Verse 16 declares some things that every believer has been taught. (1) Salvation is by faith that it might be BY GRACE ALONE. (2) Salvation by grace is the only SURE WAY of salvation. If by works, none could be saved. (3) Both Old Testament believers and New Testament believers, Jew and Gentile, are saved by grace through faith in Christ.
(Vs. 17) Abraham, in a spiritual sense, is the father of all believers, not of the Jews only (Gen. 17:4-5) but of believers from all nations. At that moment when Abraham stood BEFORE HIM (God), though he was not then a father at all, it was as sure to him as if it had already taken place. God willed it, and the result would follow as sure as God calls into existence the things which exist not. For God, according to His eternal purpose, speaks of things which exist not in the same way that He speaks of things that exist (Rom. 8:29-30; Acts 15:16-18).
"Even God, Who quickeneth the dead." Faith in God's power to give life where there is no life is the proper ground of believing anything which God purposes to do. If God quickens the dead, can He not give life to Sarah's dead womb? Can He not quicken dead Gentiles? Can He not raise our bodies from the grave?
(Vs. 18) "Against hope" That Abraham should be a father through Sarah was against all natural principles. She was almost l00 years old. But Abraham believed "in hope." His hope was in the promise of God; Abraham's expectation of becoming a father of nations of believers rested completely on the Word of God! He believed God and hoped for the very thing that God said would come to pass. Our hope of redemption is not just a wish or a desire but expectation based upon the promise of God and the purchase of the Son (II Thess. 2:16-17; I Peter 1:3).
(Vs. 19) "So shall thy seed be" (Gen. 15:5). Here stands a childless old man with an old wife, hearing God declare that through that wife his seed would be as numberless as the stars of the heavens. Abraham believed God! His age and impotence and the deadness of Sarah's womb did not shake his faith. This example ought ever to encourage our faith. There will always be obstacles and difficulties but none that our Lord cannot overcome! (Gen. 18:14; Matt. 19:26.)
(Vs. 20) Abraham was not staggered with respect to the promise, for it was made by Him Who cannot lie and with Whom all things are possible, He was not staggered by the difficulties and seeming impossibilities which stood in the way, for his faith in God was strong; and, therefore, he gave God all the glory. How did Abraham's faith glorify God? By ascribing to God all the glory of His faithfulness, His power, His grace, and His goodness. It is important that we glorify God by ascribing to Him His attributes and believing that He will act according to them!
(Vs. 21-22) "Fully persuaded" means that he was convinced and confident that what God had promised, God was able to perform. Paul spoke in this fashion (II Tim. 1:12; Heb. 7:25; Phil. 3:20-21).
Because he believed God it was imputed to Him for righteousness, not for the strength of his faith but because his faith truly rested and trusted in God, not in himself or his works (Rom. 3:21-22).
(Vs. 23-24) The account of how Abraham was justified and received righteousness was not recorded for his sake alone nor applicable to him only, but it is by faith that every believer is justified and sanctified. Others were justified by faith before Abraham, but the first recorded testimony respecting the justification of sinners by faith is that of Abraham. He was the first man singled out and designated as the progenitor of the Messiah (Gal. 3:16). Therefore, he is called the father of all believers.
Righteousness shall be imputed to us, as well as to Abraham, if we believe God, Who is identified by the fact that He raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. To believe for salvation is not to believe only on the existence of God but to believe on Him in regard to His gospel. Saving faith involves the person and work of Christ Who was promised of God, sent by God, bruised by God, raised by God, and seated victoriously on the Father's right hand (John 3:14-16, 36.)
(Vs. 25) Christ was delivered up by His Father into the hands of justice and death (according to His divine purpose) to redeem us. Christ died in our stead and rose again as our Head and Representative and was legally acquitted and justified and us in Him. Christ's resurrection did not procure our justification; that was done by His obedience and death: but His resurrection testified of itsin's debt was paid (Rom. 1:1-4).