Constantly Full (Romans 4:19-21)

Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.

Romans 4:19-21

 God often brings me back around to the concept of faith. I confess, I struggle with it. The longer and more keenly I gaze at faith and what it is and how it works, the more I understand that I do not understand. The fourth chapter of Romans is one I think I could read a million times and still not really understand all its implications.

Chapter four of Romans is about Abraham and how his righteousness came on the basis of his faith and how his faith preceded the covenant of circumcision and all the bits and bobs of The Law. Abraham was accounted righteous before he had done anything more or less than to take God at His Word.

And that, at its foundation, is what faith is. Taking God at His Word. This morning’s verses are that concept in summary. Abraham looked at his own geriatric body and Sarah’s only marginally less geriatric body and knew that human agency could not give them a child. He also knew that God could. He was fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. I, too, am looking for God to birth new life in me. I am looking for His Son to be born in me. The language is imprecise and muddles the reality, but what every believer is, according to scripture, looking for is for the Son of God to be formed in us. I can think of dozens of metaphors to try to illustrate the idea and each and every one falls woefully short of the whole of what God has revealed of it … and my understanding is still so very short of the whole.

The Greek word used for fully assured is a form of πληροφορέω (plērophoreō), which itself comes from two words that individually mean “full” and “to bear constantly.” The idea I come away with is that Abraham’s mind was constantly filled with the conviction that God could make good on His promise. Is the same true of me?

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