Abraham is given as the example of faith by Paul. He was an old man who was given an amazing promise by the Lord that he would be a father of many nations. He believed patiently for 25 years for the promise to begin to be fulfilled – Romans 4:3 “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness”.
So what is faith and what are the results? This passage gives us a glimpse.
Faith is in God, v.17
Abraham enjoyed the presence of God in whom he believed. Faith in God gives life to the dead and creates.
Faith believes the impossible, v.18
Because God can do the impossible.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). An old African-American woman had so much confidence and trust in the Lord that someone said to her, “You have so much faith that if the Lord told you to jump through a stone wall, you would start jumping.” She replied, “If the Lord told me to jump through a stone wall, it would be my business to jump, and his business to make a hole in the wall.”
Faith keeps going through thick and thin, v.19
Abraham was good as dead but kept believing what the Lord had said to him. He knew Sarah was well past childbearing age too, but he kept believing what the Lord had told him. It’s like the illustration Andy Richards gave a couple of weeks ago about healing, with two chairs – one representing what the Bible says about healing, the other our experience. They may be far apart, but we don’t move the Bible chair towards our experience. We look to God, have faith in God to move our experience towards what the Bible shows us.
Faith is undivided, v.20
Paul tells us he didn’t waver, but grew strong in his faith and was fully convinced, despite the circumstances.
Faith rests in God’s promises, v.21
God does not lie. If He has said it, it will happen.
So Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.
Therefore, since we have faith we…
Are Justified – declared not just not guilty, but also righteous too. Acquitted of all charges against us.
Have Peace with God – we are reconciled to Him, friends with the Father who has now adopted us.
Have Access by faith – the way into the Most Holy Place is open access. There’s an open heaven! The curtain has been torn in two, so that we can enter the Father’s presence at any time, with no fear! Apparently the High Priest wore a jangly bell on his waist and had a rope tied around his waist, so if he died because of his sin on the day of atonement when he entered the Most Holy Place, the bell would stop making a noise and they’d pull him out. It’s no less holy now, but we have been made holy and can enter without fear any time and any day.
Rejoice in the hope of glory – A Christian can be full of joy and rejoicing even when times are tough. Knowing that when we suffer, endurance is produced and endurance builds character and as our character is built we have even more hope. Hope comes in the form of God’s love poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
Are Reconciled – we are no longer enemies of God, but friends.
Jesus died at the right time for sinners. We had no hope without him and it is His blood that took away God’s wrath for our sin.
And that leads to more rejoicing v.11.
Hallelujah for God’s grace that we receive by faith!