Hebrews chapter 11 lists the names of many people who were great examples of faith. But there is one man in the Bible who is called “the father of all those who believe” in Romans 4:11. His name is Abraham.
Christians are those “who live following the faith that our father Abraham” according to Romans 4:12, and are spoken of as “the true children of Abraham” in Galatians 3:7.
Because of his faith toward God, Abraham was justified:
“This shows the full meaning of the Scripture that says: “Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.” And Abraham was called God’s friend.” – James 2:23
When Paul wanted to illustrate faith toward God, he used Abraham as an example:
“Those words (“God accepted Abraham’s faith”) were written not only for Abraham but also for us. God will accept us also because we believe in the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. Jesus was given to die for our sins, and he was raised from the dead to make us right with God.” – Romans 4:23-25
Paul said that the record of Abraham’s faith which resulted in justification was not kept just for him. The record was kept so that we also, by believing the Gospel message, could be justified.
The reasons Abraham was an example of faith are as follows:
He Heard the Word:
Abraham listened to the promises of God:
“Abraham and his descendants received the promise that they would get the whole world. He did not receive that promise through the law, but through being right with God by his faith. … Abraham felt sure that God was able to do what he had promised.” – Romans 4:13,21
He Believed the Word:
He not only heard the promises of God, he believed:
“There was no hope that Abraham would have children. But Abraham believed God and continued hoping, and so he became the father of many nations. As God told him, “Your descendants also will be too many to count.”” – Romans 4:18
“You have not seen Christ, but still you love him. You cannot see him now, but you believe in him. So you are filled with a joy that cannot be explained, a joy full of glory. And you are receiving the goal of your faith–the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:8-9
He Turned from His Hopeless Condition:
Hearing of the Word of God resulted in a change in Abraham’s life:
“There was no hope that Abraham would have children. But Abraham believed God and continued hoping, and so he became the father of many nations. As God told him, “Your descendants also will be too many to count.” Abraham was almost a hundred years old, much past the age for having children, and Sarah could not have children. Abraham thought about all this, but his faith in God did not become weak.” – Romans 4:18-19
Just as men and women lost in sin, Abraham faced a hopeless condition in the natural world. The promise to become the father of many nations could only come through God because Abraham and Sarah were too old to have children.
Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ. There is no other way you can receive the promise except by faith in His plan of salvation:
“I pray that Christ will live in your hearts by faith and that your life will be strong in love and be built on love.” – Ephesians 3:17
He Accepted the Promise as a Fact:
“He never doubted that God would keep his promise, and he never stopped believing. He grew stronger in his faith and gave praise to God.” – Romans 4:20
This is faith toward God.
He is an Example for Us:
The faith toward God demonstrated by Abraham is an example for you to follow:
-Hear the Word of God.
-Believe the Word of God.
-Turn from your hopeless condition (change through repentance from dead works).
-Accept God’s promise as fact. His promise is that you are justified by repentance and faith toward God through Jesus.