For the proclamation of the Gospel and the edification of the Body of Christ
Faith, righteousness and promise
Genesis 15 relates the important episode in Abraham´s life when he was declared righteous. The word that God gave Abraham was relative to his descendance, which was to be countless like the stars in the heavens.
To begin with, Abraham did not have children, and his wife was sterile; humanly speaking, there was no possible way for this promise to be fulfilled. And here dwells the glory of Abraham´s faith. It was a faith placed entirely in God, empty of any human element. It was an absolute faith in God.
Then after faith came righteousness. Righteousness comes from believing God, making God truthful. It does not consist in believing in God but believing God. Righteousness is revealed right after we believe God; nevertheless, the fulfillment of the promise does not come right after, but in the time determined by God. When Abraham believed God, he did not receive the time of the promise.
Naturally, the complete promise was not to be fulfilled in Abraham´s lifetime, since if refers to a multitude of people, but al least the son of the promise, he needed to see with his own eyes.
It took Isaac 15 years to arrive, and he came when Abraham was without strength "almost dead", says Hebrews; "like dead", says Romans. Not only was it difficult for Issac to be born when God made him the promise, but it was even more difficult for him to be born at the time when he was born. Aside from everthing, Issac arrived.
Here we have a precious beginning. All believers are called, not only to be justified by faith, but to receive the fulfillment of a promise. To receive it, believers must wait until their strength is gone and their hopes are dead. Many righteous in the faith are still waiting for God´s promise to be fulfilled and to be fathers of many; meanwhile, others have already received it, and others are beginning to receive.
We know, of course, that the inheritence is Christ, but we want to emphasize what comes with Christ. In Christ there are to be children that are to be born of the Spirit. There is a work that must be done by God. The children of God should grow to be fathers and have their own children. Paul tells the Corinthians: "For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have you not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel" (1st Corinthians 4:15). And to the Galatians: "My little children, of whom I travail in birth pains" (4:19).
Before receiving what was promised, Abraham lived a period of infertility and tests after being justified. The same applies to Christians. There might be many righteous, but maybe not all are fathers. Not all have done God´s works. God´s will is that by faith and patience, we all reach what was promised.
John, in his first epistile, distinguishes the children, the youth, and the fathers. The fathers are those who have known him that is from the beginning. They are mature, since they have passed through trials, through the failures of Egypt, and through giving birth to children in the flesh. They know God´s fidelity, and know that if there are fruits today, it is through God´s grace.