This is very much the gist of what Paul is driving at in the 13th verse.  He mentions a promise made by God to Abraham, that he should be “the heir of the world…”  Now, it must be admitted that there are no promises recorded in Genesis where God explicitly tells Abraham that his seed shall possess the entire world.  However, in Genesis 17:4, it speaks of Abraham being made a father of many nations, which, while it had a very literal fulfillment in history, has a higher and better spiritual fulfillment in that there are believers of Abraham’s faith out of every kindred, tongue, tribe, and nation.  These, who overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, shall inherit all things.  Therefore, Paul does not speak inaccurately by making the general statement that it was promised to Abraham that he should be the possessor of the world.  After all, does not the scripture declare in both testaments that the meek (that is, true believers in God, characterized by humility) shall inherit the earth?  Likewise does it tell us, “The transgressors shall be rooted out of it.”  In its ultimate sense, the promises to Abraham included the grand reality that unbelievers shall be destroyed out of this world and imprisoned forever under everlasting burnings, while the wise and faithful shall inherit eternal glory in the new heaven and the new earth.


But the critical thing the apostle is proving here is that such glorious promises as these were not conditioned upon man’s legal obedience, but rather upon the righteousness which is obtained by faith.  In other words, it is not those who attempt to satisfy God and win His approval by obeying the law who shall inherit the promises made to Abraham, but those who look to God in faith and receive righteousness from Him as a free gift, just like Abraham did.  To these alone do the Gospel promises pertain, and they alone shall inherit the full benefit of them.