Summary: Chapter 4 vv. 1-8 contrasted faith & works; vv. 9-17 contrasted law & grace; now in vv. 16-25 we see the contrast of life & death.
Children have a can do attitude: "I can do it my own self!" We chuckle at them.
1) Abraham & Sarah were as good as dead.
• If ever there were 2 people with one foot in the grave, and the other on a bannana peel it’s Abraham and Sarah. He 100, she 90. No children, though they wanted them.
• They thought God needed their help to fulfill His promise; God needed their cooperation. Sarah had a bright idea: give her servant girl to Abraham and get a child that way! The result was sinful, & though the child was blessed of God, Ishmael is a curse on Israel to this day.
• When God told them, Abe & Sarah both laughed, they both doubted. Abraham actually questioned God’s ability to keep His promise. The deadness of their bodies was no hinderence to God.
• Paul (17) identifies God as “He who quickens the dead.” Abraham & Sarah were “dead,” being well past the age of child-bearing (Heb. 11:11-12). God quickens the dead. Eph 2:1-10
2) How was Abraham saved?
• Was Abe saved by faith in Jesus, as we are? Yes, though he did not know Jesus’ name, Abraham knew of Him by God’s promise.
• Abraham believed God & it was counted as righteousness to him. NASB: reckoned; NKJ: accounted; NIV: credited.
• One of the distinctive Christian doctrines is the resurrection of the dead. No one else believes in the resurrection, we do. Heb 9:27-28 This idea got Paul an argument on Mars Hill in Athens.
• Our salvation was planned in the past, carried out in the present, with results that began when we were saved, & which continue into the future. So we are being saved, but God is not through with us.
3) What is faith?
• Heb 11:1-2 tells us "Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." When you have no way of knowing what to believe, you can have faith in God.
• Sometimes the Greek word "pistis" is translated as "faith," sometimes as "believe." What do you believe? Where do you put your trust? Do you live up to your own expectations? Rom 7:14-25
• You can have faith, believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, John 1:12 "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.