Romans 4:1-12 (ESV)
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
Abraham is heralded as a great man of faith throughout the Scriptures. Although he did have his issues as well. God called him to leave his home and go where He would show him. Abraham packed up and left. Abraham made his wife say that she was his sister when in Egypt, because he was afraid of the Pharoah, But God protected Abraham. God blessed him on his journey and eventually Abraham settled in what is today called Israel.
God told Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, yet Abraham and Sarah were old. Abraham tried to take it into his own hands, and had a son through his wife’s servant, but God said this was not how the promise would be fulfilled. Abraham believed God, and was blessed.
So what does this passage tell us today about how we should live? We need to trust God. Have faith that God will do what He has promised. There are many promises in the Scriptures that apply to any who trust God. There are also many that apply only to the Israelites, and God will eventually call Israel back to Himself. But I digress.
The promises of God that are most applicable in the passage above is that if we believe God, we will be justified. We must be sorry for our sin. We must believe that Jesus paid the penalty for our sin, for Him to forgive our sin. When we trust God, He forgives us. Other Scriptures tell us that without faith it is impossible to please God. We must believe that He IS, and that He rewards those who seek Him.
Paul explains that the descendants of Abraham are not actually the physical descendants, although from the 12 tribes, there are many. The promises of God actually refer to spiritual children. All of us who believe God and rest on His promises are considered the children of Abraham. It is through faith in Jesus and His death and resurrection that we are children of Abraham, and of God.
We must live by faith in God. We must choose to trust Him even when things look bleak. May God bless each of you today and every day as you seek to trust Him more and more.
by Virgil Stripes