The Promises of God - Romans 4
Abraham is an excellent example of the kind of faith which is pleasing to God. “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:3).
Abraham’s example is key to understanding Biblical faith, which is based on what God our Creator has revealed about Himself through the Bible, and how He wants us to respond to His revelation.
The faith that credits us with righteousness in God’s eyes; is not based on our feelings, traditions, imaginations or personal preferences. It is based on what God has declared about the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the Bible.
Abraham’s faith was not just a belief in the existence of God or a personal faith in a personal god. It was a faith based on the promise God had revealed to Abraham.
“For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:13).
Abraham was 100 and his wife Sarah was 90 years old, when God promised he would become the father of many nations;
“Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus? Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir." Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir." And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." Then he believed in the LORD; and He credited it to him as righteousness”
Abraham trust God at His Word. God made Abraham a promise, "So shall your descendants be". And Abraham trusted in his heart that what God had promised, He would fulfill.
From a physical point of view, Abraham reasoned that he and Sarah had no hope of giving birth because of their advanced age. But the physical reality did not make Abraham doubt the promise of God. Abraham placed his trust in the promise of God because he trusted that God was able to keep His Word.
In Abraham’s mind, he did not let the physical circumstances determine his faith. (for we walk by faith, not by sight - 2 Corinthians 5:7). He did not understand how God was going to fulfill His promise, but he trusted what God had revealed to him. Abraham trusted in God’s word.
In exactly the same way, God has made His promise to us. Whoever places their trust in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be credited with righteousness before God - just as Abraham was.
“In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, "SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE." Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” (Romans 4:18-25).
The fall of Adam and Eve took place because they did not trust in what God had revealed to them. They did not trust God’s word (Genesis 2:16-17). Everyone who is a descendant of Adam has inherited a sinful nature and shares the curse of sin, because we have all sinned by not trusting God and choosing to live according to our own desires.
Trusting in what God has revealed about Jesus in the Bible, is a reversal of the original sin we have inherited in Adam. All who are connected in Christ through faith are born again, and are no longer under the condemnation of sin’s curse. The curse of sin is death in all its forms, and Jesus took the curse of sin on the cross. He died our death to removed all the consequences of our sin.
This is all possible because God has loved us, and has provided His great salvation purely on the basis of His mercy and grace. He has provided the world with salvation for those who trust in the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
This is Biblical faith. This is the only faith that will result in righteousness and salvation in God’s eyes. It is trusting in what God has said about His only Begotten Son. That whosoever believes in Jesus shall not perish but have eternal life.