The Faith of Abraham
Speaker: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Faith, Hope & Love
Romans 4:13-5:11 (ESV)
13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Presented with a God of grace, we are called to trust him (v16).
1. Knowing who we trust and what He has said
4:21 “fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised”
4:17 “the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist”
4:19 “when he considered his own body… good as dead…”
2. Holding to what has been promised amidst confusion
4:20-21 “no unbelief made him waver… but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able…”
4:22 “that is why faith was counted to him as righteousness
3. Building on a firm foundation for an abounding faith
4:23-24 “the words… were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also”
5:2 “we have also obtained access into this grace”
5:8 “while we were still sinners”; 5:9-11 “more”
Questions for Reflection
What are examples of things you find easy to believe? What are examples of things you find difficult to believe?
What are some of the ways the Bible presents God as trustworthy? What are specific things we are shown or taught that provide a foundation for trusting God?
What are some of the things promised to us in the Bible? Can you think of examples of things you had at one time assumed God promised but you were misinformed or presumptuous?
How is Abraham an example of faith? From what you know of the stories of Abraham (Genesis 12-25), what was the nature of the relationship between God and Abraham, and what did Abraham’s trust in God look like?
Why do we feel at times as if our faith is being tested? What factors account for this kind of experience or are part of the experience? What are some things we should do during these times?
The message of Christianity is that God loved us while we were weak, while we were sinners – Christ died for us, not because we earned it, but because we needed it. How does this inform faith? Why do we need faith? What do we need to believe in specifically? What encouragement or comfort is in this?
What are the benefits we receive in the offer of reconciliation with God? What are the benefits of being given life in Christ?
Are the things presented in Romans 5:1-11 a source of joy for you? Why or why not? How can they become a source of deep and lasting joy?
Prayer of Confession
God of Abraham, creator of the heavens and earth, you who calls into existence the things that do not exist and who gives life to the dead: we are relieved that you are a God of grace. You show us favor when we don’t deserve it. Forgive the offense of our unbelief. Forgive us for questioning your integrity. Forgive us for underestimating your ability. Forgive us for the various ways we have made accusations against you in ignorance. Forgive us for the actions that demonstrate our trust is often elsewhere. Thank you that even while we were your enemies, Christ died for us. Amen.