Romans 4:16-17(NKJV) 16Therefore 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 17(as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”)£ in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
(I want to take a moment to remind everyone that today is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl. Many of the veterans of that conflict are passing from us at this time. It would be a good day to thank any WWII veterans you may know and to remember the sacrifice made by so many to keep us free. Thank God for those who are willing to risk life and limb for our national security.)
This week we are studying the faith “quick start guide” in Romans 4. Abraham is the father of our faith because he is the first one in the Bible to operate according to a set of principles that are common to every faith victory. Anyone can apply these principles and see the promises of God fulfilled in his or her life. By applying these principles, Abraham was able to believe beyond his natural experience. I believe we can do the same.
The first step in the process of faith is that we must have a promise. Faith is simply trusting someone to keep their word. In the case of faith in the power of God, we must trust God’s word. How can we do that if we do not know what God has to say? Abraham had a promise from God that he would be the father of many nations and that the whole world would be blessed by his descendents. For that to happen he had to have descendents. Since his wife had never been able to have children and he was now too old, this was physically impossible.
The process in Romans 4 tells us how to take an impossible promise and make it a reality in our experience. Abraham had the promise so he knew that it was the will of God to do this for him. We have a book full of promises that cover every area of the human condition. If we will find those promises, read them and meditate on them, we will know the will of God for whatever situation we face.
Abraham was given this promise 75 years of age. The promise was not fulfilled until he was 100 years old. What did he have to do to see this promise come to pass? We know that God was the one who had to provide the power for a one hundred year old man and ninety-year-old woman have a child. Abraham could not do that. However, Abraham did have to do his part. We need to know what his part was so we can follow his example.
First, let me say that an aspect of his part was obviously patience. We live in a “right now” society. We expect everything to be instant. However, God does not operate on our timetable. The Lord told Moses his name was “I am.” That implies and that God is always in the present tense. Past, present and future are all the same to him. In God’s way of seeing things twenty-five years is nothing. To us, it is a very long time. If we are going to receive by faith, we must adjust our thinking and be willing to wait on God’s timing. His timing is always perfect.
In today’s scripture, we see step two in the “Romans 4” faith process. Once we have the promise, we need to speak in line with the promise. There was a time where there was much teaching on “positive and negative confession.” I believe positive is better, but that term can be misleading. Look at what Jesus said about words and faith.
Mark 11:22-23(NKJV) 22So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
Proverbs 18:21 says death and life are in the power of the tongue. James 3:1-4 tells us that the tongue is very hard to tame, but if you do tame it, you can steer your whole life in the right direction. Here in Romans 4, Paul says that God “calls things that are not as though they were. How does this apply to the faith process?
The promise to Abraham was that he would be the father of many nations. When God cut a blood covenant with him, God changed Abraham’s name. He had been known as Abram, which means “high father.” God says his name shall now be Abraham, which means “father of a multitude.” That was the promise.
Every time Abraham spoke his name, he was speaking the promise. Every business deal he made, he made in the name of the promise. His wife’s name was also changed to Sarah. This meant “wife of the father of a multitude.” Every time he called her name or she called his, they were speaking the promise of God.
Once we have a promise, I believe we need to fill our mouth with that promise. We need to order our speaking to reflect what the promise says. Let us look at healing as an example. The Bible says in Isaiah 53 that healing is part of our covenant. This is quoted in 1 Peter 2:24.
1 Peter 2:24(NKJV) 24who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
I believe this is a promise we can stand on by faith. By the stripes of Jesus, we are healed. If I have a cold, I can believe God for healing based on this scripture. Once I see the promise and pray for my healing, what should I do?
I meet someone at work who notices I have a cold. I am stuffy and sneezing. They say, “Wow! You’ve got quite a cold there. How are you feeling?” What should I say? If I say, “No I don’t have a cold.” that would be a lie. If I say, “Yes I do. I feel terrible!” I am speaking in line with the cold not with the promise. If I am talking to a believer who I trust to have faith for my healing I might say, “Pray for me, brother. I am believing God for healing.” What we really want to see is that Abraham cultivated a pattern of speaking that reflected his faith in the promise of God.
If you are standing on the promise of God for healing, you want to speak that promise over your life. You need to declare to yourself and to the devil, “By the stripes of Jesus I am healed.” We need to say things in such a way that they reinforce the promise of God and its reality in our lives. “Thank God for healing.” I am the healed.” “God is raising me up.”
That does not mean we should get into bondage thinking that if we say, “I have a cold.” once we would never be able to be healed. It is the pattern that is important. One confession that supports the promise will not negate a pattern of speaking in line with the sickness. Likewise, one confession in support of the sickness will not negate a pattern of speaking in line with the promise.
Sometimes this seems silly to us. However, have you ever considered how much pressure we feel to tell everyone what is wrong in our lives? I believe that pressure comes from the devil because he knows how powerful it is to speak the Word of God.
Listen to what you are saying right now. I believe it will tell you what you really believe. Begin to change your words and you will change the direction of your faith. Step two is to speak in line with the promise.