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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Romans 4:19-21

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Joined: 2010/8/1
Posts: 92

 Romans 4:19-21

A friend was reading through Romans and came across these verese

“And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:19-21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

He then asked me the question “How can Paul say Abraham’s faith never wavered when it clearly did?

Does anyone have some insight on this? Abraham must have doubted because he tried to take matters in his own hands when he slept with Hagar. Right??

Joshua Herndon

 2018/9/27 16:39Profile

Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 1978
Joplin, Missouri

 Re: Romans 4:19-21

I read your post, and went back and looked at Gen. 16 and 17 one more time. Actually, the whole Hagar thing was Sarai's idea. Abraham just agreed to it. When the angel appeared, Abraham believed it, but Sarai laughed. That is why the child's name was called Isaac.

Abraham made a lot of mistakes and going in to Hagar was perhaps the most glaring. But I don't believe His faith in God that out of His loins would come a great nation and the savior ( Christ ) never wavered.

Several years ago I looked at every New Testament mention of Abraham and then compared it to the Old Testament. According to the New Testament, God showed Abraham that his seed would be Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, and showed him that Christ would be raised from the dead. This is why Abraham had such confidence in offering Isaac. He just assumed (great faith) that God would do for His son what He had been shown God would do for His own Son. Really cool stuff when you study it out. It will make you jump for joy at God's plan for your salvation.


 2018/9/29 14:23Profile

Joined: 2018/9/6
Posts: 169

 Abraham’s faith never wavered

It was God who made the covenant promise - commitment to Abraham. It was God's total responsibility to bring this promise to pass. Now Abraham believed in God's commitment to him because he knew what God had promised him, God would perform. Now Abraham’s faith never wavered because the fulfillment of the promise was dependent on God's faithfulness to Abraham. It did not depend on his faithfulness to God. So Abraham’s faith never wavered.


 2018/9/29 19:20Profile

Joined: 2016/6/15
Posts: 554


Hi Travis,

I also want to dig deeper into this.

Just thinking:


Sarah laughed.

Gen. 18:10-12 –
He said, "I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son." And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing. Sarah laughed to herself, saying, "After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?"

But Abraham had also laughed.

Gen. 17:15-18 –
Then 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 indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her." Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" And Abraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before You!"


Sarah laughed.

But the Lord did not hold that against her.

This was the Lord’s response:

Gen. 18:14 –
"Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son."

Sarah’s lack of faith did not nullify the Lord’s faithfulness.


 2018/9/29 23:39Profile

Joined: 2017/2/12
Posts: 314


Perhaps Abraham’s faith didn’t waiver. He just went in with Hagar to please his wife in much the same way that Adam wasn’t deceived but perhaps ate the fruit to please his wife as did Sampson try to please Delilah. It’s a theme Paul addresses in 1 Corintjhians 7.


 2018/9/30 23:36Profile

Joined: 2016/6/15
Posts: 554


Hi Robert,

Here is the IMMENSE difference:

Adam was driven out of paradise (Gen. 3:23). Through him, sin and death entered the world (Rom. 5:12). And in him, all die (1 Cor. 15:22).

Abraham was God’s friend (Isa. 41:8). His faith is our example (Rom. 4:19-21; Heb. 11). And in his seed all the nations of the earth are blessed (Gen. 22:18).

And Sarai became Sarah (Gen. 17:15), God’s princess!
(Comment: Sarah means “princess”.)
And there was the time and place when it was God’s will for Abraham to listen to her (Gen. 21:9-12).

How would your explanation explain all these? If Abraham failed in the same way as Adam failed, why are the outcomes so vastly different?



 2018/10/1 1:51Profile

Joined: 2017/2/12
Posts: 314


The difference might be that God did not tell Abraham not to be with Hagar whereas, God definitively told Adam not to eat the fruit or he would surely die.


 2018/10/1 6:48Profile

Joined: 2017/7/14
Posts: 1062
Snoqualmie, WA


I'm glad some few decided to reply.

It appears from Genesis 17 that Abram being 99 years old, Ishmael being 13 years old, God appeared to Abram and made a covenant with Abraham that he would bless Isaac.

God gave specific reasons for not blessing Ishmael as he did Isaac.

13 years later, God appeared to Abram making covenant and establishing it with the sign of circumcision. God also now going forward to establish Abrahams descendants brings forth Isaac by supernatural intervention and not by way of natural human ability. This event marked a new period in the lives of Abraham and Sarah.

But as to wavering in his faith, It maybe that Paul was referring to Abrahams faith in God after God had appeared and made covenant with him that Sarah would conceive.
So, despite Abrahams age and Sarah being past child-bearing age, Isaac became the 'child of promise' because his birth was according to divine agency and not by way of expediency which Sarai and Abraham acted to obtain the promised child with human ability.

As I see it, Paul referring to Abraham's faith that God would give him a Child being so old and Sarah being past her natural ability to give birth undertook to go unto Sarah and receive from God a true child of promise.
Here in this context he did not waiver but believed and received of God what God had promised.

