And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised,
he was able also to perform (Romans 4:21, KJV).
It has been said of Abraham that he was a friend of God and the father of many nations, but what impacts me most about this biblical patriarch is that he was “fully persuaded” that God could and would fulfill His promises, regardless of seemingly impossible circumstances.
I suppose this statement about Abraham impacts me most because I so often question whether or not I am fully persuaded. Perhaps in my mind, yes, but my heart is so often wishy-washy about matters of the faith. How do I know this? Because I can so readily and emphatically proclaim faith in those matters, but when I hear of someone suffering or even dying to defend them, I wonder how quickly I would cave if put in the same situation. I therefore come to the conclusion that I’m “somewhat persuaded,” but possibly not “fully” so.
That concerns me because I believe much of the Church falls into that same category. But is it possible that the reason we are not “fully persuaded” is because we misread the verse and think that it is we ourselves who must be faithful to “perform” that which we’ve promised, rather than resting on God’s faithfulness to fulfill His promises?
Abraham was so fully and completely persuaded that God was true to His Word that when the Lord called on him to sacrifice his son Isaac (the only son born of God’s promise), he immediately took his son up the hill and tied him down on the altar. Not only was he willing to allow his son to be sacrificed, but he was even willing to raise the knife and fulfill that sacrifice himself! Why? Because he knew that God had promised to bring forth a great nation from Isaac; relying fully on God’s promise, he resolved to be obedient to God’s command and trust God to fulfill that promise, however He chose to do so.
That’s some serious faith, isn’t it? Abraham could obey God because he was “fully persuaded” that God—not he, Abraham—was faithful. And what is the promise that God has made to us? It is a promise about which the writer of Romans said he too was persuaded: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, NKJV).
May our proclamation today be that we are “fully persuaded” of this great truth of God’s unending, unfailing, unconditional love for us. When we understand that it is God’s faithfulness, and His alone, that will not allow us to be separated from His love, we can complete our earthly journey in the same confident faith that “fully persuaded” our father Abraham.