Romans 4:17


Friday, 12 April 2013

…(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; Romans 4:17

This is a continuation of the previous verse which stated that the promise belonged “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.” To support this, Paul returns to the fountain, to Scripture – “as it is written.”

When a thing can be argued over and debated against, the surest way to prove one’s claim is to return to the source of the matter. When this avenue is taken, argumentation is quickly cleared up. God spoke to Abraham, “I have made you a father of many nations.” The term “I have made” is tetheika. It is used to indicate a granting or constituting of a matter. This promise was spoken to Abraham as if  it was complete; in God’s mind, the promise is as if it were already accomplished.

Abraham was given the promise from God and he simply believed it, despite its otherwise incredible nature. But the promise after all was from “God, who gives life to the dead.” This phrase is certainly speaking of the deadness of Sarah’s womb which is referred to in verse 19. However, because it is speaking of the calling of life from a dead womb, it demonstrates that God can call anything to life and so through the dead womb of Sarah will come the One who would restore man’s spiritually dead condition. This is evidenced by Abraham’s declaration of righteousness in Genesis 15:6.

Each step of Abraham’s life is used to show us the pattern of our own calling. It is God who restores us to life “and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” Abraham would be a father of many nations. People who appeared to be outside of God’s chosen line are called into it. Those who were once far off are brought near. Those who were dead are called to life. The relationship which did not yet exist in our temporal reality is spoken of by God in a manner as if it already did, and therefore it does.

Life application: The Bible is full of promises which are still future to us now and yet they are spoken of as if they have already come about. For example, it says those who were called are glorified. It also says that when we were saved God “raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” These haven’t yet happened in our stream of existence, and yet to God who is outside of time, they have already occurred. When you’re feeling as if everything is against you and God has forgotten you, remember this. In His mind, you are already seated in Christ Jesus in heaven. It is done and will never be taken away. Your salvation is eternal and your hope is already realized.

Lord God, I am reassured to know that Your promises come from the vantage point which is outside of the stream of time in which I exist. What we see as future, You see as already done. Because of Jesus, I am already seated in Him in the temple of Your heavenly city. Help me to remember this as I face my daily trials. To You, it is already done. Hallelujah and Amen.

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