Summary: how Abraham’s faith was able to take God at his Word and so can we
June 9, 2002 Romans 4:18-25
Beyond all hope, Abraham in hope believed he would be the father of many nations, right in line with what had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded, “God is able to do what he has promised.” 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God would credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death because of our sins and was raised to life because of our justification.
“Figures can’t lie,” said the professor earnestly. “For instance if one can build a house in 12 days 12 men can build it in one.”
“Yes?” interrupted a student. “Then 288 will build it in one hour, 17,280 in one minute, and 1,036, 800 in one second. And I don’t believe they could lay one brick in that time.”
While the professor was still gasping, the smart “ready reckoner” went on:
“Again, if one ship can cross the Atlantic in six days, six ships can cross it in one day. I don’t believe that either, so where’s the truth in arithmetic?”
Then he sat down.
You can’t always trust statistics. Apply this to religious issues, then. Science can’t disprove religion, nor can it produce faith. It concerns me when Christians feel the need to find Noah’s ark or try to prove the flood. If you have to try to prove faith, is it still faith? Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things NOT seen, as Hebrews 11 says. So as we look at the story of Abraham today we will see how like Abraham -
We Have an Illogically Logical Faith
I. Faith is against the logic of the world
Abraham is called the “father of all believers” in the Scriptures. He is the epitome of what faith is about. The reason is plain. Look at today’s text. It says that, Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God. When Abraham was 99 and Sarah was 89 old, God told them they would have a child. Now, if I told the oldest member of this congregation that he or she was going to have a baby, most people would call me coo-coo. I would imagine that most hundred year olds would also say, “I don’t want a baby now!” But not Abraham. Whereas Sarah laughed with unbelief, Abraham believed God and rejoiced with laughter when he promised Him the impossible. It took great faith to believe such a thing. That’s why Abraham is often called the father of believers.
However, did you know that Abraham wasn’t always such a “strong” man? Way back when Abraham was a ripe 75 years old, God had promised Abraham that he would make him into a “great nation” and that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” However, after this initial promise was made, doubt began creeping into Abraham’s mind. Later on, when God appeared to him in Genesis 15, Abraham said to him, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit c my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Abram had reasoned that God must have been speaking figuratively when he said that he would be a “great nation.” But God reiterated to Abram, “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” With a visual aid, God told Abraham - go ahead and count the stars! Do you know how long that would take? The Milky Way has 100 billion or so stars in it. At one a second it would take you 33 years to count a billion. Then God gave the punch line that Paul mentioned, “so shall YOUR OFFSPRING be!” Wow! What a promise! The father of believers then believed the Lord - that even at such an old age he would really have a son.