Rom 4:16 So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham's. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.
Rom 4:17 That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, "I have made you the father of many nations." This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.
Rom 4:18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, "That's how many descendants you will have!"
Rom 4:19 And Abraham's faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah's womb.
Rom 4:20 Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.
Rom 4:21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises.
Rom 4:22 And because of Abraham's faith, God counted him as righteous.
Rom 4:23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. It was recorded
Rom 4:24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in Him, the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
Rom 4:25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised to life to make us right with God.
Here Paul discusses the next relevant part of Abe’s story with some surprising interpretations.
The essence of Abraham’s story is
1) He leaves home and follows God merely because God told him to do so. (With not much to go on)
2) God promises him descendants when he and his wife are already past the age for having children.
3) He is told to take the mark of circumcision as sign of faith and obedience.
4) He receives his miracle child and then is willing to sacrifice him purely because God asked him to.
You know and I know I have edited Abe’s story. So has Paul.
Note the elements in the text.
Abraham kept hoping – believing // Abraham’s faith didn’t weaken // Abraham never waivered in believing God’s promise. // Abraham was fully convinced . . .
But Abe did waiver! We all know the story. He accepted Sarah’s offer of Hagar and had a child to her because they wondered when God was going to fulfil the promise. [Ever wondered what this world would be like if Abraham hadn’t done that?] Abraham tried to work out in the flesh what God had promised supernaturally. I would say that was waivering. I would say that was weak faith. Did he keep hoping? Yes his faith grew stronger to the point where he could offer this son as a sacrifice. That is huge. Abraham’s faith was significant and an example to us all. Paul indeed tells us that this was recorded for our benefit; assuring us God will count us as righteous if we believe in Him.
Every day of Abraham’s life he was reminded of his waivering. Isaac’s name means “he laughs”. Not “she laughs” but “he laughs”. Every time he called Isaac he was reminded that he laughed the laugh of ridicule at the notion of having a son by the promise. Oh yes Sarah laughed first but God held Abraham accountable for his laugh. What is amazing is when it is all summed up, all that is forgotten and we are told that Abraham grew in faith and never waivered. That is the perspective of heaven on your faith. Allow it to grow from strength to strength. Remember you are on a faith journey.
Abraham’s faith is the reason he is considered the father of all who believe, not because he was circumcised. He received God’s righteousness when he knew nothing about Christ because of his willingness to trust God. That is what it is all about. Grow in grace and grow in faith!
The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into possibility. Arthur C. Clark
The world is hungry for humble people with absolute confidence in God. Obedience, not ego, is the source of true confidence. Rick Warren