Imagine two letters dropped into the same mailbox. One, smudged and dirty, has a stamp on it. The other, addressed perfectly, doesn’t. Which letter will be delivered? The one with the stamp. For Christians, faith is that stamp. How can we have strong faith? Look at Abraham. He had the stamp of faith on his life. That’s what Romans chapter 4 is all about, and it’s written to encourage us.
God wanted Abraham’s descendants, both the Jewish nation and Christians who believe God, to be a channel of blessing. But it depends upon your faith. “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). You cannot be saved apart from faith. (See Ephesians 2:8-9.) Put your faith where God put your sins, upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
Faith isn’t a hunch, positive thinking, hoping “everything will work out” or believing God “can.” Faith is knowing God will, taking God at His word. Faith assures us of things we expect and hope for. Faith convinces us that things we cannot see do exist. (See Hebrews 11:1.)
If you want strong faith, here’s how to have it:
1. Strong faith is received as a grace gift of God.
Faith is a free gift [by grace] to all of Abraham’s descendants—everyone who lives with faith like that of Abraham and believes as he did (See Romans 4:16-17.) We receive faith as a gift of His grace.
Grace is the unmerited favor and kindness of God shown to one who does not deserve it and can never earn it.
We can’t manufacture faith. Without Jesus, we’re spiritually dead. (See Ephesians 2:1.) God takes the initiative, reaches out, and gives all sinners the grace to have faith. (See Romans 12:3.) God puts faith in our hearts. It’s up to us to believe.
Faith is taking God at His word and responding to His promises. Stop asking for faith. Start reading your Bible, and faith will burst aflame in your heart.
2. Strong faith releases God’s grace.
The promise was based on faith (See Romans 4:16.); thus, it’s guaranteed as God’s free gift to all of Abraham’s descendants—not just people who obey the Law, but everyone who believes like Abraham believed God.
Until you put your faith where God put your sins—upon the Lord Jesus Christ—you won’t be saved. Grace is released by faith. Unbelief holds grace a prisoner.
If you think you’ll earn Heaven by your good works, I guarantee you’ll never be sure. When you understand it’s all by His grace, then you’ll be sure.
3. Strong faith respects God’s greatness.
Abraham had to choose between two impossibilities: that he could have a child, or that God could lie. He chose the first one, and Isaac and the entire Jewish people were the outcome. God did exactly as He said, because God cannot lie.
God specializes in two things no one else can do:
Raise the dead
Bring life out of death, something from nothing (See Romans 4:17.)
If your faith is weak, get to know God by reading His Word and through prayer.
4. Strong faith responds to God’s guidance.
Genuine faith doesn’t sit back and say, “Well, God, You’ll do it all.” What God promises, God does, but He does it through you. Faith is belief with legs on it. Strong faith not only believes God can, but that God will, and God will do it by me.
Paul says Abraham was saved by believing. James 2:22-23 says Abraham’s faith was made perfect by his works. Are James and Paul contradicting each other? No, Paul is talking about being justified before God. James describes being justified before people—for people to see our faith. If you have Paul’s faith, you’ll have James’ works; they simply go together.
You’re not saved by faith and works, but by a faith that works. Real faith is always accompanied by works.
If your faith hasn’t changed your life, you’d better change your faith. (See 2 Corinthians 5:17.) Faith without works is dead. (See James 2:20, 26.)
5. Strong faith reflects God’s glory.
Don’t talk at length about your belief in a good, strong God, then fail to believe Him. Unbelief dishonors God. The greatest glory you can give to God is to believe Him. (See 1 John 5:10.) Faith says, “God, you are trustworthy.”
In the last three verses, Romans chapter 4 says it was written not just for Abraham or for the Jewish nation, but for all of us. If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and believe God raised Jesus from the dead, I promise on the authority of the Word of God, you will be saved. And it’s by grace so that you can be sure.