Monday, December 12, 2022

2022.12.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 4:18–22

Read Romans 4:18–22

Questions from the Scripture text: What didn’t make fleshly sense for Abraham to do (Romans 4:18)? But what did he do in this hope anyway? And what did he thus become? According to what previous prophecy from Genesis 15:5? Although his body was weak by that point, what wasn’t weak (Romans 4:19)? What two things did he not consider (cf. Genesis 17:17b–c)? What didn’t Abraham do (Romans 4:20a)? What was done to him instead (verse 20b)? To Whom did he give glory (verse 20c, cf. Genesis 17:17a)? Of what was Abraham convinced about God (Romans 4:21)? Of what was this Genesis 17:17 faith an example (Romans 4:22, cf. Genesis 15:6)?

Where can we get faith, strength, and righteousness? Romans 4:18–22 looks forward to the devotional in this week’s midweek meeting. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that we can get strength, faith, and righteousness from the same One from Whom father Abraham obtained them: the God of provision!

In Romans 4:16-17 last week, the Spirit was answering the question of what Abraham found with the marvelous response from Genesis 17: it was God Himself that Abraham had found by faith. Now, in these five verses, we have a deeper dive into what God was doing in Abraham in Genesis 17:17–18. God displayed Himself as the God of provision. God was providing Abraham with strength, faith, and righteousness. 

Provision of FaithRomans 4:18. “Contrary to hope” (i.e., how men, from their flesh, hope), Abraham “in hope believed.” God gave Abraham the grace-produced hope of faith: being sure about what God has said, because God Himself made Abraham sure. This grace-produced faith (not the birth of Isaac) is what made Abraham “the father of many nations” (Romans 4:18). This grace-produced faith is how to identify the descendants of Abraham (cf. Romans 4:11-12). It’s not by their physical DNA, but by the “spiritual DNA” of faith.

In Genesis 15:5, God had promised Abraham an uncountable number of descendants, and now Romans 4:18 tells us that it was actually in the very next verse (Genesis 15:6) that God made Abraham their father, because it was then that He gave Abraham faith! 

Provision of StrengthRomans 4:19-20. The word ‘faith’ in verse 19 is in a form that is probably “instrumental.” It was faith that kept Abraham from being weak, because it was through faith that “He did not consider” either his own body or the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 

The wonderful thing about faith is that it views God as its power, not itself as its power. So, whenever we operate by faith, it is then that we are not weak but strong. So, Romans 4:19 tells us how it was that Abraham was strong in this moment: he was operating by faith, which considers God, instead of himself or his circumstances. By strengthening Abraham through faith, God enabled Abraham to give glory to God (Romans 4:20). 

This explains both Genesis 17:17 and Genesis 17:18 and the God’s different response there (“I have heard you,” Genesis 17:20) than His response to Sarah in Genesis 18:13–14. Abraham’s laughter (Genesis 17:17) was the laughter of joy because he was absolutely certain that God would do this. Abraham’s prayer (Genesis 17:18) was the prayer of a believing father praying that his son would be a blessed believer too. Would you be strong? Seek from Christ, by His Spirit, the faith that makes God Himself your primary consideration in every circumstance.

Provision of RighteousnessRomans 4:22. Thus, we see that Abraham’s response to circumcision was not what gained righteousness for him. Rather, the response itself had been granted to Abraham through faith. Through faith, God gave Abraham a right response to circumcision: rejoicing over how certain are the promises of God. 

Faith had been the mechanism through which righteous standing was imputed to Abraham (Romans 4:22, cf. Genesis 15:6). And now, ongoing faith and strengthening faith was also the mechanism by which righteous responses to God were being worked out in him. Father Abraham’s children may look forward to Abraham’s God growing them by means of faith, just as God did to him. He is our God of promise, our God of power, and our God of provision!

How do you know that God’s promises are sure? How do you know that God wants you to be sure about them? What displays of God’s power should you be keeping in mind? Who will help you do this?

Sample prayer:  Lord, grant unto us the faith to be sure about Your promises, so that we may be strengthened by Your power, which we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP117B “What Blessedness” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace” 

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