Disillusioned and disappointed in one of my close relationships, I was moving toward a state of hopelessness. As I shared this prayer request with a good friend, he could sense my doubt of God’s ability to change this relationship. He said to me, “Remember that our question to God is not ‘Can he?’ but ‘Will he?’” My friend reminded me that the question, “Can he?”, is invalid for any Christ follower.
- When was a time you doubted God’s ability to change your circumstances? How did your question of “Can he?” change to “Will he?”
READ THE WORD: ROMANS 4:16-25 (ESV)
16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
18 In hope he (Abraham) believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What, and in whom, did Abraham believe that made him the father of many nations (vs. 17)?
- What was the unwavering hope that Abraham believed God would do (vss. 18-21)? What was the result of Abraham’s unwavering hope (vs. 22)?
- In verses 23-25, whom did Paul say was also credited with righteousness, and for what reason?
- In this passage, did Paul focus on the method or content of justification? Why?
- What would your faith look like to others if you displayed unwavering hope in God while in the midst of seemingly insignificant events throughout your day, seeking him in prayer even for the “little things”?
RESPOND TO GOD
Paul used Abraham’s unwavering hope to illustrate what a credited faith looks like. Throughout the Scriptures, we see that the method of justification is not obtained by human works, but by a “total surrender to the ability and willingness of God to carry out his promises.” We typically surrender in the significant events, but is God not capable in the insignificant as well? Imagine what others would see about God if you sought him for all things throughout your day.
- Ask the Lord’s forgiveness for when you have asked “Can you?” instead of “Will you?”
- Praise him that you do not have to live an “if it’s to be, it’s up to me” way of life.