Romans 10

Greetings!

10     Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

I just did a post on my other blog about Christians and open mindedness.  V. 2 is another example of how being zealous without knowledge is not good. 

5 Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: “The man who does these things will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

V. 9-10 are profoundly simple, but we typically want to make them more complicated than that.  Jesus has done all the work.  There is nothing magical about saying the words.  The key is that you really believe that Jesus is the Lord of your life. 

11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Now there is good news!  If people want the one true God, He will be there for them.  But note how they must call on him.  V. 12 is another of those “Jesus is the only way” passages.

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

This shows how important evangelism is.  If you are a Christian and aren’t equipped or interested in sharing your faith, that is a problem.  You need to change that right away.

16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:

“Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

I think that v. 17 is primarily about evangelism, but I think it also applies to strengthening our faith.  the more I get into the Bible the stronger my faith becomes.

19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”

20 And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”

21 But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

What parts of this stood out to you and why?

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Romans 9

rom-9.jpgGreetings!

God’s Sovereign Choice

9     I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

Some people think we shouldn’t share the Gospel with Jewish people because they are covered under the Old Covenant with God.  But consider what Paul is saying here and how it makes the point that Jewish people need Jesus, too.  He was saying that he’d give up his salvation if he could so the rest of the Jews could be saved.  The point is that he can’t do that, and that they need to come to Jesus on their own.

6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”

10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

16 It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

People don’t like to hear those phrases, but God has ultimate control of the universe and what happens in the end.  The Bible is crystal-clear that God knows who will come to him and who will not.  Some people passionately debate whether God has already decided whom He will draw to him and others think it is due to our free choices (I’m probably over simplifying that, but I’m not trying to resolve it here).  Both sides have compelling Bible passages to support their conclusions.  It is an important topic but I think someone could hold either view and still be a Christian.

19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

Now there is an important and humbling phrase!  God is the potter.  We are the clay.  Too often people want to reverse the roles and make God in their own image.  When you think of things from God’s perspective that is a pretty ridiculous idea.

22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea:

“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”

26 and, “It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.

28 For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”

29 It is just as Isaiah said previously: “Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.”

Paul frequently quoted from the Old Testament.  He reminds the Romans – and anyone else who will listen – that it was always God’s plan to save the Jews and the Gentiles (non-Jews) through the Jewish race.  And He did that through Jesus. 

Israel’s Unbelief

30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.” 33 As it is written:

“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Once again, Paul points out that we are saved by faith, through God’s grace, and not by any righteous deeds or adherence to the law on our own. 

Romans 8

rom-8.jpgGreetings!

Life Through the Spirit

8     Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Not that’s good news.  Meditate on that for a moment.  No condemnation!  Freedom from the law of sin and death!  When you slip Satan will try to make you feel condemned all over again.  Don’t let him.  As  James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

These are powerful statements – just one after another.  And like many passages, they point to the exclusivity of Jesus.  Consider all of Paul’s contrasts and how one side has Jesus and one does not.  Some people like to claim that all religions lead to God, but that is completely counter to what the Bible teaches.

9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

As v. 15 notes, we weren’t just slaves to sin, we were slaves to fear.  But no more! 

Some people think that every person is a child of God, but that isn’t what the Bible teaches.  Jesus loves everyone and wants them to have a saving relationship with him, but only those who trust in him are considered God’s children.

Future Glory

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

If you aren’t sure what to pray, ask the Holy Spirit to pray for you. 

This next section is packed with powerful messages.  You could do a sermon on each verse.  I’ve committed most of these verses to memory. 

More Than Conquerors

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

All things work for the good of those who love God.  All things.  We can trust that even the bad things that happen will work out for the best in the long run. 

God gave up his Son for us.  How will He not also give us everything else we need, for now and eternity?

Satan tries to condemn you, but it is God who justifies.  And as Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished.”  (The debt is paid in full).

Jesus is interceding for you with God the Father.

Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ.  Nothing.

Romans 7

rom-7.jpgGreetings!

