“That famous promise God gave Abraham—that he and his children would possess the earth—was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God’s decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed. If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That’s not a holy promise; that’s a business deal. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise—and God’s promise at that—you can’t break it…We call Abraham ‘father’ not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, ‘I set you up as father of many peoples’? Abraham was first named ‘father’ and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, ‘You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!’
Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, ‘It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.’ Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, ‘Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.’ But it’s not just Abraham; it’s also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.” Romans 4:13-15, 17-25 (MSG)
When people bring gifts to your birthday party, the best gifts have no strings attached. You don’t have to give them a gift of the same or equal value; you are not obligated to pay your dues to them. When that person gives you a gift, it changes the relationship, because it’s not about you paying the person back. It is accepting something generously given to you.
Abraham’s promise from God was enormous; his offspring would populate the earth. However, that promise did not align with Abraham’s initial experience. Abraham and Sarah were without a child but not without hope. They were without the evidence of the promise , but through believing, Abraham was able to see what would be not what hadn’t been. Trusting God is not based on contractual terms. When we start negotiating with God, we lose. We turn our relationship with God into a give and take arrangement. “If God does this for me, I will do that.” But, believing God has nothing to do with negotiating to accomplish our agenda. It’s something so much more beautiful. By faith in Jesus, we have the opportunity to walk into a whole new life based on who God is and not what we have done. We must have a shift in our hearts that recognizes that all of our achieving doesn’t earn us salvation; it is simply a gift that we have to reach out and receive.
When we first come to Jesus, we might acknowledge this. But as the years wear on, our faith can look less like Abraham’s faith and more like a contract. Whenever we deduce salvation to a list of rules, we lose out on the gift God gives us. Then, our relationship can become an obligation, and we lose hope in God’s promise. Like Abraham, we can be without a lot of things in life, but one thing that we can’t forgo is hope. You might be without _____________, but don’t let go of hope. Hope is an anticipation that God is going to work. Something completely different occurs when we hold on to hope, take our eyes off of our barren wasteland, and turn our trust to Jesus. When we dare to believe God for the impossible, we give God the opportunity to show up. Too much of our life is based solely on what we can do. We don’t walk in faith, because we never put ourselves in situations where we have to exercise it. We need to decide, like Abraham, to not live on the basis of what we can do. The moment that we step into the deep water of trusting in what only God can do, it changes our experience. Isn’t that what happened when we got saved? We couldn’t achieve salvation based on our own merit. Only God could reach down and bring hope and salvation to our believing hearts. Today, you might need to be reminded that you can trust Jesus- not because of what you can do, but simply because of who He is. Impossible, hopeless situations are not too hard for him. So open your hands and dare to believe God for the impossible, because if he can do the impossible work of saving a sinner like me, nothing is too hard for him.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.