6/13 Romans 4:16

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,

Paul pointed to Abraham as the quintessential example of what is required for salvation. Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Abraham responded to God by faith. He was not perfect in all that he did, but he believed God. Because of that belief, God promised that he would be the father of many nations. His offspring would inherit the world to come (Romans 4:13).

Paul describes the offspring not as physical descendants who attempt to keep the Laws of Moses, but as all who walk in the faith that Abraham demonstrated. He believed God. Paul could see that God was working around the world in every culture, drawing people to Himself, just as He had drawn Abraham. They may not have heard the Scriptures, just as Abraham had not heard, but they responded in faith to the work of God in their life. They share the faith of Abraham. He becomes their father in a spiritual sense, for he went down the path of faith before them.

What about the innocent native who never heard the gospel? This is Paul's answer. Salvation is by faith in the grace of God, not a perfect knowledge of soteriology (the study of salvation), or none would be saved. Salvation is guaranteed to all Abraham's spiritual offspring, but not to all his physical offspring or every Jew and Arab would be saved without faith. It is faith in the grace of God, which means we believe God, which results in receiving His saving grace. That was made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus, though Abraham did not understand the means.

Consider: Those who come to God by faith who have never heard the gospel will readily receive the good news about Jesus when they hear it (Romans 4:22-24).