Summary: When we trust in Christ, God takes the righteousness of his Son and applies it to our account.
Grace And Availability
I. Justified By Faith
A. Abraham’s example of justification by faith. (v. 17)
1. As already mentioned, Abraham was not justified by circumcision or by obedience to the Law given to Moses.
2. He lived long before the law was given, and Paul has already discounted the notion that justification comes through circumcision or any other ritual.
4. God fulfilled his promise to Abraham because Jews and Gentiles have and continue to be blessed through him.
5. This promise was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus who was from the line of Abraham but who came to die for all manner of people, not just the Jewish nation. All are blessed through him as they accept him by faith.
6. Paul then maintains this happened simply because Abraham believed God. His actions were similar to Noah’s when he built the ark at God’s instruction even though it had never rained before.
B. Paul’s description of Abraham’s God (vv. 17-19)
1. Abraham’s God could bring the dead back to life.
2. Abraham would later experience this personally when God instructed him to sacrifice his promised son on an altar. (Genesis 22:2)
3. Though God stopped him at the last moment and provided a ram for the sacrifice, Abraham had the faith to go through with the requested action even if it meant not understanding how God would fulfill his promise to bring many descendants through this very son.
4. The writer of Hebrews provides a commentary on this and states Abraham had faith strong enough to believe that even if God allowed him to go through with the sacrifice he would bring his son back to life. (Hebrews 11:17-19)
5. Abraham’s God had power over death and was also all powerful. His power could overcome circumstances that appeared to make no logical sense, such as in sacrificing the promised son.
6. Abraham’s God was also powerful enough to bring things into existence that did not exist before.
7. This belief of Abraham coincides with the account of creation where we are told that God created the heavens and the earth ex nihilio-not out of matter that already existed. Rather, he created the original matter and then formed the heavens and the earth from it. He is a miracle working God.
8. But Abraham’s faith in God began before the son was even born when he believed God could give him and Sarah a son even though he was advanced in age and Sarah was past the age of childbearing.
9. At 100, his body was as good as dead. The word dead refers to Abraham’s reproductive organs which were dead and beyond ever being able to enable his wife to produce a child. His reproductive organs had ceased to function. It was humanly impossible for him to father a child. He and Sarah were “sexually” dead.
10. Once again, we see the importance of the source of our faith. It can be in nothing except Christ.
11. If our faith is placed in traditions, rituals, spiritual heritage, obedience to a set of laws, or anything else at the expense of Christ, we are missing the whole message of God’s Word.
12. In fact, all of God’s promises are promises only he can fulfill. If we have the power to manipulate and bring about the end result, then God is not needed and we are just as powerful as he is.
13. Abraham’s God could make something out of nothing, revitalize a womb that normally would not bear a child, bring a promised son back to life, make him the father of many nations through a resurrected child, and bring a future descendant (Jesus) back to life.
14. His faith was not an irrational leap into the dark. Rather, he chose to let faith in God override his normal emotional response and past experiences and lead him to confidence in God.
C. The Result of Abraham’s Faith-God Declared Him Righteous (vv. 20-22)
1. Abraham did not waiver in his faith. Under the circumstances he faced and that God brought him through, this is an impressive conclusion.
2. Now we might consider the two instances where Abraham told a foreign ruler that Sarah was his sister instead of his wife. He knew the custom of the times and that she could be taken from him, so this was a plan he formulated and she agreed to. Was this not a wavering of his faith where he did not trust God to protect him?
3. Paul is stating that Abraham did not waiver or stagger in his faith where it concerned the son of promise.