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.
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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.
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.