Summary: It is not enough to believe God, we must believe that his words are true
There was a man who got lost in the desert. After wandering around for a long time his throat became very dry, about that time he saw a little shack in the distance. He made his way over to the shack and found a water pump with a small jug of water and a note. The note read: "pour all the water into the top of the pump to prime it, if you do this you will get all the water you need". Now the man had a choice to make, if he trusted the note and poured the water in and it worked he would have all the water he needed. If it didn’t work he would still be thirsty and he might die. Or he could choose to drink the water in the jug and get immediate satisfaction, but it might not be enough and he still might die. After thinking about it the man decided to risk it. He poured the entire jug into the pump and began to work the handle, at first nothing happened and he got a little scared but he kept going and water started coming out. So much water came out he drank all he wanted, took a shower, and filled all the containers he could find. Because he was willing to give up momentary satisfaction, he got all the water he needed. Now the note also said: after you have finished, please refill the jug for the next traveler.” The man refilled the jug and added to the note: “ Please prime the pump, believe me it works”! We have the same choice to make, do we hold on to what we have because we don’t believe there are better things in store for us, and settle for immediate satisfaction? Or do we trust God and give up all that we have to get what God has promised us? I think the choice is obvious. We need to pour in all the water, trust God with everything.
In Romans 3, we explored God’s grace. We discovered that it is only by God’s grace that we are made righteous before our Maker. This week as we travel this Roman Road to a savior, we start to encounter the good stuff. Paul spent much of the first two and half chapters indicting the human race. Then when we thought we could not take it anymore, he introduced grace into the conversation. Yes, humans are indeed sinful and deserving God’s punishment, but God punished His son instead. And through the spilling of the blood of God’s only Son, all who confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior have been made righteous before God. What a relief. We are not condemned. We have been set free through God’s incredible Grace.
As I said last week, even though grace is free, humans often have a hard time accepting it. I think Paul knew this, so before he leaves the subjects of faith and grace, he uses an illustration from our Old Testament, but for him this illustration came for the Law. He goes all the way back to Abraham in Genesis 15. Paul focuses on Genesis 15:6 which says “Abraham believed the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness” Paul points out that Abraham was declared righteous before the law was given. The law was given through Moses much later. In fact, there was somewhere between six to seven-hundred years between the time God promises to make Abraham the father of many nations, and the time that God gave the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai. Abraham was not credited to be righteous through the Law. Abraham never even heard of God’s law. Abraham’s belief in God’s promise to him was credited as righteous because he believed God when God made him a promise that he would be the father of many nations. God made this promise to Abraham, who was still Abram at this point, by telling Abram “Look up to the sky and count the stars- if indeed you can count them. Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be’” Let’s not forget that Abraham was approaching 100 years old when God made him this promise. No one would have blamed Abraham if he didn’t believe God. God’s promise meant that the laws of biology were going to be violated, but Abraham had faith that his God was the maker of the laws of biology, so if God said it was going to happen, then it was going to happen. This is what Paul was referring to when in verse 18 he says “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed, and so became the father of many nations just as it had been said to him, ‘So, shall your offspring be’”