cont from prior post
By grace, faith, and the power of God Abraham and Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Thus the promise was fulfilled.
A crucial aspect of this is revealed to us by Paul when he says that Abraham was about a hundred years old and as good as dead and that Sarah was barren. Paul is delicately and courteously making it clear that Abraham was too old to sire children. Likewise, he states that Sarah was barren. In Genesis 18:12 we are told that Sarah laughs upon hearing that she and Abraham will bear children.
The passage says: "So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?”
This again is a delicately stated phrase describing the lack of a sex life of this couple at that stage of their lives. Nevertheless, these two people believed God. Moreover, they engaged in marital relations and God blessed them with Isaac and God fulfilled the promise.
The promise would not have been fulfilled had Abraham not had relations with Sarah. Abraham and Sarah were pretty much incapable of marital relations and most certainly child bearing at that stage in their lives, but they believed God and engaged in marital relations. The ability and power to do so were granted to them by way of God’s grace. By grace and faith they begat Isaac.
Without that work or activity on their part the promise would not have been fulfilled by God. If the promise was not fulfilled because of this work/action Abraham would not have been the father of many nations. Abraham would not have been justified because he would not have completed his faith by that action. Abraham’s faith would not have been reckoned to him as righteousness.
The same kind of thing is evident in reading Hebrews chapter 11. Each of the holy figures cited had faith and their faith was associated with something they did. Even Henry’s Concise Commentary, a non-Catholic source, recognizes that Hebrews Chapter 11 is talking about the justifying faith of the patriarchs, prophets, and martyrs of the Old Testament. Henry’s Commentary says:
“Text: - Ver. 1-3 Faith always has been the mark of God’s servants, from the beginning of the world. Where the principle is planted by the regenerating Spirit of God, it will cause the truth to be received, concerning justification by the sufferings and merits of Christ. And the same things that are the object of our hope, are the object of our faith. It is a firm persuasion and expectation, that God will perform all he has promised to us in Christ.”
Hebrews Chapter 11 tells us that:
Verse 4: By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he received approval as righteous,
Verse 5: By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God.
Verse 6: And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Verse 7: By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, took heed and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith.
Verses 8-10: By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Verses 11-12: By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
Verse 13.: These all died in faith.
In verse 31, Rahab is also mentioned and we know from James that she was “justified” in that example.
This is righteousness and justification and every example includes faith and the works that completed it. This is made very explicit in Hebrews when the author talks about Abel as his initial example. It is also eminently clear that the faith of these individuals would be meaningless if they defied God and failed to live out their faith in the actions described above. None of them would have received divine approval. All of those mentioned are examples of OT justified saints.
We will now look once again at Sarah. Let’s start with Genesis where Abraham’s faith is reckoned to him as righteousness. This faith pertains to the promise of off spring. At that point in time Abraham was still called Abram and his wife was still called Sarai. God then makes his covenant with Abraham.
In Gen 17:4-8 it says:
“Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. And I will give to you, and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
In Gen 17:15-16 it says this:
"And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her; I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”
cont. on next post