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“Abraham is described as a man who ‘did not waver in unbelief.’ But didn’t he waver a little when he had a son by Hagar instead of Sarah?”— Shannon
The story of Abraham to which you refer is found in Gen. 15-18, 21-22. God promised to bless Abraham with a son in spite of the fact that both he and his wife, Sarai, were quite advanced in age. Abraham believed God, but it took him awhile to grasp fully just how God would fulfill the promise.
At first he thought his heir would be his number one servant (Gen. 15:2). Then, the barren Sarai convinced him that her number one maid should be a surrogate mother. Abraham and Hagar produced Ishmael (Gen. 16:1ff). It finally dawned on Abraham that God truly meant that the son, the heir from whom an entire nation would descend, would be his and Sarah’s (Gen. 17:15-27; 18:1-15). Abraham’s faith had not wavered — but he did try to help God along.
The full demonstration of Abraham’s deep, abiding faith in God’s promise came in his willingness to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. He believed unfailingly that God would still keep His promise, even in the face of what seemed an impossibility (Gen. 22:1-18; cf. 18:14).
In Romans 4, Paul holds up Abraham as Exhibit A of the kind of faith that results in being made right with God. Abraham was fully human; he made more than a few mistakes, but “with respect to the promise of God, he did not ‘wander into’ unbelief” (4:20). Quite the opposite, he “grew increasingly strong in faith, certain that what God had promised He was able also to perform” (4:21).
Paul makes the point that this same faith in Christ today will result in peace with God (Rom. 5:1ff).
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