(Abraham proves it … Part 2 … (Romans 4:17-25)
(This study is the 2nd in a series of studies on God’s Righteousness. Read Part One)
Abraham’s Faith was IN GOD: 4:17
Faith must always emphasize the object of trust rather than the act of believing. It is the object of faith that saves us, not simply faith in itself.
Abraham believed God for what God would do; we are to believe God for what God has done.
a. This passage begins with a quotation from the “Abrahamic Covenant” (Gen. 17:5, cf., 12:1-3,7; 15:5-6).
b. God promised Abraham that he would become the father of a great multitude. Evidence of this is seen in Abraham’s name change:
*Abram = Father of high and windy places
* Abraham = Father of a great multitude.
c. Abraham believed God and His promises and becomes an example to us of both saving faith and living faith (cf., vs. 23). Abraham had previously estimated himself and Sarah to be sexually dead, but God made a promise. Faith in God’s promise says there is no problem in life too great for God to solve. We, like Abraham, often estimate certain situations in life to be hopeless only to learn there is no problem too hard for God to solve.
Abraham’s Faith was in the POWER OF GOD: 4:17b
Here the power of God is demonstrated over two impossible things: death and creating something out of nothing.
a. “The Dead” here represents the impossibility of Abraham and Sarah’s inability to procreate and is a type of spiritual death.
b. God “quickeneth” represents the power of God to give Abraham and Sarah sexual life and is a type of the “new birth” / “regeneration” (Eph. 2:1-5; Titus 3:5), and “resurrection’s transformation” (1 Cor. 15:51-52; Phil. 3:21).
c. This is creation. God calls things into being that are non-existent. Just as God called light out of darkness, so God called sexual productivity out of Abraham and Sarah’s sexual death. He can likewise call the sinner out of spiritual death and into eternal life. This is Omnipotence.
Abraham’s Faith was in the REALM OF HOPE: 4:18-19
a. Abraham believed in the realm of hope (cf., Rom. 8:24).
b. This promise of God to Abraham concerning becoming “the father of many nations” is the “Hope of Israel” just as the Church-Age Believers today have the “Hope of the Mystery” calling (cf., Eph. 1:18; Col. 1:27 in context ).
c. Abraham believed in the realm of hope in order to be made righteous and sexually alive. Abraham was “not weak in faith.” He, through faith, considered now his 100-year-old body and Sarah’s
99-year-old body not dead! This was based on God’s Word … “so shall thy seed be.”
Abraham’s Faith was TRIUMPHANT: 4:20-21
a. Triumphant faith not only resulted in happiness (“laughter”) but glorifies God. The birth of Isaac glorified God.
b. And so our happiness depends upon knowing and believing God’s Word (promises) in the Dispensation of Grace which glorifies God (2 Cor. 5:7).
Abraham’s Faith Brought RIGHTEOUSNESS: 4:22
The conclusion of Abraham’s faith was that God credited to his account the sum total of all that God approves or demands.
Abraham’s Faith is OUR EXAMPLE: 4:23-25
It is interesting to note that we (like Abraham) are to believe in God the Father for salvation, too (cf., Heb. 11:6; Mt. 10:40; 11:25-27; Mk. 9:37; 1 Jn. 2:22-23; 2 Jn. 1:9). Principle: You can’t receive one and reject the other and be saved.