Rahab – Justified by Faith
Joshua 2 : 12-13
Who is Rahab? Many people remember her as ‘Rahab the Harlot’ however, I like to remember her as a great Woman of Faith. We can learn so much from this Woman of Faith and can even apply her story to our everyday life.
What is Faith? Faith can be defined as a ‘total trust or confidence in someone or something’. It can also be defined as a ‘strong and genuine belief in the doctrines of a particular religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than the reliance of proof’.
Let us go back to the book of Joshua.
In Joshua 2, we are introduced to Rahab as a Harlot who resides in Jericho amongst the Canaanites. At this time, Joshua sent two spies to view the land of Jericho. During their visit to Jericho, they came to the house of Rahab, which was on the city wall, and lodged there. We are then told that Rahab lied to the King of Jericho, telling him that the two spies had left when in fact she had hidden them on the roof of her house. She later requested that the spies swear by The Lord that due to her kindness they would spare her family and deliver their lives from death. Rahab was so sure that the Canaanites were going to be defeated.
Due to the faith that was exercised by Rahab, out of all of the people in Jericho, only her and her family members were saved.
Through Rahab’s great act of faith, she was justified through the grace of God, to the extent that she was listed as one of the 5 women in the lineage of Jesus Christ. What a great honour! We are told in Matthew 1:5 that Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab. Out of all the Israelite women at that time God chose a ‘Gentile’ and a ‘Harlot’ to be in the lineage of his beloved Son. This is the only time within scripture where Rahab’s title of a harlot is dropped.
Rahab’s faith set her apart from all of the other Canaanites. Although everyone around her was worshipping other gods, Rahab chose to have faith in the true God, Jehovah. Even though Rahab did not see the miracles performed by God and had only heard of them, she was able to make a great proclamation about God. She stated to the spies that ‘I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.’ Rahab goes on to state that the Canaanites are aware of some of the great wonders performed by God, such as the parting of the red sea. Although all of the Canaanites feared what could happen to them and lost their courage, this was a worldly type of fear. In contrast, the fear that Rahab had was transformed into great faith in God! She even stated that the Lord is ‘God in heaven above and on earth beneath.’ Even though no one around her had faith in God, she still remained in faith. Can you now see how Rahab was set apart?
I am sure that we are all aware of the chapter of faith in the bible (Hebrews 11), where many amazing men and women in the Old Testament are praised for their great faith. But did you know that Rahab is also listed as one of these great people of faith? In fact, she is one of two women acknowledged in this chapter for their faith, the other woman being Sarah.
We are told that ‘by faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe when she had received the spies in peace.’ You will notice that Rahab’s title of a harlot returns. Why is this? There is definitely something that we can learn from this. This is evidence that God wants to show his people that despite your background or the negative title which may be associated with your name, he can still use you for his greatness. BUT… without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
In Hebrews 11:1 we are given a biblical definition of faith. ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ Although Rahab was not there when God performed some of the great miracles, she had such a great belief and was certain that God had already given the land to the Israelites. This faith saved her and her whole family when the walls of Jericho was destroyed and even gave her the grace to be a part of the Israelites.
Faith without Works is dead!
In the New Testament, Rahab is not only referred to in Hebrews, she is also referred to in the book of James 2:25. Here we are asked ‘was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?’ Rahab portrays her faith through her works when she hid the spies and later let them out through her window. She was then asked by the spies to bind a scarlet (red) cord in the window which would be used for her to be identified when the Israelites came to destroy the land.
This red cord used to save Rahab and her family is of great significance to us today. The colour red can be seen to represent the blood of Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus told the thief on the cross that he would be with him in paradise, you can also be saved by the blood of Jesus. If the Lord can save these people who were seen as unworthy due to their profession and lifestyle, then God can save you by his grace. Make a decision today to believe, leave the past behind and press forward towards a greater future.
In verse 24 of James 2 we are told that ‘man is justified by works, and not by faith only’. Rahab was justified by both her works and her faith. By works, her faith was made perfect. Are you showing your faith by your works?
What can we learn from the story of Rahab?
From the life of this great Woman of Faith, we learn about how God can accept anyone no matter their past. We also learn how God can use anyone, despite what society may view them as, for the glorification of his name. Do not look at your past, for this can hold you back. God does not look at your past to determine your future! Through Rahab’s story, God shows us his grace and mercy and shows us that salvation is not limited to a certain group of people. Rahab was saved because of her faith and became a part of the Israelites. No matter your past, through true faith you are also able to be saved through God’s grace. Grace is a free gift that is undeserved. Make a choice to have true faith in God today, and to evidence this by your works, and I pray that the Grace of God will never depart from your life.
God bless you.
Author: Pro. Maria Tayo
Blogger and Contributor Celestialweekly.com