In Romans 4, Paul uses Abraham as a old testament example of how God provides justification to those who believe in Him.
Abraham is a hero of the Jewish faith. Even Abraham the father of all Jews, was justified by faith as well, all the way back in the old testament. Abraham was called by God at the point of time in the world that the Law of Moses did not exist yet. In Genesis 15:6 we are told that “he believed, and it was credited to him as righteousness”. It was the point of belief where he was given righteousness, not after he had “proven” or “qualified” himself.
Even in the time of David when the Mosaic laws did exist, the way of attaining righteousness or sinlessness, is still not in the hands of man. In Romans 4 and Psalms 32 David acknowledges his own sin in his life, and proclaims that those whose sins are forgiven by God, are blessed. So we must understand that being credited with righteousness, or having our sins removed from us, is something that can ONLY be done by God. The law can’t forgive you of your sins, and trying to do more righteous acts could never make up for it.
Abraham, the father of the Jewish people was not circumcised when he was justified. It happened before any so called “works of righteousness”. We must understand that circumcision is one of the main things that the Jews believed set them apart from other people, and qualified them to be the “people of God”. But now Paul is saying that circumcision is just the seal, but not basis of righteousness.
Now, having faith like Abraham is difficult. But we are called to have that same kind of faith as well. We often find ourselves in situations whereby it is hard to believe God’s promises, and place our trust in Jesus Christ and the gospel alone. We often have a compulsive need to depend on logic and the things of this world. But Abraham knew what God had said and promised. Thus he was fully persuaded by God and not by probabilities or science. We have answer God’s call to love Him and love our neighbours, despite what we see in the world today.
True faith will always result in actions. So if we truly say that we believe in Jesus and absolutely trust God, let us leave our comfort zones just like Abraham did. Struggling through the doubts that plague us and tell us that “its not possible”, the same doubts that Abraham faced when he obeyed God.
“Be not deceived… [the devil’s] cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do [God’s] will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” – C.S. Lewis
Hao Yi Tan