Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to preach from Romans 4:16-21 in our morning worship service. We continued in our study of Romans together and the sermon was a continuation of Paul’s illustration of justification by faith alone in the life of Abraham. Paul demonstrated the reality that Abraham was saved by faith and then continued to walk by faith rather than sight.
As we will see in this text today, God promised Abraham and Sarah a son—Isaac. They were elderly when the promise had not yet been fulfilled, but God always keeps his word and in their old age, Isaac was born. After their son was up in age — God asked of Abraham something that placed him at the juncture of trust and doubt. Would he trust God or would he doubt God? God commanded Abraham to take Isaac up to a specific location that he would tell him, and to sacrifice his son. Abraham prepared for their journey and took Isaac with him. As they journeyed to their location to prepare for the sacrifice, Isaac asked his father a very important question.
Genesis 22:7–8 – And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”  Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
Notice the words of Abraham—”The LORD will provide.” This is coming from a man who trusted the LORD to provide a son, and now he’s trusting the LORD who is telling him to take away his son. In the Genesis account, we find God proving Abraham’s faith and prevented him from sacrificing his son—while providing a different sacrifice.
Genesis 22:9–14 – When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.  But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”  He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”  And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.  So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”
Paul is driving home the point that since Abraham was not saved by his law keeping, his salvation is not only initiated by God, but it’s performed and preserved by God—from beginning to end. The beautiful reality that’s also driven home is that this promise isn’t merely a Jewish promise. It’s a promise for all of Abraham’s seed who are in Christ and circumcised of the heart (Rom. 2:29).
In the text of Romans, Paul points to the promise of salvation and uses the word Guaranteed (βέβαιος) to drive home the reality of and certainty of God’s promise! Paul later drives that same point home with a theological focus rather than historical focus as he does here in the fourth chapter of Romans. In Romans 8:29-30, the component elements of salvation are clearly demonstrating the security of our hope and promised salvation in Christ.
The God who raises the dead and called into existence everything that is from nothing—is the God who secures our salvation in Christ. We can be grateful and thankful that our salvation is not up to us. Mark it down, if it was up to us to keep ourselves saved, we would have fallen from grace long ago.
No matter what we face in this life, we always have the hope of God before us. Thomas Brooks once stated, “Hope can see heaven through the thickest clouds.”