Summary: How can Abraham be the father of our Christian faith? This exegetical report goes indepth on how.
Abraham: The Father of our Faith?
An in depth analysis of Romans 4:3
Is it faith or the law?
Prof. Bryan McIntosh
Baptist College of Florida
Report Due on the 28th of May, 2004.
As stated in Syllabus for Completion of Course
Brian A. Deida
Table of Contents
II. Abraham: His faith credited to him as righteousness
A. The background of Abraham and his wife, Sarah
1. Her Infertility
2. The Promise
3. His Belief
III. Faith the Central theme
IV. The law cannot save…but only faith
Abraham: The Father of our Faith?
Ask any Christian theologian and they will tell a person that Abraham is the father of the Christian faith. Why would this be so? How can a man who lived hundreds and hundreds of years before the arrival of Christ on this earth, may be credited with such a title. Since Christ, there has never been a more powerful, yet peaceful religion and people on the face of this earth. Of course, overlooking some very misguided people, the Christian faith is one of love, joy, and peace. People of the Christian faith have like no other faith done so much to spread liberty, honesty, and law. What other faith will willingly place themselves in danger in order to peacefully (not forcefully) spread their message.
Now getting back to the point. Abraham was a man who lived peacefully among his neighbors. He married a beautiful woman named Sarai (Genesis 21:11), whom later was found to be infertile. This was just the stage that God needed to orchestrate His will. God wanted a people that He would call His own. It is true that everyone and everything on this earth and in the Universe would not exist without Him, yet He still wanted a huge number of people—a particular people at that—to worship Him. God thus uses these two people in order for the Jewish nation to come about. In it are great and fascinating stories of man and his faith and lack thereof of it, in which God demonstrates not only His love, but His judgment and mercy. Here we see the foundation of the Christian faith made.
II. The Body
Rom 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, hath found according to the flesh?
Rom 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not toward God.
Rom 4:3 For what saith the scripture? And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness.
Genesis 15:6, Abraham is shown to have faith in God for his future. The Bible plainly tells us that Abraham was married to a beautiful woman named Sarai (Genesis 12:14). Abraham loved Sarai, but there was one thing that bothered them both. Sarai was barren…or in modern terminology, not fertile. To be able to give a man an heir was something to be held of highly. Till this day, we hold highly a male in order to carry on the family name. Sought of like a legacy. In fact in other countries where to Gospel is not fully grasped…ex. China…they kill off or just abandon girls because they do not consider them as worthy. It’s a sad fact that is often not reported. But that is a sermon for another time.
The promise to Abraham and Sarah (Sarai, before God changed her name), was as found from the beginning of chapter 15. God visits Abraham in a vision and Abraham asks the Lord for children. God then promises that his children will come from his own bowels and that his seed shall be almost so many that they cannot be counted. So here we see
that Abraham has faith in God that He will do as He has promised. Here is the faith that God wants His people to have, and the first example of faith in God. It is that kind of faith the Paul in the book of Romans is writing about. In fact, the entire book of Romans is dealing with the issue of faith and how faith is the only ingredient required to be found righteous in God’s eyes. It is that faith that counts us in with the seed of Abraham.
Paul first uses the example of Abraham in Romans 4:1. Paul has just gone through the previous chapter trying to makes the point clear that there is not one righteous person on the face of this earth that is sinless. He is making it very clear that no man can follow the law of God perfectly. In chapter 4, we are shown Abraham and in verse 1, is our forefather. A forefather in which way…in the way that he cannot glory in himself for being found righteous in God’s sight by his works alone. We know all too well that even in Abraham and Sarah, that they were both at fault many times. One clear example is the lack of faith he had in God’s protection of his life in Egypt. He led the Egyptians believe that his wife Sarah was nothing more than just a sister to him. So Pharaoh believed it so, and took Sarah as his wife and God thus punished him severely for doing so. When Pharaoh learned of Abraham’s deceit, he rebuked him for doing so.