We hear much concerning the universal church. This is the sum total of the saved of God throughout all ages; Patriarchal, Mosaical or Gospel dispensations. We read about it in Hebrews 12:23: "To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect ..."

The sacrificial offering of Christ covers all the faithful of all ages. (Romans 4:16) "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all ..."

Of course, it must be understood that faith, whether of Abraham or Adam or us today, will be made known by our obedience to whatever God says. They who were declared faithful in Hebrews 11, were obedient to God's command for them. Then we have Paul's statement in Hebrews 9:15: "And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."

Abraham's faith was tested when God told him to take the son from whom the seed line should come and offer him as a sacrifice. Abraham did as God directed and thus was declared faithful. Read the story in Genesis 22:1-14 and then understand what constitutes faith by reading of the fulfillment of the story in James 2:21-24.

Not everyone has been tested in that same way. Abel was told one thing while Noah was told something else. And there are unnamed hundreds of faithful people in Hebrews 11 for whom God has already prepared an eternal dwelling place. We, today, are tested for faith. We, who say that we have faith, are told to "Repent and be immersed"(Acts 2:38) and we, too, shall inherit the gift of God through the Holy Spirit, which is the hope of life eternal.

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