Mar. 05, 2023
“DOING THE RIGHT THING”
“HOPE AGAINST HOPE”
Paul now gives us Abraham and His relationship with God as an example:
- Abraham Pleased God By Faith
Romans 4:16-17 “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17(as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.”
vs.16 “therefore it is” or for this reason establishes a logical connection between what Paul has just written and what he will declare next. Just as wages are obtained through work and failure to obey the Law reaps God’s wrath, grace is received through faith:
Grace and faith must go together because grace is utterly alien to our world.
Who is Ismael? The product of Abraham’s lapse of faith.
The plan backfired.
Note the angel’s response to the laughter of the aging couple:
Genesis 18:14 “Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”
God did the supernatural and notice the name of the boy-“Isaac.”
How wonderful to see Sarah’s laughter transformed from scoffing to joy and from cynicism to celebration.
So what does this have to do with Romans 4:16-25? Everything! Especially for all the Jewish readers. Paul had declared earlier:
Romans 3:28 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.”
John 5:21 “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.
1 Corinthians 1:28-31
Romans 4:18 “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.”
Genesis 15:5 “Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
“Hope, in hope believed”
Paul used Abraham’s “hope against hope” as a pattern for the kind of faith we are to have.
3. Faith In Action
Romans 4:19-21 “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. 20He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.”
Gradually, Abraham’s experience with God gave him greater ability to trust God despite the apparent contradictions that surrounded him.
Abraham’s faith as it was fully developed yielded the fruit of obedience, to which the Lord responded:
Genesis 22:18 “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
Abraham’s life is an example of faith in action.
Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”
4. The Exchange
Romans 4:22-25 “And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 23Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”
Abraham is the father of the Hebrews, but not of them only. He is the Father of all who receive God’s grace through faith and are declared righteous through no merit of their own.
Genesis 22:8 “And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.”
We are called to believe:
vs.24-25 “but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-6
The application to salvation is clear: God must wait until the sinner is “dead” and unable to help themselves before He can release His saving power.
The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
When we believe, an exchange takes place. We give Christ our sins, and He gives us His goodness and forgiveness, and righteousness.
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Two important lessons:
- Genuine faith is strengthened when we wait on God’s promises to be fulfilled.
- Genuine faith is directly related to our knowledge of God. As we more fully comprehend His nature, our faith cannot help but grow.
How big is your God?