Romans 4 is largely Paul using Abraham to make a theological point–salvation through faith, not works. And yes, this chapter alone gives me great comfort, knowing that God saves sinners like me the same way He saved Abraham–through faith. But, taking a little closer look at Abraham’s life, seeing his struggles, seeing his failures, seeing his weak faith at times, seeing his self-reliance, then seeing God faithfully keep His covenant, strengthens my faith in and love for this God who has covenanted with me and every other believer in Christ. We WILL be saved (Romans 1:16-17; 3:22, 24; 4:24-25; 5:1-2; 6:23; 10:9, 13)!
Much like my own story, Abraham was minding his own business when God called him out of paganism. He was not special. God chose him, set His love on Him, and saved Him apart from works. He wasn’t looking for God when God revealed Himself to Abraham and made a covenant with him.
Abraham’s weak faith and disobedience throughout his life didn’t disqualify him. He did not exhaust God’s patience. In fact, God knew all this beforehand and chose him any way. Abraham received perfect justification through his imperfect faith. It was neither his works nor the greatness of his faith that saved him. His faith was acceptable to God only because our great Lord graciously counted it as righteousness.
God has promised to save us through the same faith that Abraham had (no matter how weak at times) apart from works. He has graciously chosen to count our faith in the crucified, resurrected Messiah as righteousness. Don’t get discouraged and run away from God in shame because of your weak faith or failures. Run to Him. Repent. Rest in the promises of His grace. No one, not even you, if you are truly in Christ, can separate you from His love (Romans 8:31-39)!