Salvation is a Simple thing, but it is not Easy(4:22-25)
Paul concludes his defense of genuine faith by telling us why Abraham is a part of the story. Abraham was the first to receive the imputation of righteousness that comes because of faith in the work of Christ.
Salvation, in the end, is not about doctrines or philosophies. It is not about the right words, or prayer or denomination. Salvation is the joining of two hearts, the heart of God and the heart of each individual that trusts in Him [John 17:20-26]. The events of Abraham’s life were written so that when the time came and some nutty preacher said, “If you believe on the Lord Jesus you will be saved,” you would actually believe Him and be saved. Not because the preacher said so, but rather because Abraham stands as the great example of what true faith in a faithful God looks like.
If the faith like that of Abraham is what God said we need to exercise in order to be justified, then maybe we should agree with Abraham and hope that it could be said of us:
He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. [Romans 4:20-21, The Message, emphasis added]
Salvation is a simple thing. God has not made the matter complicated or difficult. He tells us to believe and salvation will come. Paul’s description and explanation of Abraham’s faith helped the Romans to understand two things. First, there was nothing that they could do to be saved. Salvation of any soul is an act of divine intervention. There is nothing that we can do to merit God’s love for us. What God does is that God extends an invitation to journey with Him throughout our lives.
Second, there was nothing that God desires for us to do to be saved. Faith is not a work because it is not something we do, it is something we are, or better yet, it is is someone we are becoming. As a result the Holy Spirit’s work to conform and transform us [Romans 8:29, 12:2], there will emerge from within us corresponding actions that serve as proof, as evidence of the inner reality that we have been born again [1 Peter 2:11-12]. But these “doings” proceed from our changed hearts. They do not precede our change of heart.