Abraham’s Faith

Romans 4 20-22

Q. What’s so special about Abraham’s faith that he became the “father of faith”?

A. Abraham’s faith is primarily explained by Paul in Romans 4. Space does not permit citing the whole chapter, just the key verses:

Rom 4:3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Also v 9)
• Rom 4:11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.
• Rom 4:18-21 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.” 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. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

Note the following:
• Abraham believed God – he took God at His word.
• He had faith while he was still uncircumcised. Circumcision came later. He is therefore the father of all who believe, Gentile and Jew alike.
• His faith was against all hope, as it was humanly impossible for him to have children. He was 75 years old (Gen 12:4) when God called him and promised to make him into a great nation (Gen 12:2). He was 100 when Isaac was born (Gen 21:5). He waited 25 years but did not weaken in his faith, or waver through unbelief by looking at circumstances. He was fully convinced that what God promised, He will perform.

Hebrews 11 adds two other examples of Abraham’s faith:

Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
• Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, … Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead

Again note the following:
• By faith Abraham obeyed and left his home country for a place he did not know – faith is never just an intellectual assent, but active obedience.
• By faith Abraham offered up Isaac – his faith is willing to pay the cost, trusting that God will even raise the dead to fulfill His promise of giving him countless descendants.

In short, Abraham’s faith was solely in God and His word alone. Nothing else mattered, neither circumstances, nor the costs. He stood the most severe test. No wonder he is the father of faith.

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