Lesson 38 - Chapter 4 verses 17-21

Lesson 38 - Chapter 4 verses 17-21

These verses explain how Abraham used the Faith-Rest Technique with regard to the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant. Remember the Faith-Rest Technique includes mixing the promises of God with our faith. Faith-Rest is the Old Testament system of spirituality (the filling of the Holy Spirit is the Church Age System).

Verse 17

As it is written, “a father of many nations have I made you.” The integrity of God provided for Abraham certain promises and guarantees which became the object of his Faith-Rest Technique. The justice of God had provided numerous blessings via fulfilled promises for Abraham when he attained the first stage of spiritual maturity. However, the blessing of family prosperity was miraculous. The way in which Abraham would become a new race and the father of many nations was a miracle. (Genesis 12:2, 17:5, 22:16-18) 

In the sight of Him whom he believed, even God refers to the fact that Abraham believed the promises of God and utilized the resources available to him at that time to develop his spiritual life before God. There were a lot of times when he didn’t, but he used the Faith-Rest Technique extensively. As he matured spiritually, he had maximum function of the Faith-Rest Technique whereby his reality was not in the adverse circumstances of life but in the total ability of God to provide blessing and security under those circumstances. Abraham as a growing believer was positive toward doctrine and therefore produced faith toward God. Bible doctrine resident in the soul of Abraham produced the strength for his faith to claim seemingly impossible promises in impossible situations. The mature Abraham believed the promise of Genesis 17:5 when he was unable to produce children - a totally hopeless situation. Doctrine in the soul gave him a reality of God’s faithfulness, which was far greater than the reality of his own total helplessness. At some time in your life you are going to face a totally hopeless situation. Properly applied Bible doctrine will get you through that situation as it did for Abraham some 4000 years ago.

Who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. This is not a passage on resurrection. The Greek word for gives life is “zoopoieo,” which means to cause to live or to make alive. The only thing about Abraham that is dead is his ability to reproduce. That is what is going to be made alive. Both Abraham’s and Sarah’s ability to reproduce were dead.

Notice that both Abraham and Sarah had a relationship with God. Abraham believed God as we have seen and Sarah considered God faithful to keep His promises. (Hebrews 11:11-12)

The Greek word for calls is “kaleo,” which means to summon or to designate. God is designating or summoning something that did not exist. He is designating it into existence. God is restoring the ability to produce children for Abraham and Sarah.

Verse 18

In hope against hope he believed begins with the Greek word “elpis” for hope, which means full confidence. For Abraham reality was in the promises that God had given. Abraham’s Faith-Rest Technique in spiritual maturity gave him the ability to think clearly and discern that in a seemingly hopeless situation he could place his confidence in the promises of God. Maturity adjustment to the justice of God gives great spiritual power to our thinking. Doctrine in the soul is the basis for that thinking. So an advancing believer has the privilege and opportunity of facing hopeless situations with doctrine. With doctrine in the soul, occupation with Christ and capacity for life from great spiritual maturity, full confidence was reality to Abraham. If a believer is without doctrine, then the situation is always hopeless. Being a believer minus doctrine intensifies a hopeless situation. Abraham had not given up, he was not discouraged.

In order that he might become a father of many nations. “Father” means not just father in the sense of having children, it means father in the sense of blessing. Throughout all of history, including the Millennial reign of Christ, there will always be a fulfilment of this promise from God.

According to that which was spoken, so shall thy descendants be. This is a quotation from Genesis 15:5, which verifies the existence of a promise to claim under the operation of the Faith-Rest Technique. The existing state of the promise was the thing that Abraham must see, and he must see it from the integrity of God. That is where doctrine comes in. But he had to see beyond his hopeless situation to the fact that the justice of God has never been unfair in any way. It is there for him and all he needed was the capacity to receive it. Each time the promise was given it was to encourage Abraham (who was at a certain stage of spiritual growth) to keep going, to never become discouraged and to keep his eyes on God because that was the issue. The source of the blessing is always the issue, not the blessing itself.

