ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD
Text: ROMANS 4:17-25
- We have been studying the book of Romans and we have been looking at the example of Abraham as a great man of faith (cf. 4:1-3).
- Over and over Paul has been teaching that no one could ever be saved by keeping the law (cf. 3:28). And he uses Abraham as an example of a believer saved by grace through faith. The Bible says Abraham was not saved by keeping the law. There was no law in his day. He lived 430 years before God gave the law to Moses.
- All throughout the Bible, Abraham is referred to as a man of faith. In 4:11, Abraham is called "the father of all them that believe." Today I would like to point out five things about the faith of Abraham.
I. ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD.
- That sounds pretty simple, but we must remember that some times it is difficult to believe God. Let us look at the context (Rom.4:3; Genesis 15:6).
- Abraham was an old man and he was childless (Gen.15:2,3). The LORD told him that he would have a son (15:4). At his age (he was about 100 years old) it would take strong faith to believe that.
- But thatís not all. God told Abraham to look up toward heaven and try and count the stars. "So shall thy seed be" (15:5).
- "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness" (15:6). This is the context. So the apostle Paul says, "As it is written (17:5), I have made thee (past tense) a father of many nations" (Rom.4:17).
- Abraham believed God Ė "even God, who quickeneth the dead" (4:17; cf. 4:19). Abraham believed in God who "calleth those things which be not as though they were" (4:17).
- God wants us to have the same faith as Abraham (cf. Rom.8:28-31).
II. ABRAHAM BELIEVED "AGAINST HOPE" (4:18).
- Humanly speaking it seemed pretty hopeless. But Abraham "against hope believed in hope" (4:18).
- It seems like a contradiction but what Paul is saying is that even though things seemed hopeless, Abraham kept on believing in God and his faith gave him hope.
- Remember, faith always comes first. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith comes before hope and charity. We will never get anywhere without faith.
III. ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD IN SPITE OF HIS CIRCUMSTANCES (4:19).
- In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 17, verse 20, Jesus said: "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."
- We need to get our minds off our circumstances and have faith in God. Here was Abraham, 100 years old, and his wife Sarah was nearly as old. God told him to look up to heaven (we need to do that too) and count the stars. "So shall thy seed be" (Rom.4:18b).
- "And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now deadÖ" (4:19).
IV. ABRAHAM BELIEVED WITHOUT STAGGERING (4:20).
- The opposite of staggering is steadfast and sure-footed. Abraham was not double-minded. "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God" (4:20).
- Unbelievers stagger and stumble. But Abraham "staggered not."
V. ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD WAS ABLE TO PERFORM (4:21).
- Abraham was "fully persuaded" in his mind that God was able to do what He said Heíd do (4:21).
- Here is where many people fail. They do not believe the Bible. They donít believe theyíre sinners. They donít believe they deserve to go to hell. They donít believe Christ can forgive their sins, and save them and give them eternal life.
- He is able to deliver thee, He is able to deliver thee;
- Then there are others who believe God can save them but they do not believe God answers prayer, can change their lives, direct them, etc.
- Women do not believe God can provide a good Christian husband so they run off and marry unsaved men. Parents do not believe God can help them raise their kids so they go to the world for help.
- Young people do not believe God can provide for them if they surrender for full-time Christian service so they refuse to go even though God is calling them.
- Christians work on the Lordís Day because they donít believe God can provide the money they need to pay their bills. Christians send their kids to the worldly public schools because they donít believe God can provide for the money for tuition at a Christian school.
- Abraham was fully persuaded that God was able (4:21).
- I came across some wonderful statements from John Bunyan: "Faith will help the soul to wait, though God defers to give, but unbelief will snuff and throw up all, if God makes any tarryingÖFaith helpeth us when we are down, but unbelief throws us down when we are upÖFaith makes the ways of God pleasant and admirable, but unbelief makes them heavy and hard."
- Once again Paul repeats (because it is so very important), "And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness" (4:22).
- Paul repeats this Scripture four times in this chapter. It is the key to the whole passage (4:3,5,9,22).
Though by sin oppressed, Go to Him for rest;
Our God is able to deliver thee.
- By studying the Bible, and by following Paulís logical presentation, we can conclude that Abraham was justified by faith. But the Jews, who teach salvation by works, point to Abraham and say, "We are following Abraham." We donít have the time now, but read John 8 and see what our Lord said about that.
- To his fellow Jews, Paul says, "Now it was not written for his (Abrahamís) sake aloneÖ" (4:23-25). Godís method of saving Abraham and counting him righteous is also Godís way of saving us and counting us righteous.
- God told Abraham: "You will have a son." The Messiah was to come through that son. Jesus died "for our offences" and He rose from the dead "for our justification" (4:24,25). If we believe this, God imputes to us the righteousness of Christ.
- Abraham was saved the same way we are saved. He looked forward to the cross and we look back to the cross. Our Lord said to the unbelieving Jews of His day, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad" (John 8:56).
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