For the proclamation of the Gospel and the edification of the Body of Christ
Abraham and Paul (1)
The lives of Abraham and Paul have many similarities as two men of God that lived by faith. God’s sovereignty has allowed that these two men-and their experiences- be registered in the scriptures as examples, guides, and comfort in our own spiritual experiences.
In Romans 4, Abraham’s life of faith is clearly explained to us. What in Genesis is a historical account, in Romans is a spiritual explanation of the first. Abraham was justified by faith; He believed the words of God regarding his descendants. This faith was given to him at the moment he heard God in the middle of a hopeless situation. Abraham heard this word like what it was, truly the word of God. And that word, heard this way, effectively works also in you that believe (1st Thessalonians 2:13). Consequently, he was declared righteous.
Nevertheless, the walk of faith does not end there. After that initial joy, there were moments of hopelessness in the life of Abraham. The Biblical story is concise, but we can conclude that many years passed before that act of faith had its fruits. Abraham believed that he would have a son from Sara, his wife, and that from that son, he would have innumerable descendants like the stars from the sky. But that son arrived in the time of God, that is to say, not before Abraham underwent different forms of death, physical and psychological. His body withered along with his manly pride. Several years had to pass for this process of death to end and give way to resurrection.
Has it not happened to you as well, beloved child of God? You have been taken to the end of desperation, but somehow, you know that God has control of everything. The death process lasts too long that, sometimes, it seems that there is no longer any hope. Humanly speaking, you should have given up already; nevertheless, the voice of faith continues ignited in your heart, so that you can believe " in hope against hope… in the presence of God, whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist" (ROM. 4:17,18).
God had spoken to Abraham, and that was sufficient for him. That is why “he grew strong in his faith… fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised” (Rom. 4:20-21). God’s promise sustained Abraham in the mist of “the valley of the shadow of death.”
It is not possible to experience resurrection without the previous manifestation of death. The grain of wheat must fall in earth and die before a beautiful sheaf, bundle, arises from new grains. And if a single grain dies, many arise in resurrection. Resurrection surpasses death. A few tears in the valley of shadows, in front of God, are the waiting room of an uncontrollable joy. “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy” (Psalm 126:2). Who can extinguish the joy that the Lord ignites in the heart of the believer? It happened to Sara and that is why she said, when Isaac was born, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me” (Gen. 21:6).
What about Paul? We hope to talk about him soon.