One of the first things I noticed in this passage was in verses 15 and 16. In verse 15 Paul reminds us that God becomes angry when His law is broken. Paul then follows that up in verse 16 with a discussion on how important faith is because it is through faith that God’s promise of salvation is assured because of God’s kindness towards us.
How awesome is it to think, no to realize, that even though we all daily sin and cause God to become angry with us that He chooses instead to show kindness towards us simply because we have faith in Him?
God’s anger can be a pretty great and awesome thing to behold. Sodom and Gomorrah were both wiped out because of their sins. The whole earth was destroyed by the flood. God punishes the Philistines severely for removing the Ark of the Covenant from His House. God’s anger is a great and terrible thing. His anger is directed towards us too, we’re told that He is angry when the law is broken, and we break His laws and commandments every day. Yet, because we have faith and assurance in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to die for our sins we’re covered.
That’s all it takes.
Faith and belief.
Nothing really even all that special and unique.
Faith in the promise God made to us through Jesus’ sacrifice which God grants us through grace by virtue of His kindness. Moreover, even in using the Abraham example, Paul is clear that this offer of grace and kindness and acceptance through Jesus to come into God’s kindness is open to everyone, not just the Jews.
The second thing I pull from this passage is the great rewards of faith. Faith is, of course, its own reward and even if faith were the only reward of faith that would be more than enough. We could content ourselves in that.
But, it’s so much more than that.
Whole nations were risen up from Abraham because of his faith and belief in God to be able to do it because that was the promise that Abraham received. The springing forth of nations from Abraham was a gift that he received because of his faith in God and God will bless us and reward us for our faith in him.
The time of my greatest financial rewards from God was also the time of my greatest financial responsibility to him. In 2004 when I was getting ready to enroll at Southwest Baptist University for college I didn’t know where I was going to get all the money I needed. Financial planning and responsibility were never really my strong suits back then.
Of course, are they things that any high school student is good at?
Yet, I tithed my money and earnings diligently and over the course of six weeks I brought home over $3000 after taxes from selling cars including one week where I made nearly $1700. Yet, even though I have personally witnessed God’s rewards for financial faith in Him it is still something I struggle with.
God’s greatest reward for faith was the gift of his only Son Jesus to die on the cross to redeem us. That is an incredible gift, one that I don’t think I would be able to match if I knew I was giving away my only son even if, like God, I had the ability to also raise my son from the dead.
The third thing I pull from this passage is the example of Abraham’s faith. Even when, by all accounts, he should have laughed in God’s face for saying that great nations would arise from him he didn’t. Instead, he believed all the more fervently that it would indeed happen.
How many of us have faith like that?
I know I don’t have a faith that is that strong, strong enough to have an ancient wife and to myself be ancient and still believe that God would raise a nation from me, let alone two of them. I think I would probably scoff and I know I shouldn’t. But I think I would all the same. Abraham is just one of the many great examples of faith that we find in the Bible, and we should strive to have a faith like his. This passage makes me want to redouble my own efforts that building up my own faith into a vast fortress to withstand whatever assaults it might have to face.