FAITH IN GOD’S PROMISE
Heavenly Father, in the midst of the ambiguities of life, enable me to discern Your truth and will. Above all else, may I live them out wisely and well.
Read ROMANS 4:13–25
13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”[a] He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”[b] 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.’1
It is important not to misunderstand faith. It is more than optimism. It is certainly not believing in something that evidence contradicts (a common atheistic caricature). It is most certainly not the capacity to believe in anything and everything we are told. Faith rather is directed towards that which is promised by God. Only so is it discerning, reasonable, and trustworthy. The Bible contains many promises, but there is an original one on which all the others depend. This is the primordial promise given by God to Abraham that he would be the father of many nations (v 17):2 Further: ‘through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed Me.’3 The rest is history, salvation history. Whatever the value of ‘Law’, it is better policy to look to the promise and believe in it. We may be incapable of fulfilling the Law, and the Law may expose without empowering (vs 14,15), but God can deliver what is promised: this is our positive hope (v 20).
It is sometimes said that in the story of salvation the promise to one man, Abraham, broadens out to embrace the whole of Israel. It then narrows, becoming concentrated in one man, the promised Christ. His death has a particular meaning: God ‘gave him over’ to death that He might share what it is for us to be ‘given over’4 to judgment. He bore the consequences of our sin (not His) and in so doing overcame death and rendered it nothing. No condemnation again! Then He was raised to life that we may share in His victory and be made right with God (v 25). From then the story broadens out again, this time including not just Israel but all nations, Jews and Gentiles alike. There is much fulfillment of the promises which is yet to come.
Think about your faith. How deeply is it rooted in God’s promises?
God of the impossible, I submit myself anew to You. Thank You for the hope You give me.
1 2 Cor 1:20 2 Gen 17:4–6 3 Gen 22:18 4 cf., Rom 1:24,26,28
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