18 Against hope Abraham believed in hope with the result that he became the father of a crowd of nations according to the pronouncement, “so will your descendants be.” 19 Without being weak in faith, he considered his own body as dead (because he was about one hundred years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not vacillate in unbelief about the promise of God but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that what God promised he was also able to do. 22 So indeed it was credited to Abraham as righteousness. 23 But the statement it was credited to him was not written only for Abraham’s sake, 24 but also for our sake, to whom it will be credited, those who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was sacrificed because we had transgressed and was raised because we had been declared righteous.
Faith can be a nebulous thing if we do not pay attention to the concrete analogies that the scriptures use to describe it. One of those concrete analogies is found in Paul’s description of Abraham’s faith. He described Abraham’s faith as a trust in God’s ability to raise the dead. His own personal death was not in view. The death he feared was the deadness in Sarah’s uterus. She was absolutely too old to have children. Yet, God promised that she would not only have children, but that many nations would call her their mother. Abraham believed that God was able to do the impossible, so he trusted God to raise the dead.
Now, Paul turns to the present – first century Rome. He looked at a group of Christian believers – some Jews, the rest Gentiles. Their faith is like Abraham’s faith. Like Abraham, they faced an impossible reality. Their savior had been nailed to a cross, and died. But their savior was raised from the dead. Like their ancestor Abraham, they dared to have resurrection faith. That is the kind of faith that God gives – and responds to.
LORD, help us to reflect the resurrection faith of our father Abraham.