What might make you uncomfortable:Abraham's blind faith stands as a model and a challenge to modern day believers.
Today's Devotional:Paul's rebuke of the religious Jews early in Romans 3 produces other questions about the Old Testament. What about Abraham, the father of God's chosen people, who lived before the law was given to Israel?
For a little background on Abraham, let's read the story Paul quotes from Genesis 15:
After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
But Abram said, “O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?”
And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.”
He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
The Bible says that Abraham believed God and through faith received righteousness. In this way, Abraham models the life of faith for present day followers of Jesus. We too are challenged to believe that God, "apart from works," is able to save and deliver us from sin (4:6).
Paul's commentary on Abraham showed the Jewish Christians of his time that God had already been saving people apart from works. Abraham, the father of the Jewish faith, was one who received salvation by faith through believing in God.
Some theologians say that just as Abraham was saved looking forward in future to the Cross, we now are saved looked backwards into the past at what Jesus did on the cross. However you look at it, one thing is true: Abraham models a life of faith for present-day believers. His response to the voice of God, by faith, is something present-day believers must strive to attain.
Romans 4 introduces the doctrine of justification into Romans. Justification is a big theological word that just means the forgiveness of sin. By faith, our sins are forgiven and we are made righteous in God's eyes. Later in Romans readers will discover the doctrine of sanctification, which is the process of working out that holiness and realizing it in our daily lives.