In our last visit we found that the essence of faith as presented in Romans 3:21-6:23 is to accept that what God promises He has the power to do and will do it. Let’s now amplify the second point: The action of faith – what it does.
Before proceeding, let me clarify something up front. When I say, what faith does, I’m not suggesting you try to work at living the faith life. Romans 4:5 declares, “To the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” The radical idea, that the one who does not work but trusts God experiences God’s grace, is considered by many to be scandalous. It’s a stumbling block. But it is the truth nevertheless.
We’ve already seen that no matter how hard we try, as sinners we will always fall short of the glory of God. So the action of faith is in contrast to the action of works.
Paul introduces another contrast in 4:18, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed.” Dr. Kenneth Wuest writes, “Abraham’s situation was beyond hope…Yet he based his expectation upon hope. His situation was beyond human hopes, but in spite of that he rested it upon hope in God.” Notice, he turned from the bankruptcy of human effort and turned instead to the total sufficiency of God. With God nothing is impossible, or as Paul put it in Romans 4:17, he believed in “the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.”
Are you confident and content to trust in what many consider impossible, scandalous or foolish?