13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”[a] He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”[b]19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
The Leadership Connection – Walnut Creek
Observation: We forget how hopeless Abraham’s situation was. At least, I do. The promise from God — that Abraham and Sarah would have a son, would have a family, would have a future! — must have seemed so remote, so ridiculous. There must be some other way. And Abraham was tempted (like I am!) to make it happen other ways. But “against all hope, Abraham in hope believed.” The old man “faced the fact that his body was as good as dead.” And he was “fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”
I am so often inclined to take matters into my own hands. I can accomplish this by myself, I assume. I am full of self-confidence. Which puts me in a very precarious place: self-reliant, not consulting with God, not recognizing my complete dependence on him, and (sadly) not receptive to the great gifts of his grace.
Action: I need to be “fully persuaded” of God’s immense ability … and of my own inadequacy, limited to my own resources. I need to be reminded of this every day. It’s a total change of perspective for me. An essential spiritual discipline. Deciding every morning, as I walk into every new situation, and as I prepare for each new ministry opportunity, to demonstrate my faith by counting on God’s direction, wisdom and strength. Experiencing the righteousness and power (and hope!) I find in Christ alone.