13 Abraham and his family received a promise. God promised that Abraham would receive the world. It would not come to him because he obeyed the law. It would come because of his faith, which made him right with God. 14 Do those who depend on the law receive the promise? If they do, faith would mean nothing. God’s promise would be worthless. 15 The law brings God’s anger. Where there is no law, the law can’t be broken. 16 The promise is based on God’s grace. The promise comes by faith. All of Abraham’s children will certainly receive the promise. And it is not only for those who are ruled by the law. Those who have the same faith that Abraham had are also included. He is the father of us all. 17 It is written, “I have made you a father of many nations.” (Genesis 17:5) God considers Abraham to be our father. The God that Abraham believed in gives life to the dead. Abraham’s God also creates things that did not exist before. 18 When there was no reason for hope, Abraham believed because he had hope. He became the father of many nations, exactly as God had promised. God said, “That is how many children you will have.” (Genesis 15:5) 19 Abraham did not become weak in his faith. He accepted the fact that he was past the time when he could have children. At that time Abraham was about 100 years old. He also realized that Sarah was too old to have children. 20 But Abraham kept believing in God’s promise. He became strong in his faith. He gave glory to God. 21 He was absolutely sure that God had the power to do what he had promised. 22 That’s why “God accepted Abraham because he believed. So his faith made him right with God.” (Genesis 15:6) 23 The words “God accepted Abraham’s faith” were written not only for Abraham. 24 They were written also for us. We believe in the God who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. So God will accept our faith and make us right with himself. 25 Jesus was handed over to die for our sins. He was raised to life in order to make us right with God.
I love the emphasis on who Abraham placed his faith in. Verse 17 makes it clear that “The God that Abraham believed in gives life to the dead. Abraham’s God also creates things that did not exist before.”. This is not just any god, but the God who wants faith to come through knowing Him and who He is – all powerful, all knowing, and full of grace. Abraham’s God did not desire faith to come through Abraham’s perfection, but by knowing and hearing Him, and then trusting in what He said. How awesome it is that this is the same God we serve! It doesn’t negate us from obedience to what God calls us to or asks from us – far from it. However our righteousness is based on our faith in Him, as was Abraham’s. Even when “there was no reason for hope, Abraham believed because he had hope.” (vs. 18). Abraham chose not to put his faith in his circumstances and let his hope wither, instead he chose to put his faith in God, even when it seemed that what God had said would be impossible.
Reading this, I am so convicted of the way I sometimes choose to put my faith in what’s happening around me – my own ideas, circumstances and resources – or lack thereof. I am so encouraged by and grateful for Abraham’s example, that I would choose to see and know the almighty God who I place my faith in over anything else.
God, thank you so much that you are capable of more than I can imagine, and that your word is true and faithful. Help me to know you more, that I would hear you and trust you every day. Thank you that you are the same God today as you have always been, and that we can confidently place our hope in you. Amen.
Written by Madelaine Tarasenko