An Illustration From Marriage

7     Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to men who know the law—that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3 So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.

4 So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

There is big difference between trying to win God’s approval by doing good things (a hopeless plan) and doing good things out of our love and thankfulness for him – not to mention our faith that what He says in his law is best for us.

Struggling With Sin

7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.

V. 8 captures part of the human condition.  Ever since Genesis 3 our motto has been give us a rule and we’ll break it

13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Here we have the Apostle Paul – arguably the greatest evangelist ever and a stellar Jew by any definition – and he still did things he shouldn’t have and didn’t do things he should have.  He needed a Savior just like we do, and he couldn’t be sinless on his own.  Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean all sin and temptation is gone.  In fact, you may face increased temptation.  Satan loves to trip up believers to quiet us and impact our witness.

21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Paul was really sounding negative and hopeless, but he was just building up to the solution: Jesus is there to rescue him!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Romans 6

rom-6.jpgGreetings!

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

6     What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Some people think that salvation in Christ is a license to sin, but that completely misses the point.  It buys into the myth that sin = fun, when that is not the case at all.  Sin separates us from God and causes misery. 

Once we are saved through faith in Christ we will still sin, but that doesn’t wipe out our salvation.  It does affect our relationship with God.  One example I heard is that if your child spit in your face you would still love her, but your relationship wouldn’t be the same until that issue was dealt with. 

Also, with Christ we can have power over sin and temptation that we didn’t have before. 

5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

“We should no longer be slaves to sin” – Amen to that!  Stop to meditate on that liberating truth. 

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

Slaves to Righteousness

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

When God helps us take something away He doesn’t leave a void.  It is replaced with something better – much better.  We are free from sin, if we will just exercise that freedom.  Now we can be slaves to righteousness.

V. 23 is a classic verse for evangelism.  It reminds us that the payment for sin is spiritual dead.  We are all spiritually dead with a saving trust in Jesus.  But God is so good and generous to us.  He gives us a completely free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5

rom-5.jpgGreetings!

Peace and Joy

5     Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

Note that this says, “peace with God,” not the peace of God.  We can have peace because of our relationship with God and our trust in his promises.  But first we need peace with God.  As James 4:4 says, friendship with the world is hatred towards God and makes us his enemy.  So we need to go from being his enemy to being his friend, and we do that through Jesus.

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Sometimes people “sell” Christianity based on the good things it offers.  It does offer many great things in this life, but we shouldn’t overlook that Christians are also promised suffering in this world.  Many people will think, “I didn’t sign up for this!”  But God uses sufferings for his good and ours.  It develops perseverance and character and leads us to hope.

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Meditate on v. 8 for a bit: Jesus didn’t have to die for us, but He demonstrated his love for us by doing so – even though we were sinners.  He didn’t die for us because of anything noble we had done.

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Paul emphasizes how this all started: Adam (and Eve) sinned and humanity fell.  We have been sinners ever since.  Our only hope is for God to reach down and save us.  Jesus’ perfect righteousness and sacrifice made an acceptable bridge for us to get back to God.

Romans 4

rom-4.jpgGreetings!
 

Abraham Justified by Faith

4     What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

That is a key Christian concept: We are saved by faith, because God credits it to us as righteousness.  We can’t be good enough on our own because of our sinful natures.  But God, in his mercy, forgives us when we put our trust in him. 

But that leaves us nothing to boast about, which actually is a good thing.  Jesus did all the work.  We don’t have to worry if we have “enough” faith – we just have to put our faith in what He did, not what we do.

4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

7 “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”

Yes, we are blessed, and should remember that every day!  Consider the thousands and thousands of sins that God has removed from us if we trust in Jesus.  All the things we did that we shouldn’t have done, the things we should have done but didn’t do, and all the evil thoughts.

9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

16 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 are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

We were spiritually dead before God saved us. 

18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

I love v. 20-21, especially where it says Abraham was “fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”  God promises so many things to us (watch for the promises as you read the Bible).  And we can be 100% confident that He’ll deliver on them all.