going to change it up today because i really like how plain the message makes the rest of chapter 4. also, we studied all of chapter 4 last week, but i wanted to hone in on the final verses this week.

i know. i’m a little wild today.

romans 4: 16-25, the message (emphasis mine)

16This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it, those who keep the religious traditions and those who have never heard of them. For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father—that’s reading the story backward. He is our faith father.

17-18We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!”

19-25Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.” But it’s not just Abraham; it’s also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.

* * * * * * * * * *

rick bonfim expressed it beautifully when i was in brazil with him, ‘god gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as if they are.’ sarah and abraham were both too old and, by all natural means, would have not been able to bear children.

but god.

he didn’t say by what means or when, but god made a promise that abraham would be the father of many nations and the entire world would be blessed by him, a promise that abraham held onto, a promise that god fulfilled through jesus.

my life application study bible again states that ‘paul explains that abraham had pleased god through faith alone before he had ever heard about the rituals that would become so important to the jewish people. we, too, are saved by faith plus nothing.’

abraham did not live perfectly, but he trusted god always. he never wavered in trusting God.

abraham’s faith causes me to consider what i’ve believed god for at different points in my life but then let go of because, really, i lost faith that god would be faithful to fulfill his promises.

there are, of course, those ‘promises’ that i wanted to believe were god’s for me but were really my own selfish desires and wishes.

but my petition for all of us today is, what promise do you feel god’s planted in your heart that you might have the faith to believe in again? 

i know how personal such prayers can be so this can be rhetorical if you wish.

just know there’s a community here that will stand and faith with you for prayers and promises spoken and unspoken. we don’t know when or how, but we know god will be faithful to fulfill his promises to each of us.

this post is part of a series the readers here at beauty for ashes suggested. every wednesday, my fellow sojourners and i are studying the book of romans. the first post states our heart and intention, which i encourage you to read if you’re just joining us. you will find the entire series listed in the categories on the right.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melissa
    Aug 18, 2011 @ 09:30:09

    Reading this had me searching to the bottom of a box of stuff for a notebook with a list in it. An (im)possible list. At a conference we were challenged to make a list of the things that we believed to impossible except if God was to intervene. Then we were to pray for 6 months for the what and let God take care of the how. That list got buried for about a month and as I recall, God didn’t do one thing on my list during that 6 months. I kept the list and added a few things to it. I’ve prayed on and off (which is why it was in a box) for the stuff on that list in the almost 2 years since. Now, I can say that God has done the impossible.

    The big one for me on that list that I’m believing for; That my family would know an love Jesus.

    • mary kathryn tyson
      Aug 18, 2011 @ 18:42:44

      Melissa. I. Love. This.

      I love that you held onto the list -that you made a list like that at all- and that you are starting to see God fulfilling his promises. You’ve inspired me.


  2. Tay
    Aug 18, 2011 @ 10:33:04

    I love the phrase, “he plunged into the promise”! Ahh…love it!

    Today is my first day of school. Without my bff. I know that I am probably going to feel alone and awkward, but I am clinging – no, plunging! – into the promise that with God, I am never alone. A few months ago, I dreaded this day so much, thinking, “There is no way I can do my senior year without her.” But God showed me his promise that we can everything through Him who gives us strength.

    I still really really miss her and really really want her to be here right now. But when I am really missing her, I just pray, “Help me to not feel alone.”

  3. onegirl4god
    Aug 18, 2011 @ 15:06:10

    Struggling to believe that I am going to have a daughter. I feel sure that I am, others feel sure that I am, but when one struggles month after month, it is difficult to stay steady on in the promise. Obviously, I need to take a cue from Abraham. Especially when God asked him to sacrifice his son after waiting all that time for the promise to come. What a struggle that must have been. But, he still obeyed and did what was asked of him. Amazing.


  4. Felipe Neumann
    Aug 18, 2011 @ 19:50:28

    God promised me I’ll find shelter whenever I need.

    He will be peace to my chaos, happiness to my grief, laughter to my tears, love to my anger, understanding to my guilt, shoulder to my despair, wisdom to my foolishness.

    He promised me He will be there… thus, there’s no place too far, no bridge too narrow, no path too rocky, He will help me shake off the dust and arise when I fall… so I shall not add “fear” to my dictionary. :)

  5. Catherine
    Aug 18, 2011 @ 20:53:26

    So somehow in the day that was more difficult than most, amidst frustration, bitterness, anger and near hopeless despair that came from both inside of me and outside of me, God reminded me of some of the visions and dreams He had placed within me. That I have dutifully but sometimes not passionately prayed into for between 2 and 22 years. That have yet to materialize while so many dreams I never knew I had have materialized. And I remembered to believe again in the promise that He knows the blueprint He has for my life, and He will redraw it 5,763 times if necessary because He loves me regardless of how wonky the walls I build on His blueprint get. And so I know the other promises will come.


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