Abraham's unwavering faith in context was 'looking past the deadness of his body and Sarah's womb' and going unto his wife that by God's power she would conceive. The impossibility of his own body and Sarah's body performing was overthrown by his faith in the promise of God.

Paul by the Spirit of God seeing the working of God in this ancient couple receives the revelation of God, herein lays the heart of the new covenant, that being righteousness is by faith and not works. That our birth is by divine agency our righteousness is by divine promise, our new life is by a circumcision not made by hands and our Savior saw to it that what was promised to Abraham was fulfilled in us by way of his sacrifice of his own self on the mount.


 2018/10/1 13:20Profile

Joined: 2016/6/15
Posts: 554


Marvin wrote:
"Paul by the Spirit of God seeing the working of God in this ancient couple receives the revelation of God, herein lays the heart of the new covenant....."

I am thinking along the same lines.

Will gather my thoughts together and write again.


 2018/10/2 4:04Profile

Joined: 2016/6/15
Posts: 554


Roman 4:19-21 —
Without becoming weak in faith 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; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.

John 8:56 –
"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad."



Men commit two evils when they forsake God and turn to themselves and believe in themselves and trust in themselves for life and everything required for life. This is FALSE FAITH in self that imparts nothing but emptiness, futility and death.

Jer. 2:13 –
For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns
That can hold no water.

Therefore, the faith we are NOT to have is the confidence in ourselves, in “flesh”.

Phil. 3:3 –
for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,

TRUE FAITH is faith in God and NOT in self. TRUE FAITH sees our utter worthlessness and barrenness and hopelessness and sees God as our only hope and sufficiency and is fully assured that what God has promised He is able to perform.

Ps. 39:4-7 –
LORD, make me to know my end
And what is the extent of my days;
Let me know how transient I am.
Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight;
Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah.
Surely every man walks about as a phantom;
Surely they make an uproar for nothing;
He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.
And now, Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in You.

2 Cor. 3:5 (KJV) –
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

Isa. 26:3-4 (KJV) –
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

Jer. 17:7 (YLT) –
Blessed is the man who trusteth in Jehovah,
And whose confidence hath been Jehovah.

Rom. 4:20-21 –
…… he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.

God’s promise to us is eternal life and that life is in His Son, Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:25 –
This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.

John 14:6 –
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

1 John 5:11-12 –
And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

God gives us this eternal life by putting us in Christ and gives us His Holy Spirit to live in us and through the agency of the Holy Spirit we know the reality of Christ in us. Because Christ is in us, as He is, we are. TRUE FAITH is being fully assured that God’s promise of eternal life to us through Christ in us by the Holy Spirit is YES!

1 Cor. 1:30 –
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,

John 14:16-17,20 –
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you……In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

Col. 2:9-10 –
For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete……

2 Cor. 1:20-21 –
For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God,

WE must see the total worthlessness and hopelessness of self and die to self. We die to self by being crucified with Christ.

Gal. 2:20 –
I have been crucified with Christ……

“It is finished” (John 19:30).

In the old covenant, sacrifices were made year after year because in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year for it was impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins (Heb. 10:1-4). But, by the will of God, “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:10).

It is finished! Our old man of sin and self has died with Christ forever. And God says, “AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.” (Heb. 10:17).

Do we continue to sin?

Rom. 6:2 –
“May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”

Rom. 6:6-7 –
knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

Rom. 6:10-11 (KJV) –
For in that he died, he died unto sin once……Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin……

What do we do?

Phil. 3:13-14 –
……one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

2 Cor. 5:21 –
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Cor. 5:14 –
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

2 Cor. 5:17 –
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Rom. 5:11 (KJV) –
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves ……alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Eph. 2:4-6 –
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us……raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Col. 3:1-4 –
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Col. 3:10-11 –
and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him-- a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

Gal. 2:20 –
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me……

Salvation is a gift of God.

Eph. 2:8-10 –
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

God Himself will perfect us in Christ.

I Cor. 1:4-5,8-9 (Berean Study Bible) –
I always thank my God for you because of the grace He has given you in Christ Jesus. For in Him you have been enriched in every way, in all speech and all knowledge…… He will sustain you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

1 Thess. 5:23-24 –
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

John 17:3 –
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

We do not have because we do not know Him, who He is in us. Therefore let us search the scriptures to know Christ. The riches of Christ are unfathomable (Eph. 3:8).

He is in us. As He is, we are. We do not possess because we do not see. May God open our eyes to see the glory of Christ in us.

2 Cor. 4:4 –
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

2 Cor. 4:6 –
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Cor. 13:5 –
……Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you……?

2 Cor. 3:18 –
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.


In Rom. 4:19-21, Abraham finally saw his own body as “dead”. At this crucial turning point, he denied himself, embraced the cross, died to himself, turned to God and trusted in God alone. False faith in self was cast away and true faith in God began and “he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.”


 2018/10/8 9:51Profile

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