Proclaim. Mobilize. Equip.
Call 866-865-6253

An Illustration of Faith

February 3, 2020

“I have made you a father of many nations.” Romans 4:17 (NIV)

Romans 4 may be the most important chapter in the entire Bible on the subject of faith. Paul explains in Romans 3:21 how a man or woman can be right with God through faith. Paul gives the teaching in Romans 3, and then an extended illustration in Romans 4.

The illustration Paul chooses to help us understand faith is the story of how Sarah became a mother and Abraham a father.

At ninety-nine years old, Abraham was an old man. He had married a younger woman, Sarah, and she was moving along at the sprightly age of ninety, but they had no children. One day, God appeared to Abraham and said, “I have made you a father of many nations” (Gen. 17:5).

This is not the story of a couple who long for a child. It is much bigger than that. God said to Abraham, “Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his seed after him” (Gen. 17:19).

The New Testament tells us, “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say ‘and to seeds,’ meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed,’ meaning one person, who is Christ” (Gal. 3:16).

The promise given to Abraham was the promise of a redeemer. A savior would come into the world, and he would be a descendent of Abraham and Sarah. This savior would be for people from all nations. “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Gen. 12:3).

How do you think you might have responded to God’s promise, if you were in Abraham’s shoes?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the Senior Pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the President and Teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

Explore this topic further

Two Enemies of the Gospel

Through Christ and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. Romans 1:5 (NIV) Notice “the obedience that comes from faith.” Wherever you find Christian faith, alongside it you’ll find two views of the...

Read Post
For your gift of any amount

Faith That Lasts

New from Pastor Colin Smith

Get Unlocking the Bible's Weekly Email

"This Week at Unlocking the Bible" features new articles, radio programs, devotionals, and ministry updates

We will never sell or misuse your information.

Share Your Story and Prayer Requests

If you have a testimony or story you would like to share or if you have a prayer request, please use the form below. If you would like someone from our staff to call you, please include your phone number.

We will never sell or misuse your information.

Learn more
about special resources to help you during this time of unexpected crisis.

Get Unlocking the Bible’s Weekly Email

“This Week at Unlocking the Bible” features new articles, radio programs, devotionals, and ministry updates

We will never sell or misuse your information.