Promises Come By Faith—Romans 4:16

"Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all" (Romans 4:16)

The Apostle Paul has just spent the past 16 verses making the case that righteousness cannot be earned. He says it in so many ways that hopefully we’ll start realizing that this right standing with God only comes by faith. Then he turns a sharp corner so all of us reading this letter will have an amazing, jaw-dropping “Ah-ha” moment! Here it is:

“Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed…”

Did you know that God’s promises are guaranteed?

They are absolutely ours in Christ Jesus. Paul wrote the Corinthian church, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Cor. 1:20).

In other words, God wants us to experience all the amazing things He’s promised us (Heb. 6:17-18). So to make sure this happens, He devised a fool-proof way for us to access them: faith.

But here’s where it gets tricky, as faith is like a muscle, and sometimes we have to work at it and learn how to exercise it before seeing any results. This is why this account of Abraham is invaluable. In my opinion, it is the best case study of faith accessing a promise from God. It is a formula that we, too, can use to see the scriptures’ promises come to pass in our own lives.

Here’s what Abraham did to obtain his promise that he would have a son and bless the entire world:

  • He started speaking in faith and understanding that God creates life where none existed (Rom. 4:17).
  • He left natural hope behind and got himself some supernatural hope in order to believe this outrageous promise (Rom. 4:18).
  • He faced the reality of his situation (Rom. 4:19).
  • He started rejoicing in the midst of his pain (Rom. 4:20).
  • He was fully persuaded that God would do what He promised (Rom. 4:21).
  • He saw the promise fulfilled (Rom. 4:22-23).

We are eventually going to examine all of things in detail, but today let’s revel in this amazing, jaw-dropping declaration by Paul that God’s promises are guaranteed by faith because God is so gracious and full of grace toward us.

So let’s prepare ourselves for what’s coming in the next verses:

Do you know a promise from God’s Word for any situation you are facing?

Where are you struggling to believe a promise from God’s Word?

What are the things that affect your ability to believe this promise (i.e., waiting, unsure that it’s God will for you, etc.)?


Previous: Romans 4:15  Next: Romans 4:17

Original article published July 8, 2009.

Juli Camarin

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