16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. (Romans 4:16-17 (ESV)
“Who gives life to the dead.” What a wonderful description of God. The life he gives is the faith on which the promise depends, it is through the gospel of the resurrected Jesus who died for you that he calls into existence things that do not exist, calls into existence your faith, calls into existence the children of Abraham who share the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all, for it was his descendant that died for you that rose for you.
Our faith. Believe harder, your faith isn’t strong enough. No it isn’t. My own faith fails me more often than not. Today we think of faith as something everyone has, and they get to choose what to place it in. They get to exercise it, make it grow stronger, and such growth we think we can monitor by how we live how well we do according to God’s law, by which we usually mean any law but that of God, pious quibbling over the length of a skirt, courage in a culture war, and a myriad of other things even non-Christians in this society will fight for, and which I as a Christian often don’t understand at all. I’m often wonder if it won’t finally be the gospel that wins when the religious right loses the culture war. For it is God that uses the weak to shame the strong, the foolish to shame the wise. He finds victory in death, because it is to the dead he gives life. This life, this faith, it’s found in the weak who understand they aren’t strong enough, and it mocks the “strong” who are just to foolish to realize their weakness. This faith God calls into existence in the midst of death.