July 10, 2008

In Hope He Believed Against Hope

Abraham was a 'hopeless case.' He was almost 100 years old, and his wife was only ten years younger than he (Romans 4:19), and God had promised them a child who would generate the greatest nations on earth (4:17). Abraham's offspring was to be heir of the world (4:13). But Abraham and Sarah were "as good as dead" (4:19). He could not produce seed, and her womb was dead and barren. Sarah couldn't help but laugh at the thought of having a child (See Genesis 18:9-15). Yet God had said, "I have made you the father of many nations," and "So shall your offspring be." (Romans 4:17,18). So God promised, and that settled it for Abraham.

"He did not weaken in faith when he considered the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised." (Romans 4:19-21 ESV, emphasis added).

Abraham believed in God's word. God said it, and so it was to be - 'amen' in Hebrew. "That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness." (4:22). "In hope he believed against hope." He believed in God who raises the dead and calls things into existence out of nothing (4:16). (Yes, God does those things, just look at His creation and see all that came into being when there was nothing to start with). YAHWEH is a miraculous God, who makes impossibilities possible. "Great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts." (Psalm 145:2-3).

"But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification." (Romans 4:23-25). What was counted to him? It was the righteousness that comes by faith apart from works of the law (Rom. 3:22,28). It is a free gift. "For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be garunteed to all his offspring." (Rom. 4:15-16a). Abraham was not a righteous man, he was a sinful man. But by faith in the promise of God (faith in Christ), he was counted to be righteous. We are guilty under the law, fully deserving the wrath that it brings. But by faith in him who raised Christ our Lord from the dead, we also will be counted righteous in Him! Wow! Amazing! Awesome! I can't find the right words to describe the joy that comes with this blessedness (4:6-8).

That is why it says, "To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." (Revelation 1:5-6). Amen!


Stephanie said...

I love Abraham's faith in this account - trusting God for the (humanly)impossible. May God give us this kind of trusting faith as well.

Penn Tomassetti said...

Amen, Stephanie! Thank you for your comment. I totally agree. Not only trusting God for the impossible, but because He who promised is faithful. We should often pray for such steadfast faith in His Word, because faith comes by hearing the word (Rom 10:17).

jeleasure said...

Good post.
Yes, I believe Abraham was a sinful person, just as all are. Abraham was inclined to lie to save his own skin. He was also disobedient toward God on a few occassions.
So, this is the interesting thing. Why did God call to Abram?
Look at Abram's character.

In my blog, "Love One Another" (link on side bar if you enter throgh "Journaling For Growth"), Chapter Three, "Abraham's Righteousness", I wrote of how much of God's character was immitated by Abraham.

Check it out.

Penn Tomassetti said...

I read that chapter when I read your online book "Righteousness to Holiness." We definitely believe differently about why God called Abe.
You might be interest in a future post I'm planning on depravity verses in the Bible (either here, or on my As It Is Written blog). Right now, I'm studying Romans chapter four for a teen Bible study. I did this post, because Abraham's faith is such an amazing example to all of us. Just as God intended it to be :)

Kaysie said...

This was a great reminder for me today. Thanks for the encouragement.


Penn Tomassetti said...

I'm glad you were encouraged! I am totally encouraged by Romans chapter four. I can't wait to share what I've learned with my Bible study group.
Thanks for stopping by.

Holy_Card_Lover_2 said...

I don't want to seem rude, but you're obviously not Catholic. Other Christians don't understand the devotion we have to important people (ie The Virgin Mary, Saints, Angels). When we say a prayer in honor of that person, we are asking them to take that prayer to God so that through that person's intercession, our prayers may be answered. All of those important people are looking out for us until the day we arrive in heaven. We do not pray to the angels or others, only God. God is the only one we pray to.

Holy_Card_Lover_2 said...

Thanks for understanding. And to answer your question, I have to admit that I don't read the Bible as often as I feel I should. But now I am trying to read it book by book, so yes, I do read the Bible. I also read a lot about the Catholic religon because its pretty fascinating.

Penn Tomassetti said...

Hey Josh, thanks for the reply! I'm glad you are reading the Bible. That is great! I started to really read the Bible in depth when I was 19, and since then, I couldn't put it down :)

cj said...

"He believed in God who raises the dead and calls things into existence out of nothing."

I'm so glad we have a God who is able to do this.

In Christ,

Penn said...

Me too! Who else but God could do that?!