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Tuesday - August 04, 2020
Once More on God’s Promises and God’s Law
Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did. (Romans 4:16-17)
We can have great certainty concerning the fulfillment of God’s promises, because grace and faith are the foundation of our assurance. “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed.” Grace is the heavenly resource behind all of God’s promises. Faith is the simple means of accessing that grace. These realities make God’s promises certain to all who believe them, whether Jew (“not only to those who are of the law”) or Gentile (“but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham”). This is how Abraham related to God’s promises. Thereby, he became the spiritual leader for all who would follow His example: “who is the father of us all (as it is written, ‘I have made you a father of many nations’) in the presence of Him whom he believed.”
The true and living God, whom Abraham believed, is given here two ascriptions that also strengthen our assurance in His promises. First, He is a God “who gives life to the dead.” Consider the impact this attribute has on our confidence in God’s promises. Often, the promises of God must overcome death (or deadening circumstances) in order to be fulfilled. The promise that Lazarus would live again was given while his dead body was lying in a tomb. “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25). Often, the deadness of our own circumstances wants to challenge the certitude of God’s promises. Yet, the God who has made to us a multitude of promises is the God “who gives life to the dead.”
Second, our God of promises is one who “calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” We are not yet personally righteous (in any intrinsic sense). Yet, God calls us righteous (justified, declared righteous in Christ). “Whom He called, these He also justified” (Romans 8:30a). We are not yet glorified (experientially). Yet, God speaks of our glorification as already accomplished. “Whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:30b). What a joy to know that our God of promises will bring to pass actually that which He promises prophetically.
Lord, my heart is comforted, and my faith is strengthened by the undeniable certainty of Your promises. Death or deadness cannot prevent Your keeping of Your promises. The lack of existence cannot keep You from bringing forth what You declare as real. What blessed assurance is available through Your promises—by grace through faith!