Paul teaches in Romans 4 about the faith of Abraham to encourage the Christians in Rome to maintain their course of belief in the promises of God because God is faithful: What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness (Rom 4:1-3)”.
What did Abraham do in faith? He bound his son of the promise, he bound his only begotten son of Sarah, he bound Isaac on the alter of sacrifice: Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about (Gen 22:1-3).
Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90. This was a human impossibility because of their age yet through this promise of God, Isaac was born. This son reaches the age of 12 or more and now another impossible task is required of Abraham, kill your son in sacrifice to me. Abraham never doubted God as he knew God was faithful to him and to his promise of all nations being blessed through the seed of Isaac: 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.” 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. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. Rom 4:18-21
The binding of Isaac teaches us that in every impossible situation God will be faithful to keep His promise. The situation may be difficult, dangerous, and may not even make sense, but if God sends the message, He never will contradict Himself. In the Roman government where humanism was rampant, Paul is helping to deliver a message of hope and assurance in the certainty of God’s unwavering promises. The promises will withstand any onslaught by man to include dying at the hands of Nero which will happen in about six short years after the letter to the Romans is written: 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 into being things that were not (Rom 4:17).
Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together…..Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Gen 22:7-12
Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to [email protected]