Last night at our young adults ministry, The Chapel, we were doing a review of what we had been learning out of Romans over the past couple months. We were going through Romans4, when Paul speaks of Abraham as having his faith counted to him as righteousness, and that he was not justified by works, and that he was counted righteous before his circumcision. We came to
Romans 4:19-22 which reads:
"19Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; 20yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."
I asked "what are some questions that are universal". What are some questions that all people, in all times and places, from every nation, tongue and tribe, color and creed ask at some point in their lives? Some answers I received were, "why is there pain and suffering in the world", "what is my purpose on earth" and so on.
All in all, the fundamental questions that everyone, in some form or fashion, asks at some point in their life will be like these: Origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.
The answers to these questions must correspond with other particular questions, and as a whole the answers when put together must be coherent. (And just as a matter of imparting more information, the three tests of truth must be applied to any worldview which are, logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance, of which Christianity upholds all of those standards, with 100% consistency and cohesion)
So origin, meaning, morality, and destiny look like this, "where am I from", "what is the purpose of my life, and life in general", "how is life governed" and "where am I going".
In Romans 4:19-22 we see the answer to these four questions from a look at the life of Abraham.
V19a "without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body..": Abraham had faith in God, and followed His instruction, in faith. By doing this Abraham is making a statement that he no longer wondered where he was from but recognized that his origin was from the loving, Father who would provide for him along the journey, just as He had provided him his life. "His own body" was from the Lord.
V20b "he did not waiver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God": Abraham recognized the magnitude and importance of faith, and belief,(contrary to every earthly consideration against it) and in that he realized that giving glory to God was his ultimate purpose. The nature of Abrahams faith, was that he believed to the utmost every word that proceeded from the mouth of God. His faith was an obedient faith.
V19-20: By the fact that we see Abraham's faith on display in such a way, as he was even willing to offer up his own son, Isaac, through whom the promise from God would be fulfilled, we see that he believed in the commandments of the Lord, and saw Him as awesomely just, and lawful in all His decrees. His morality was rooted in God's law His character.
V21-22: Abraham saw his destiny as secure in the Lord. He recognized the promise that God had made to him, he also believed Him, and therefore his future was set, and could not be changed because it was in the hands of the Almighty!
Speaking of Abraham, John Calvin says this, “he brought nothing of his own, except a confession of his misery, which is a solicitation for mercy”
Not by works, or good character, right thinking, or charity, but by faith in God alone was Abraham saved, and it was counted to Him as righteousness and without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6)