Part 4 – Against All Hope
Paul has very thoroughly and successfully answered any questions that the Jewish believers in the Church in Rome might have raised concerning their justification apart from the grace of God through Christ. Just because they were born Jews; just because they were circumcised; just because they followed particular laws (or tried to) did not justify – make any of them righteous before the Lord God. It’s all about God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. So, in this last third of chapter four Paul now addresses the practical implication of what trusting Christ really entails, and what a miracle it is – apart from human effort – and he proves this by talking about the unique and miraculous birth of Isaac – the child of promise – to Abraham and Sarah.
The bottom line is simply this: Abraham and Sarah were both well beyond the human ability to bring forth a child through natural means of procreation. Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 – neither could ‘naturally’ produce a child. That being the case, the only way that the child of promise could be conceived would be if the Lord God – by His grace – brought life into their dead reproductive systems to bring forth Isaac. This way there could be no human involvement, thus no credit – the Lord would receive all the glory. So, against all hope (it was hopeless humanly), Abraham believed – trusted God – to fulfill His promise to make Abraham the father of all those who believe.
This is a beautiful picture of our salvation: The Lord – by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ – brings His life – the Spirit of Christ – into our dead bodies/soul/spirit, thus we are justified, redeemed, born again BY THE SPIRIT, thus the Lord God receives all the glory.
This is also a reminder to all of us that the Lord God is faithful to answer our prayers and fulfill His purposes in and through us – even when against all hope we are called to trust and believe the Lord. This isn’t a guarantee that the Lord will grant to us EVERY desire we have, because we know that often our desires are fleshy. But again, God is faithful – if He has called us to something – if He has promised us something – then we can trust – hope – confidently expect – that the Lord will bring death (or a seemingly impossible answer) to life. God can be trusted.