“And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.” Romans 4:22-25
When God first called Abraham and Abraham believed God’s promise, God declared Abraham righteous before him. But Abraham had not one shred of physical evidence that this promise would be fulfilled; he had only God’s promise. His saving faith lapsed at one time and produced Ishmael, the son of the flesh, but it was not extinguished. After 14 years his faith was revived when God reaffirmed his covenant. This shows that the faith he originally exercised was genuine faith. These things about Abraham were recorded for all men that all might know the way to be justified before God. As an example, for us, Abraham believed God and was declared righteous. To be justified today a person must also believe the promise of God, which includes the full revelation of the crucified and resurrected Christ who alone can forgive sins.
This faith of Abraham is amazing. He did not have a Bible to read; he had only the promise of God. He was almost alone as a believer, surrounded by heathen unbelievers. He could not look back at a long record of faith; in fact, he was helping write the record. Yet Abraham believed God. People today have a complete Bible to read and study. They have a church fellowship and can look back at centuries of faith as recorded in church history and the Bible. Yet many refuse to believe.