As in the previous chapters, Paul talks about how we are justified before God and made righteous by faith, not by works of the law. Paul explains how Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.
How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.
v. 10-12 (NASB)
Abraham set an example for us to follow in his footsteps as he, against all hope, believed God was faithful to deliver what He promised him. Because he stood firm in faith, Abraham received what God promised and he became “a father of many nations” (v. 17).
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.
v. 19-21 (NIV)
We can learn by Abraham’s example how to receive what God has promised us in His Word. First, we learn that Abraham didn’t deny the fact that he and Sarah were well past child bearing age. Walking in faith doesn’t mean we ignore the facts. Walking in faith means we trust that God can change the facts.
…God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.
v. 17 (NASB)
Second, we learn that Abraham didn’t allow himself to waver in unbelief. The Bible says, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” (James 1:6-8, NIV). Abraham was spiritually minded. He refused to entertain carnal thoughts of doubt.
Third, we learn that Abraham’s faith grew as he did not allow himself to doubt God. He was fully convinced that God had the power to do what He promised. To receive God’s promises we must be fully convinced in our minds that He will certainly deliver.
I once needed healing in an area. I read God’s promises on healing and believed it was His will for me to be healed, but I didn’t see any change. One evening, when I was starting to lose hope, I cried out to Jesus and told Him if He was here on earth today I would come to Him and He would touch me and I would be healed. I told Him that His Word says He’s the same yesterday, today and forevermore. I cried out for Him to reach down and touch me so I would be healed. Later that night, I awoke from my sleep and noticed my husband was awake. My husband, not knowing what I prayed for, said that while I was asleep God spoke to him to tell me I was healed. Receiving that confirmation took away any doubt and convinced me in my mind that it was already given to me. Because God spoke that promise to me I was able to stand firm in faith and receive what He promised.
It’s not that we don’t have the faith to receive from God. The Bible says that God’s already given us a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). And all it takes is the faith of a tiny mustard seed to move mountains and do the impossible (Matthew 17:20). It’s that our minds need to be renewed and convinced of His will in order to see it come to pass in our lives.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2 (NIV)
We praise You that no matter how many promises You have made, they are “Yes” in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). We want to receive all that You have for us. Help us to renew our minds in Your Word and cast down any doubt, so that we can be fully convinced that You have the power to deliver what You have promised us.
In Jesus’ faithful name, we pray. Amen!
How did God speak to you through Romans 4? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others?
*The series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 5. Have a blessed week renewing your mind in God’s Word!