God’s Promise Realized through Faith
For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.
For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.
I took a wonderful hike this morning – the air was crisp and cool. the sun was shining, and there were still some autumn leaves that hadn’t fallen as yet. As I was walking along the trail (which was covered in damp, fallen, now-brownish leaves), I came across this singular grouping of green leaves. I was struck by how they stood out amongst the browns and dull yellows on the path. I was walking a very good pace, but I just had to stop and take it in for a few moments (and of course take a picture). This was a picture that I just kept thinking about today and I think there’s a connection between this picture and this part of Romans 4 – specifically in something standing out amongst everything else. Throughout this section of Romans, Paul has been speaking about Abraham’s faith being credited to him as righteousness – a gift of God. But Abraham’s life also reflected this reality – it was in how Abraham lived, believed, and followed. Those were not the things that “saved” Abraham, but instead reflected (stood out) about the internal part God was doing in him. I have experienced many people in my life who “stand out” in a way that makes me wonder what makes them tick and makes me want to “have what they have.” So, let God’s work inside stand out to others and to the world.