Romans 4:18-25, Luke 24:1-9
In verse 18, Paul states, “Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations.” God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations and that Sarah would be the mother of nations (Gen. 17:4, 16). Abraham believed God and God counted his belief for righteousness (Gen. 15:6).
A belief in hope against hope is a belief that the very unlikely will happen. Abraham was justified by faith because he believed God would do the impossible. Paul, in commenting upon Abraham’s faith, gives two reasons for Abraham not to believe God. The first was that his body was now dead. The second was the deadness of Sarah’s womb. Abraham was approximately 100 years old and Sarah was around 90. In the natural course of a lifetime, hormonal changes occur in both males and females. Those changes had occurred in both Abraham and Sarah. It was impossible for Abraham to be a father and for Sarah to be a mother (v. 19).
When God told Abraham that the impossible would happen, Abraham gave glory to God. Unbelief was not found in him. Believers of today know of Abraham’s faith because of that which is recorded in the book of Genesis. We know that God spoke to Abraham when he dwelt in Ur. We know that Abraham left his kindred to go to a land that God would show him. We know what happened to Abraham in that land. We know that God caused Abraham to prosper and to become wealthy.
Through the word of God, we know that the Lord waited to fulfill His promise that Abraham would become the father of many nations. There is a reason that God made Abraham wait. It was God’s will that Abraham’s faith be revealed to men. The Lord would have all men trust Him as Abraham trusted Him. Believers should note that God counted Abraham’s belief for righteousness (Gen. 15) before He promised to make Abraham the father of many nations (Gen. 17). Abraham’s faith that God would do the impossible preceded God’s doing the impossible. Believers are saved by believing that God has done the impossible.
In verses 24 and 25, Paul states the belief which God counts for righteousness. One must believe that He raised up Jesus from the dead. God counts belief in the Son as righteousness as He counted Abraham’s belief.
New Testament believers are confident that Jesus’ death upon the cross satisfied the wages of sin. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, believers know with certainty that God the Father accepted the sacrifice which the Son made for all who will believe.
Luke 24 is an account of that which followed Jesus’ resurrection. Luke recorded that which he recorded such that Theophilus (and all who read Luke’s gospel) might know the certainty of the things concerning Jesus which have been declared (Luke 1:4).
The “they” of verse 1 were women from Galilee who, believing Jesus to be the promised Messiah, had followed Him. Seven days earlier, they had strewn palm branches before Him as He made His entry into Jerusalem. Now, they brought spices which they intended to apply to His dead body. His body had been placed in the sepulcher just before the setting of the sun on the day preceding the sabbath. They came to the sepulcher in the early daylight hours on the morning following the sabbath and found that the stone sealing the sepulcher had been rolled away. Upon entering the sepulcher, they found that the body of Jesus was not there.
They saw two men clad in shining garments and heard them say, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen” (v. 5b, 6a). The belief which defines the New Testament believer is the resurrection. God’s word declares that Christ arose.
The two in shining robes brought to memory that which Jesus had said to them in Galilee. Jesus had told them that He would be delivered into the hands of men (Lk. 9:44). The women believed the words which they heard and told them to “all the rest.”
On the first Easter, believers shared that which they knew to be true with all the rest. Let us celebrate in like manner.