Friday, December 5, 2014

NTDS (30): Against All Hope

Rom 4:18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him,…NIV

In his letter to the early church at Rome, Paul lays out the doctrine of justification by faith. Because the early portion of the letter is speaking to the Jewish believers, he will use Abraham as an example. It would be difficult for a new Jewish believer in Christ to completely understand that they would be declared righteous by their faith in Christ, rather than adherence to the law, but Paul shows them that even Abraham, who did not have the law, was justified by faith.

In using that example, he brings up a doctrine (teaching), which is critical for the spiritual growth of all believers. It is simply this, when God makes a promise, He will keep it! And since we can be certain that God will keep His promises, we should be unwavering in our faith and trust in Him.

Look what else he says about Abraham.
“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.” Rom 4:20-21 NIV

Abraham certainly could have wavered in believing God’s promise, that He would become the “father of many nations.” After all, he was about one hundred years old and Sarah was beyond childbearing years. It was against any human hope that they would have even one child, but the verse states that Abraham, in hope, believed.

Now, the hope that Abraham had was not what we normally think of as hope. It was not a maybe or possibly. The word in Greek means to anticipate or expect with confidence. He was waiting in assurance for the promise to be fulfilled, not questioning whether or not it would be. That faith was credited to him as righteousness.

Some Christians have difficulty with believing that God will keep His promises to them. That is understandable, because we tend to relegate God to the status of men. We know that people often break their promises to us, so why should we expect God to keep His? They also might have trouble believing that God will use His power to work in their life. “Who am I that God would do this for me” they might ask?

That kind of thinking is a mistake and it is one that will keep us from maturing in our relationship with God. God wants us to trust in all of His promises. If we cannot trust in all of His promises, how can we trust in His promise of salvation? If we doubt His ability to keep any promise to us, how can we trust His ability to give us eternal life with Him? I have found, that people who think this way, often have doubts about their own salvation.

That is why it is so important to look at the example of Abraham and follow that example. He heard God’s promise and even though it seemed impossible, He trusted that God would accomplish that which He promised. He expected God to do what He promised and even though he waited a long time to see it happen, he did not waver in his faith.

Now, you might be thinking, “but God never speaks to me the way He spoke to Abraham.” Well, since there was no written word at the time, God had to speak directly. But we have it even better. We have God’s written word and in that word He has given us dozens of promises. He will keep every one of them. 2 Cor 1:20 tells us that. “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.

The next time you see one of God’s promises in the Bible, highlight it and remember that even against all hope, even though you can’t see how God can possibly keep that promise, believe that He will keep it and wait expectantly for that to happen. If you do, you will see your faith grow and your love for Him abound!

If you need a promise to start with try this, Phil 4:19
 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

God bless you


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