Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. —Romans 4:9–12
Through Abraham, we learn the following seven things about real faith:
1. Real faith comes with risk and loss. Abraham lost his home, his business, his land, and his family. He risked
everything. If you’re looking for the easiest, most guaranteed success path, you can’t walk in faith.
2. Real faith is not perfect faith, but faith in a perfect God. Abraham’s faith wasn’t perfect; he gave away the Promised
Land once and his beloved wife twice, but God was faithful to return both. David’s faith was not perfect either. But their faith was in a perfect God. “If we are faithless, he remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). Their faith was imperfect, but the object of their faith, the God of the Bible, was and is perfect. And God does perfect work through imperfect people. That is a great encouragement.
3. Real faith struggles to trust both God’s will and timing. Abraham struggled to trust God’s promise as he waited from age 75 to 99 for his son to be born.
4. Real faith has always been in Jesus Christ. Abraham looked forward to Jesus’ first coming. We look backward at His first coming and forward to His Second Coming. Sometimes people will think the Old Testament and the New Testament are different paths to relationship with God, but they are the same. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
5. Real faith results in obedience. Abraham’s trust in God resulted in him doing what God told him—like leaving his country and family and establishing a new nation.
6. Real faith grows as God proves faithful. After waiting more than two decades for his son to be born, Abraham’s faith grew so strong that he even trusted God could bring Isaac back from the dead if needed (Hebrews 11:17– 20). You may one day retire from your job, but please don’t retire from your faith. We need seasoned veterans in the faith battle to help train up the next generation of troops.
7. Real faith sees beyond this life. Hebrews 11, the great treatise on faith in the New Testament, says Abraham “was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (v. 10). Faith not only gets us through this life, but it also gets us into eternal life. With faith, death isn’t the finish line; it’s the starting line. Faith sees into eternity and continues the walk with God into forever.
Which of these seven faith lessons is God teaching you right now?
This is an excerpt from Theology for Everybody: Romans, a 365-Day Devotional, click here to get your copy.
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