Have you ever wondered if God’s promises no longer applied to you because of past failures? I remember when I was in high school the Lord spoke some profound promises into my life through His Word and the Holy Spirit. Then I made some poor choices and the next thing I knew, I was wallowing in guilt and self-condemnation, fully convinced that I had eradicated God’s promises.
For a long time, I existed in that defeated mindset, afraid to fail again. I was behaving as if my works could somehow justify me before God. I was benching myself indefinitely on the sideline, when in reality God still wanted me playing on the field. Thankfully, God’s Word penetrated my heart and I came to the understanding that though our actions do matter because they are evidence of our faith, they do not save us or make us right before God—only our faith in the finished work of the cross can do that.
In Romans 4:2-3, Paul writes, “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’”
In Hebrews 11, which many refer to as the “Faith Hall of Fame,” Abraham is named multiple times for being a man of faith. Fortunately for Abraham, he was not justified based on his works because from that standpoint he failed notably numerous times.
In Genesis 15:5-6, God tells Abram (eventually changed to Abraham), “‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.”
The Hebrew word for “believed” is aman, which means to “confirm or trust,” and it shares the same root as the word amen, which means “so be it.” In other words, Abraham was fully committed to the Lord. The point that Paul is making is that Abraham was justified because of the faith he had in the Lord, not in his works. By his works Abraham sowed to the flesh and failed multiple times. Yet, God still kept His promises to Abraham and although Abraham’s faith in certain circumstances sometimes faltered, his ultimate faith in God did not.
Are you beating yourself up over past mistakes and now you are wondering if God will still keep His promises to you? Perhaps you’re telling yourself that you’ve failed one too many times and now you’re damaged goods. Let me remind you that His promises are not based on our performance—they are gifts of grace that we receive through faith. Remember, Abraham was not a perfect man (far from it), but he believed God and “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” It’s time for us also to believe and move forward to the future—God’s promises await us!