In 1973, the children’s television show Sesame Street broadcast the song “Believe in Yourself.” Since then, it has been sung by a string of celebrities on the show from Ray Charles to Michael Bublé. The message is fairly simple—anything is possible if you have enough faith in yourself. But is that true?
The apostle Paul taught something quite different. The most valuable thing is not to believe in ourselves, but to believe in God. He illustrated his point with the life of Abraham. God promised that Abraham would have many descendants, yet by the time Abraham had reached 100 years old, they had not produced even one child. Even though it seemed impossible, Abraham refused to give up his belief in God’s promise (v. 19).
From a human perspective, Abraham and Sara’s dream of having a child was impossible. As Paul reminds us, “[H]is body was as good as dead” (v. 19). But God was not limited by biology. The God who spoke the universe into existence would keep His promise. That is the essence of biblical faith: believing and living as if God’s promises are true (vv. 20–21).
Paul compared Abraham’s faith in God to do the impossible to our faith in God’s ability to raise Jesus from the dead (vv. 24–25). God’s plan of redemption is summarized in verse 25: “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” One of the gifts God has given us in Christ is that He “raised Jesus our Lord from the dead” (v. 24). Christ’s death and resurrection were both necessary for our salvation. Believing in God’s promises has eternal consequences for us.
>> What you believe affects everything you say and do. Today we put a lot of emphasis on believing in ourselves. But our belief in God must take first place. What we believe about God changes us not just for this life but for eternity!
Merciful Savior, we delight in Your love and grace! We rejoice as we are raised to new life with You. Because You live, we live. Praise be to Your holy name!