Monday in the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Romans 4:13-25

Abraham—the Father of All Who Believe, Continued

Paul continues his discussion about Abraham, that central figure in Jewish history, the father of their nation.  Yesterday, we saw that God made a promise to Abraham in Genesis 15:6 that he would have a son, and that Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” (4:3).  Paul used this to show that righteousness comes by faith and not by works of the law and so includes Gentiles who trust in Jesus as well.  Now Paul refers to another passage concerning Abraham in Genesis 17:4-6 where God promises Abraham that he would be the father of many nations.  Again the emphasis is on Abraham believing God’s promise (i.e., faith), and that Abraham would be the father of many nations and not just one (i.e., believing Gentiles, too).  To those who insist that righteousness (that is, a right standing before God) depends on works of the law, Paul reminds them that, far from righteousness, “the law brings wrath,” for the simple reason that no one can fulfill it.  And if one could fulfill it, which one can’t, such would make faith null and the promise void, which is impossible as the promise depends on God’s faithfulness and not ours.  And so Paul writes triumphantly: “That is why [righteousness] depends on faith, that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherents of the law [believing Jews] but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.”

The rest of the passage speaks to Abraham’s faith in God’s promise to him, though his own body was “as good as dead,” at least as that concerned fathering a son at 100 years of age, not to mention Sarah’s barren womb who was also at age ninety.  But he trusted God as the One who “calls into existence the things that do not exist,” and “grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised.”  Did you notice that Abraham grew strong in faith as he gave glory to God?  We grow strong in faith when we praise the Lord.

Paul closes this chapter reminding us that the righteousness which “was counted to [Abraham]” by grace through faith may be counted to us as well “who believe in Him who raised from the dead Jesus Christ our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”  So in chapters one through three, Paul showed us that no one can stand before God on the basis of the law but can only be condemned thereby; in chapter four, he shows us that a right standing before God is available by grace through faith using Abraham as his visual aid, who is the father of us all.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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