Why does Paul highlight the faith of Abraham?

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An example of faith

Paul presents Abraham as a champion of faith. The life of Abraham provides a powerful illustration to the right kind of unwavering trust in God. Abraham’s faith in the promise of a son by Sarah (Genesis 17:15–22; 18:9–15) should parallel the Christian’s faith in “Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Romans 4:24). The patriarch believed in God’s power which is beyond nature. His faith was in One able to bring life to that which is naturally dead.

Faith a relationship with God

The faith that Abraham had was not a mere belief that God was telling the truth but a living relationship. Abraham believed God (Romans 4:3, 17) and put his faith in His Creator, not in something impersonal. His faith was not in a dogma or in a doctrine but in a Person. Since it was God who made the promise, Abraham believed it without question.

Abraham’s knowledge of God and trust in Him were such that he was ready to accept all that the Lord said and to obey His orders. He loved, trusted and obeyed God because he knew Him and was His friend (James 2:21–23). Thus, it was possible for Abraham to obey even when humanly speaking it seemed impossible.

With faith there is no doubt

To doubt God’s promises or His love is to dishonor Him, because to doubt is to question His character and His word. For some, it is more difficult to believe that God can love and forgive them, notwithstanding their wickedness, than it was for Abraham to trust that he would have a son. But trust in God that He can do what seems impossible is essential. The sinner honors God by trusting His love, grace and mercy as much as Abraham did by trusting His power.

Real faith means conviction

The life of faith is a life of trust and assurance. Abraham’s life was one of constant faith and obedience, despite the seen proofs that might have tempted him to believe otherwise. Like Paul, he said, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). God expects no one to believe Him blindly. He has granted to each person enough evidence upon which to base his trust at the cross (John 3:16).

Righteousness the fruit of faith

Moreover, Abraham foresaw the gospel of salvation. He realized that his justification depended on the atoning sacrifice of the One to come (Galatians 3:8; John 8:56). “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3). It was Abraham’s gratefulness and acceptance of the sacrifice and the righteousness of Christ in place of his own unrighteousness that was accounted to him for righteousness.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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