Verse 19

And without becoming weak in faith uses the Greek word “astheneo” for weak, which means to become weak. With the negative it indicates that Abraham did not even begin to falter. He had total adjustment to the justice of God, he had maximum doctrine resident in his soul. Mature Abraham had no doubts about the integrity of God. The justice of God and the righteousness of God were more real to him than his adversity.

Weakness is lack of doctrine; strength is maximum doctrine resident in the soul, which equates to total relationship with the integrity of God when properly applied. Abraham was spiritually mature and therefore occupied with the integrity of God. Weakness and strength in the Christian life is therefore measured in terms of Bible doctrine resident in the soul. This is the great issue: What is your attitude toward doctrine? The more doctrine we have in our souls the closer our relationship with God and that relationship means freeing the justice of God to provide blessing.

The more doctrine we have in our souls the more we understand God and the more awe and respect we have for God and His plan of grace. The more doctrine we have in our souls the greater becomes our capacity for life, for happiness, for blessing and for love (personal and impersonal). The more doctrine we have in our souls the greater the reality of divine integrity and the greater our occupation with the Person of Jesus Christ.

He contemplated his own body now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old and the deadness of Sarah’s womb uses the Greek verb “katanoeo” for contemplated, which means to notice, to observe, to look at with reflection, to consider or to contemplate something. In other words, it means to direct one’s whole mind on an object or to comprehend something in its entirety. It speaks of Abraham’s concentration and comprehension of his seemingly hopeless situation over a period of 13 years when he was totally aware of the fact that he could not produce children. He wasn’t ignoring the problem, he was aware of the problem. Abraham also knew that Sarah was past the time that she could have children as well.    

Verse 20

Yet with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief. “Promise” means that the integrity of God had provided information within the framework of doctrine which was meaningful to Abraham. God has many promises for us today but these promises are only meaningful as we have doctrine resident in the soul. Every weakness in the believer’s life is from malnutrition — lack of doctrine.

But grew strong in faith, giving glory to God uses the Greek word “endunamoo” for strong meaning to make strong. It means to receive invigoration or to become empowered. The power poured in is Bible doctrine under the filling of the Holy Spirit. Abraham was invigorated through doctrine resident in his soul. Bible doctrine resident in the soul is the dynamic of the Christian life. Without indwelling doctrine there is no power, there is no information and there is no ability to face adversity because the Holy Spirit has been quenched or grieved. Only maturity adjustment to the justice of God glorifies God in time and in history. There can be no maturity adjustment to the justice of God apart from doctrine resident in the soul and therefore once again there is an emphasis on the importance of Bible doctrine.  

Verse 21

And being fully assured is talking about the greatest principle in life, which is characteristic of the mature believer: total confidence. Abraham had total confidence from his maximum relationship with the integrity of God.

That what He had promised, He was able also to perform. Maturity is the status of total confidence in the integrity of God, not confidence in any system of security or blessing of life. Therefore, maturity is the state of true security. The only real security in life comes from maturing spiritually. Maturity adjustment to the justice of God is the place of spiritual dynamics, first in thought, then in happiness, then in blessing, then in confidence and finally divine production. Maturity is the status of finding greater reality in divine integrity than in the adversities and sufferings of life. The justice of God had many blessings in store for Abraham compatible with the capacity derived from doctrine resident in the soul. It was Abraham’s capacity from doctrine resident in the soul that caused attainment of maturity adjustment to the justice of God.

Abraham is the pattern. As he attained maturity, so we today attain maturity. With spiritual maturity Abraham had both love for the source of blessing and capacity to enjoy the blessing without losing the perspective of grace while enjoying the blessing. This is how mature believers can have power without abusing power, blessing without flaunting blessing and true thanksgiving or appreciation of the source without forgetting it.