Romans 4:18
Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall your seed be.
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Who against hope - Who against all apparent or usual ground of hope. He refers here to the prospect of a posterity; see Romans 4:19-21.

Believed in hope - Believed in what was promised to excite his hope. Hope here is put for the object of his hope - what was promised.

According to what was spoken - Genesis 15:5.

So shall thy seed be - That is, as the stars in heaven for multitude. Thy posterity shall be very numerous.

Who against hope believed in hope - The faith of Abraham bore an exact correspondence to the power and never-failing faithfulness of God; for though, in the ordinary course of things, he had not the best foundation of hope, yet he believed that he should be the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken; namely, that his posterity should be like the stars of heaven for multitude, and like the dust of the earth. Who against hope believed in hope,.... Abraham believed the promise of God,

that he might become the father of many nations, being assisted by a supernatural aid: "in hope"; of the fulfilment of it by the grace and power of God: "against hope": against all visible, rational grounds of hope; Sarah's womb and his own body being dead, but inasmuch as God had said it, he believed:

according to that which is spoken, so shall thy seed be; his faith rested upon the word of God, which showed the nature of it, and that it was of the right kind.

{17} Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

(17) A description of true faith wholly resting in the power of God, and his good will, set forth in the example of Abraham.

18-22. Who against hope—when no ground for hope appeared.

believed in hope—that is, cherished the believing expectation.

that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be—that is, Such "as the stars of heaven," Ge 15:5.

4:13-22 The promise was made to Abraham long before the law. It points at Christ, and it refers to the promise, Ge 12:3. In Thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. The law worketh wrath, by showing that every transgressor is exposed to the Divine displeasure. As God intended to give men a title to the promised blessings, so he appointed it to be by faith, that it might be wholly of grace, to make it sure to all who were of the like precious faith with Abraham, whether Jews or Gentiles, in all ages. The justification and salvation of sinners, the taking to himself the Gentiles who had not been a people, were a gracious calling of things which are not, as though they were; and this giving a being to things that were not, proves the almighty power of God. The nature and power of Abraham's faith are shown. He believed God's testimony, and looked for the performance of his promise, firmly hoping when the case seemed hopeless. It is weakness of faith, that makes a man lie poring on the difficulties in the way of a promise. Abraham took it not for a point that would admit of argument or debate. Unbelief is at the bottom of all our staggerings at God's promises. The strength of faith appeared in its victory over fears. God honours faith; and great faith honours God. It was imputed to him for righteousness. Faith is a grace that of all others gives glory to God. Faith clearly is the instrument by which we receive the righteousness of God, the redemption which is by Christ; and that which is the instrument whereby we take or receive it, cannot be the thing itself, nor can it be the gift thereby taken and received. Abraham's faith did not justify him by its own merit or value, but as giving him a part in Christ. 4:18 Who against hope. Though an old man, and his wife an aged woman, far beyond the time of child-bearing, he yet believed the promise that he would have numerous offspring.Verses 18-21. - Who against hope in hope believed (παρ ἐλπίδα ἐπ ἐλπίδι - an oxymoron. For a similar use of ἐπ ἐλπίδι, see 1 Corinthians 9:10; also below, Romans 5:2. Its position in the Authorized Version might suggest its dependence on "believed," which is grammatically possible (cf. Romans 9:33; Romans 10:11), but unallowable here, since hope cannot well be regarded as the object of belief) to the end he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be (Genesis 15:5, viz. "as the stars"). And being not weak in faith, he considered not (i.e. paid no regard to as a hindrance to faith. The codices relied on by our recent Revisers omit οὐ before κατενόησεν, and they accordingly translate, "he considered his own body," thus making the idea to be that he was fully aware of the apparent impossibility of his having a son, but believed notwithstanding. But the reading of the Textus Receptus has good support, and especially that of the Greek Fathers, and gives the best sense) his own body now dead (already deadened - νενεκρώμενον ( ι.ε. with respect to virility. So, with the same reference, Hebrews 11:12), when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb; but he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong (rather, was strengthened) in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what he had promised he was able also to perform. With regard to the construction of ver. 20, we may observe that, though in the Authorized Version, which is followed above, the prepositions put before "unbelief" and "faith" are varied, both words are datives without a preposition in the Greek, and apparently with the same force of the dative in both cases, the sense being, "With regard to the promise, etc., unbelief did not cause him to waver (οὑ διεκρίθη τῇ ἀπιστία), but faith made him strong ἐνεδυναμώθη τῇ πίστει)." The purport of the whole passage is to show, with reference to Genesis 17:15-22; Genesis 18:9-16, how Abraham's faith in the promise of a seed through Sarah, which seemed impossible in the natural course of things, corresponded in essence to our faith in "him that raised Jesus our Lord from the dead" (ver. 24). It was faith in a Divine power above nature, able to quicken into supernatural life that which humanly is dead. And as Abraham's faith in this promised birth of Isaac involved a further faith in the fulfilment through him of all the promises, so our faith in the resurrection of Christ involves faith in all that is signified and assured to us thereby - in "the power of a Divine life" in him, to bring life out of death, to regenerate and quicken the spiritually dead, and finally in "eternal redemption" and the "restitution of all things" (cf. John 3:6; John 5:25; Romans 6:3-12; 1 Corinthians 3:21-23; Ephesians 1:18-23; Ephesians 2:4-8; Revelation 1:18; to which many other similarly significant passages might be added). It may be observed that, not only in the instance here adduced, but in his whole life as recorded in Genesis, Abraham stands forth as an exemplification of habitual faith in a Divine order beyond sight, and trust in Divine promises. In this consists the religious meaning of that record for us all. Notably so (as is especially set forth in Hebrews 11:17, etc.) in his willingness to sacrifice the son through whom the promise was to be fulfilled, retaining still his faith in the fulfilment.


Romans 4:19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, …

Romans 5:5 And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad …

Romans 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for …

Ruth 1:11-13 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will you go with me? …

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it …

Ezekiel 37:11 Then he said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of …

Mark 5:35,36 While he yet spoke, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's …

Luke 1:18 And Zacharias said to the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I …

Acts 27:25 Why, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be …

So shall.

Genesis 15:5,6 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, …

4:18-21 The Apostle shows the power and excellence of that faith to which he ascribes justification. Who against hope - Against all probability, believed and hoped in the promise. The same thing is apprehended both by faith and hope; by faith, as a thing which God has spoken; by hope, as a good thing which God has promised to us. So shall thy seed be - Both natural and spiritual, as the stars of heaven for multitude. Gen 15:5.
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