God, Faith and Abraham

Romans 4

But, what about the faith of Abraham? What was it that he discovered? What about his works?If his works were enough, he’d have plenty to boast about. But not before God. God turns a blind eye to works. Scripture says this: Abraham believed and had faith in God, and God said that Abraham was righteous because of it.

When a man works, his payment is not a gift but payment owed for work due. When we act in faith that God saves we too receive something. We receive righteousness, but not as something owed, but as a gift. It was not just Abraham telling us this; David tells us the same thing: if our works do not save us, they also do not condemn us because they are forgiven by the Lord.

Is this faith and salvation only for the circumcised? Because of Abraham’s faith, he was counted righteous. Was this before his circumcision, or after? Before. And his circumcision was a sign both of his faith and God’s righteousness. He became a father of all who have faith regardless of circumcision. The law did not cause the promise to be received; the promise was received because of the faithfulness of the recipient. If it is only by law that people are “in”, then also are they condemned by the law.

If the keeping of the law is of most important, it is faith that is worthless, because “who needs faith if I can keep the law?” The law condemns; without it there is no need for the righteousness offered by God and received in faith. Without God telling us what righteousness is, how could we know? How could we be righteous? Without God telling us what sin is…how could we avoid the wrong thing? We’d be ignorantly doing evil, and God in His righteousness would still be judge.

Because the law describes both righteousness and sin, Abraham’s promise only comes through faith. This faith is a grace of God given to all of Abraham’s children- Jew and Gentile alike. He is the father of all. God, the one who brings back the dead and makes all things, promised this.

So, Abraham believed and became father of all. The fact that he was about dead at 100, the fact that Sarah’s womb was also dead did not matter. God told Abraham that he’d be the father of many so Abraham did not waiver in his belief in God’s promise. Rather, he was strengthened in his faith through that promise alone and praised God for it. Despite the facts of the situation, he fully trusted in God and this trust, this faith, was credited to Abraham as righteousness.

This is not just for Abraham. We also are as good as dead. We too believe that God is able to raise the dead to life; it’s what God did with Jesus. Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins and Jesus was raised for our justification.

“Death to life.” This is the promise of God, and this is where we place our faith.- Romans 4

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