"I have made you a father of many nations..."
Text: Romans 4:17
WHO MAY CALL ABRAHAM “FATHER”?
Paul knew how the Jews took pride in speaking of Abraham as their “father”. But was Abraham only the father of the Jews? Paul offers a different proposition.
“(as it is written, ‘I have made you a father of many nations’)
in the presence of Him whom he believed- God,
who gives life to the dead, and calls those things
which do not exist as though they did.”
1. It is written.
Paul took great pains to cite the Scriptures (Cf. Genesis 17:5). The reason for citing the Scriptures was obvious. His proposition was drawn from the authoritative Scriptures!
2. It was God who made this statement.
a) God was the One who declared Abraham a “father of many nations”.
b) If Abraham is “father of many nations” then the Jews cannot claim “exclusivity”!
3. A profound argument concerning the Person of God.
a) He is One who has the power to breathe life to the dead.
b) He is the One who can make non-existent things exist.
WHAT WAS PAUL’S POINT?
Paul knew that there would be tremendous resistance to the idea of seeing Abraham as the father of many nations. Paul sought to address the following issues of concern.
1. The spiritual plight of the Gentiles
The Jews thought concerning the Gentiles was that they were spiritually dead. Paul countered this argument by pointing to the power of God. Could God create life in the hearts of the Gentiles? The answer is a positive and powerful “Yes!”
2. The things that do not exist
The Jews often thought of themselves as the sole recipients of God’s blessings! They were incorrect in their understanding!
Could God make the Gentiles have spiritual vitality? Could God create something out of nothing?
The answer to these questions is also a resounding “Yes!” There is no limit where God’s power is concerned! All who possess faith may call him their spiritual father!