An Example of Saving Faith: Romans 4:17-22
”17) … in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18) In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.” 19) And Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20) yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21) and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22) Therefore also IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Romans‬ ‭4:17-22‬ ‭
Living by faith in God has been denounced as being irrational, illogical, unreasonable and sometimes even reckless. Those charges are true only if God does not exist. But if God does exist, then ignoring Him and His Word is the utmost foolishness.
The above text says that when God spoke to Abraham about the promise of a son through Sarah, he took inventory and concluded that humanly speaking it was impossible. He was very rational about his plight. But then He took his eyes off from all of the odds stacked against him and instead began to fix his focus on God and His Divine power.
The text includes a list of some of his considerations and conclusions about God. From verse 17 we discover that He realized that God gives life to the dead, and calls into being what does not exist. Suddenly his plight seemed small compared to the God Who Created everything from nothing and then brought life into being. By the way, that is the distinguishing characteristic of the God of the Bible. He is the Creator God!
Then from verses 20 and 21, he began to focus on the character and power of God. He concluded that if God makes a promise, He had the power and integrity to keep His Word. God would not and could not make a promise He was unable to keep. Suddenly Abraham realized that the fulfillment of the Promise was Gods responsibility.
The results of this conscious focus on God were amazing. Instead of becoming weak in unbelief, he grew strong in faith and started giving glory God. For the first time Abraham started trusting God and very possibly discovered the power of praise and worship.
He stopped trying to do it himself through fleshly efforts. That had failed with Ishmael. Instead, It was at this point he switched his focus and thinking from himself to God. We could say that Abraham came to the end of himself and simply started trusting God. Soon his faith started growing. Through this new focus and way of thinking, he became strong in Faith!
I have discovered that faith grows the same way for me. The more I focus on myself or the bad news in the world today, the more cause I have for despair and feelings of futility. But the more I learn about God from His Word and the amazing stories about Him in the Bible and living testimonies from others, the more my faith grows.
In the process, Abraham was justified by faith. He became an example of what it means to live by faith in God. Notice, he did not merely have faith in faith or hope in hope. Many make that mistake. That is the plight of the atheist and the agnostic. Abraham anchored his faith in God!
The same is true of salvation. Instead of trusting in our religion or good deeds to save us, we put our faith in God and His plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. John 1:12 says we receive Him through faith and thereby become children of God. We trust God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. God becomes our anchor and foundation.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global