Faith without faltering- Monday, 29th Week in ordinary time – Romans 4: 20-25

Faith without faltering- Monday, 29th Week in ordinary time – Romans 4: 20-25

Paul did not start with a doctrine but started with a problem. The problem was, how could Gentiles be brought into a right relationship with God? How could they be “justified”? Paul had always believed that Jews were made righteous through the law–but what about Gentiles?

Now here is the tricky thing, in order to answer his question about righteousness without the law, Paul had to look in the law, in the Torah, because the Torah was for him the authoritative revelation of God. But he could not look at Moses or at any Jew who came after Moses because all of them lived under the law and therefore could not be models for Gentile Christians.

So he looked before the law, at Abraham. And looking at Abraham he discovered two wonderful things. First of all, according to Genesis, Abraham was made right with God–not only before there was the law on Sinai, but even before Abraham himself got circumcised (in Genesis 17). Second of all, Genesis tells us what it was that allowed Abraham to have a right relationship with God: he had faith…Genesis 15:6.

But this faith was not without faltering. When at the age of 99 and Sarah at the age of 90 was told they would have children, Abraham fell on his face and laughed. It is in later Jewish tradition that this laughter becomes Abraham’s great joy.

For Paul, the great thing about the faith of Abraham is that you do not have to be Jewish to have faith in the God who “gives life to the dead.” Abraham had faith in the God who would give life to his loins, though he was good as dead (remember that Abraham was 99 years old, how could he possibly have children?) But thanks to Abraham, now both Jews and Gentiles can believe in the God who gave life to Jesus at the resurrection.

For Paul this can now be the boast of the Gentiles, that Abraham is their father; not because they are biologically descended from him, but because, like him, they have faith in the resurrecting God. We are called to be a faithful people and a faith filled people. Yet we too like Abraham, falter in our faith. Is it possible, we ask ourselves, that God can make the impossible possible?

For God , all things are possible. For His ways are not our ways.

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