Unlimited: The Promise is Guaranteed
Jul 25, 2022 223
Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham (Romans 4:16a.)
It would have been striking to the Jews that Paul is saying that the Gentiles are of the faith of Abraham, since they considered themselves the only legitimate children of the patriarch.
The reason why God’s promise is by faith is so that the Jews, who are “of the law”, and also the Gentiles, who “are of the faith of Abraham”, both may receive it. All who receive it, obtain it by faith, and not by the law.
The promises that were made to Abraham were to bring blessing and salvation to the world.
Paul is speaking generally of the covenant promises that were made originally to Abraham. This is the specific context here and supported by the quotes in the following verses from God’s covenant promises. The promises that were made to Abraham were to bring blessing and salvation to the world, and not to the Jewish people alone.
This inclusion of the Gentiles is possible because the fulfilment of the promise was to come through faith, and by grace. It is faith that appropriates grace. Charles Spurgeon wrote,
Grace and faith are congruous, and will draw together in the same chariot, but grace and merit are contrary the one to the other and pull opposite ways, and therefore God has not chosen to yoke them together. He will not build with incongruous materials… his work is all of a piece and all of grace.
Take some time this week to read the story of Abraham in Genesis 11–25. As you read, ask yourself, “Do I have the faith of Abraham?”