” If we study the history of Abraham, we will learn that his life was a trusting life, a believing life. God did not expect Abraham to do anything. God seemed to tell him, “Abraham, you have been called by Me. Don’t do anything. I’ll do everything for you. Just stay with Me. When I move, you move. You must go wherever I go. Don’t do anything for yourself or by yourself.” This is what it means to trust in God.
Many people have the mistaken impression that believing in the Lord Jesus is simply saying, “Lord Jesus, I believe in You. I take You as my Savior.” This is right, but the implications are far-reaching. It means that we must terminate ourselves, admitting that we are nothing, have nothing, and can do nothing. Every step and every moment we must trust in Him. I do not know how to do things; I only know how to trust in my Lord. I have been called out of everything that is not God and now I believe into everything that is God. I believe in Him and I believe in all that He has accomplished for me. I believe in what He can do for me and in what He shall do for me. I put my full trust in Him. This is the testimony of the called and believing race. As children of Abraham, the believing father, we are a believing people (Gal. 3:7-9).
In what kind of God did Abraham believe? Who is the God in whom we believe? The God in whom Abraham believed was the God who calls things not being as being (4:17). The God of Abraham calls things not existing as existing, meaning that He creates things out of nothing. God is the Creator. Abraham believed in such a God and applied this God to his situation. In a sense, Abraham was unable to produce an heir. Nevertheless, God called Isaac into being. Although Isaac had no being, God called him into being. When Isaac did not exist and when there was no possibility for him to exist, God declared, “There shall be an Isaac.” Isaac was born: God had called something not being as being. We must believe in the same God, for He is the almighty Creator who calls things not existing as existing.
The God in whom Abraham believed was the God who gives life to the dead (4:17). This means that God can resurrect the dead. Abraham experienced this when God asked him to offer up Isaac. Abraham obeyed. As Abraham offered Isaac, he believed that God would raise him from the dead (Heb. 11:17-19). He believed that God would give life to his son and that he would have his son again in resurrection.
We need to believe in the Lord Jesus in the same way. We believe in God the Creator, who calls things not being as being. We also believe in Him as the life-giver, as the One who can raise the dead. He can create out of nothing and He can give life to the dead.
We may apply this to the church life. You may feel that the situation in your local church is poor. Yes, it is very poor; in fact, it is nothing. You must say to the Lord, “Lord, come in to call things not being as being.” Perhaps you may migrate to a certain locality and find that it is a place filled with death. That is the reason God sent you. You must believe in Him as the One who gives life to the dead.
In 1949 I was sent to Taiwan. I thought of that island as a backward region. I had been living and working in Shanghai, the largest city in the Far East, where the Lord’s work was strong. A thousand saints were meeting together. We had seventeen homes for meetings and four publications. Suddenly I was removed from mainland China and sent to the little island of Taiwan. When I surveyed the situation, I was deeply disappointed. I could not do anything and I did not want to do anything. I had no appetite to work in such a backward country with its poor people. I laid on the bed and looked at the ceiling, saying to myself, “What are you doing here? Why did you come here?” Then I turned to my wife and asked, “Why did we come? What can we do?” I was very troubled, and my wife had no word to help me. One day, the God who calls things not being as being and who gives life to the dead touched my heart, telling me not to be disappointed. After that, I was burdened for the work on Taiwan. In less than five years we grew in numbers from three hundred and fifty people to twenty thousand. During the first year we increased almost thirty-fold. Many who were saved during that time are now co-workers.
We must believe in the God who calls things not being as being and who gives life to the dead. Do not be disappointed by the situation in your locality. Do not say that everything is poor and dead. Such a place is the right place for you and the right place for God. Is it poor? You have a rich God who calls things not being as being. Is it dead? You have a living God who gives life to the dead. Your situation gives an opportunity for God to come in and impart life to the dead. Do not complain. Call on Him and believe in Him. Do not be disappointed with your family situation. Do not say that your wife is poor or that your husband is dead. The more you say that your wife is poor, the worse she is. The more you say that your husband is dead, the worse he is. You must declare, “My wife is poor, but my God is not poor. My husband is dead, but my God is not dead. The God in whom I believe is the God who creates things out of nothing and who gives life to the dead. My God does not give life to the living—He gives life to the dead. My situation is an excellent opportunity for God.”
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