Sermon from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans | Unwavering Faith | Romans 4:18-21

Unwavering Faith (Romans 4:18-21)

When I was in college, a friend and I went to visit the college’s head of recruiting—Charles Payne—who was in the hospital. Charles and his wife Donna meant a great deal to Steve and me. Charles was in the hospital because he was having some serious heart issues, and the diagnosis was rather bleak.

Steve and I walked into Charles’s hospital room, and he greeted us with a smile and said, “Whatever happens, I’m okay. If they can fix my heart and allow me to live, that’s great, but if they can’t fix it and I die, I get to go be with the Lord. Either way, I’m going to win.” Charles lived a few more years before his heart finally gave out, but, as long as I live, I’ll never forget his faith.

You’ve surely exhibited big faith yourself. Maybe you buried someone who meant more to you than life itself, but you did so in hope of the resurrection. Perhaps when you lost a job, you knew that somehow, someway, God would open the right door. You might have sat in a doctor’s office hearing horrible news, but you knew that God would heal your body—either in this life or in the next. Maybe you sinned in a public and humiliating way, but you knew God would forgive.

Abraham exhibited big faith when big faith didn’t make any sense. God had promised Abraham and Sarah a son when they were old—Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90. People that age just do not have children! But Abraham’s faith said that God would do the impossible. Abraham’s dependence on God should teach you a lesson: “Faith trusts a God who does the impossible.

Scripture (Romans 4:18-21)

verse 18:

Abraham “believed against hope” that he would have many offspring. There was absolutely no hope that Abraham and Sarah would have children, but Abraham still believed God’s promise.

Abraham and been told, “So shall your offspring be.” Paul used the perfect tense of the verb “to say.” In the Greek language, the perfect tense refers to something which happened in the past with results in the present. Paul emphasized that God had spoken in the past, but God’s word was still as true as when he spoke it—Abraham would be the father of many nations.

verse 19:

Abraham “did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body . . . or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.” Abraham examined the situation at hand; “he considered his own body, which was as good as dead.” Bodies just don’t work as well as we age; Abraham looked at the situation, and he knew that neither he nor Sarah could conceive a child.

verse 20-21:

However, none of that mattered, for “no unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God.” The Greek term for “waver” means to separate or to be divided in one’s own mind; the idea is that Abraham wasn’t saying one minute, “It’s impossible” and another minute, “Well, maybe. . . .” Abraham knew that God had spoken and that God would fulfill his word.

Abraham was “fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” The physical reality may be absolutely impossible, but “Faith trusts a God who does the impossible.” Abraham knew God had spoken and no physical reality mattered; if God could make the universe and everything therein, God could allow a 90 year-old woman to bear a child of promise with a 100 year-old man as the father.


Faith trusts a God who does the impossible.” Life doesn’t always go the way we want. Sometimes doctors, even with our prayers, can’t cure a disease. Sometimes a financial crisis doesn’t bring a new day. Sometimes guilt remains after God forgives. Sometimes loneliness and grief are overwhelming even when you grieve in hope.

But God still does the impossible. Even if we lose everything on this earth—our health, our families, our income, and even our very lives—God has great things in store for us. The question, therefore, becomes, “How do I trust in God when everything is impossible?” You must grow in your faith precisely as Abraham did.

One: Consider the Problem.

Look at how impossible it is to solve the Problems in your life. Abraham did: He saw that neither his body nor Sarah’s body could conceive. Utterly impossible!

People have long faced serious Problems. The Israelites ran from Pharaoh and got trapped at the Red Sea—they had nowhere to run, and Pharaoh was gonna slaughter them. The Israelites then spent 40 years in the wilderness, but they didn’t have food or water—they were going to starve to death. Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to an idol and got themselves thrown into a fiery furnace—they were going to be ash. Daniel openly prayed to God and got himself thrown into a den of lions—the lions were going to eat well that night. Jesus was nailed to a cross and then laid in a tomb—his body was just going to lie there and rot.

You know how God worked his marvelous power. But humanly speaking those were insurmountable problems.

You likely have a Problem this morning. Maybe it’s with your health or with your guilt or with your finances or with your children. Look at how serious your problem is and how you cannot solve it. Consider your Problem.

Two: Consider the Promises.

Look at God’s Promises how your problems are no match for God’s promises. Abraham considered the fact that he and Sarah could not have a son, but he also considered the fact that God had promised him a son: “No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God.” God had promised Abraham a son, and God was going to deliver Abraham a son.

God has made Promises to destroy your problems.

  • You may mourn a loved one, but because God will raise the dead, you need not “grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thes 4:13).
  • You may lose a job, but your heavenly Father feeds the birds of the air which “neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,” and you are more valuable than they (Matt 7:26).
  • Your body may suffer the most debilitating diseases, but God will give you a new body in the resurrection: “What is sown [i.e., buried] is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power” (1 Cor 15:42-43).
  • Guilt may eat at your soul, but God will forgive the penitent: God “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9).

When you struggle with your faith, go to God’s Promises to find the faith to continue.


You cannot please God unless you are a person of faith: “Without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb 11:6). How is your faith this day? Will God reward you on that great day?

This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at Church of Christ Deer Park in Deer Park, Texas.

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