(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb:He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness(Romans 4:17-22)
Abraham’s faith is the model of saving faith for all true believers in God. “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned unto Him for Righteousness”. It was God who initiated it, having revealed Himself to Abraham, true faith is but a believing response to God.
The object of Abraham’s faith was God himself. Abraham believed in and as we shall see clung to two particular attributes of God as revealed to him by God.
“God quickens the dead”. Remember that when God came to Abraham to make of him a new nation, a miracle people,Israel, Abraham and his wife Sarah were long past the child bearing age. “Their bodies were as good as dead”. In order for the promise of God to be fulfilled, they would have to believe in resurrection! God gives Life to the dead!
“God calls those things which are not, as though they were.” This is the faith that knows that God’s spoken word brings to pass the thing which it decrees. Abraham and Sarah were barren and dead, but because God said they were the parents of many nations, that is what they became.
Remember that his original name was Abram, “exalted father”, but God changed it to Abraham, “father of many nations”. God’s spoken Word remade Abram, into Abraham, not because of any ‘works’ Abraham performed, but because God spoke it. As the angel told the virgin Mary-“With God, no word shall be void of power”(literal Luke 1:37).
The exercise of this faith was difficult. Abraham “hoped against hope” at times, in other words he believed God, in spite of their being no natural hope, he received hope that transcended the hopelessness of the situation, clinging to the promise of God in the face of He and his wife’s barrenness.
He had to actually “consider not his own body” as well as the “dead womb” of Sarah, his wife, in order to believe in the promise of God, that “he who promised it would actually bring it to pass”.Rather than consider his body, Abraham reminded himself and his wife continually of the promise ,”so shall thy seed be“.
There were setbacks, such as when he and Sarah compromised,reasoning together that they could fulfill the promise by using Hagar the bondslave to conceive by proxy. This complicated things immensely and delayed the fulfillment, and the cost of Abraham’s Ishmael is evident to this day.
God’s assessment of it is that in spite of the above, Abraham “didn’t stagger at the promise of God in unbelief”, but grew strong in faith, glorifying God. Faith glorifies God because it honors His Word, and gives him the credit for what He has done. Abraham’s faith was sorely tested but the outcome was his full persuasion, that “what God has promised, He is able to perform”.
This faith in God, pleased God, Abraham, a former idolator and sinner, became “The friend of God” and the prototye of all after, who would hear God’s voice, leave the world, and believe in the resurrection and God’s gift of imputed Righteousness.