If we tried to obtain the benefit of Godís promises by our own efforts, then we could never succeed. Instead, we would only bring Godís anger against us for our many evil deeds (4:15; 3:23). Godís law tells us his standards for our lives; but none of us lives by his standards.
Instead, we must receive the benefit of Godís promises by faith (belief and trust in God). In other words, we must believe and trust God. Godís kindness is not something that we can earn by our own efforts. It is Godís free gift to the person who believes and trusts him. Our faith is necessary because by it we express our agreement with Godís promises (2 Corinthians 1:20). By faith, we show that we want God to do these wonderful things in our lives. Faith is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8); God gives faith to us so that we can trust him.
People from every nation can receive the benefit of Godís promises by faith. That includes the Jews, the nation to whom God originally gave his law. It also includes the people from other nations who become Christians. They too have the same kind of faith that Abraham had.
In verse 17, Paul refers to Genesis 17:5. Abraham was formerly called Abram. God gave him his new name to show that he would be the Ďfatherí of many nations. Here Ďfatherí means that they would behave like him. In particular, they (the people from many nations) would have the same kind of faith that Abraham did. Therefore, they would know a right relationship with God, as Abraham did.
Next part: Abrahamís beliefs (Romans 4:17)
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© 2017, Keith Simons.