"This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness" (Romans 4:22)
Paul, the author of Romans uses Abraham to clarify this point: “Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring...” (Romans 4:16a).
Abraham’s deep trust in God was the sole reason God called Abraham righteous
His point? We have to put complete trust in God to do what we cannot do ourselves. Abraham trusted God when facing impossible circumstances (Rom. 4:19). In the same way, we have to trust God when He says acceptance and right-standing with Himself (righteousness) comes through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:22).
Remember, Paul’s whole argument in Romans until this point is that the living well by following the rules (law) can never save us. The laws purpose is to defeat us so we’ll look outside of ourselves for help (Rom. 3:19-20; 7:10; Gal. 3:10, 23). Abraham’s story is a hyperbolic example of knowing defeat and then looking to God for help.
Abraham’s deep trust in God was the sole reason God called Abraham righteous (acceptable, right, virtuous, good, excellent). It was nothing he did; it was everything God did.
What stirs in you when you hear God declared Abraham was righteous based on nothing he did to earn it?
In what areas of your life are you trying hard to earn God’s acceptance?
Where can you practice trusting in God today?
Previous: Romans 4:21-22 Next: Romans 4:23-24
Original article published July 16, 2009.
"Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised" (Romans 4:20-21)
I remember sitting in an Easter service, tears rolling down my face. My heart cried for children but the constant waiting brought doubt to the surface. Holidays amplified grief.
I remember God’s presence in that moment. I told Him if I never experienced children, it wouldn’t change my belief He had good intentions toward me. We experience brokenness in life but the pain of this world can never overshadow God’s goodness, even if we don’t always see it.
It was one of those declarations that sometimes go unsaid but important to say. Doubt would break something between me and God if I allowed it. I couldn’t nurse resentment or doubt His character. This was my version of what happened with Abraham.
Faith and doubt work together in opposite directions to strengthen trust in God. Coming face to face with doubts, always results in deeper faith. God shows up in questions, even if we never get answers.
Abraham experienced this too. He wrestled with reality. He was old, Sarah was old, she was barren (Rom. 4:19). All reasons to doubt. Abraham also had to wrestle with God’s promise: I will bless and make you the Father of many nations (Gen. 12:2-3; 15:5; 17:5-6). Faith and doubt worked in opposite directions helping Abraham persuade himself God was bigger than the circumstances.
Abraham gave Glory to God, this is key. Through struggle, he got his eyes off circumstances and onto God’s power. Faith swelled until he persuaded himself that God would do what He promised.
Where are you struggling with doubt?
Is doubt overshadowing your ability to trust God?
What is one way to persuade yourself of God’s power to rescue you?
Previous: Romans 4:19 Next: Romans 4:22
Original article published July 15, 2009.