Thursday, March 20, 2014

Romans 4:13-17 (ESV)

13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.  14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.  15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

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,17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

During this part of his letter to the Romans, Paul addresses how Abraham was justified by his faith.  He is careful not to say that the law is insignificant, but that God’s covenant with Abraham was fulfilled by “righteousness of faith.”  Thomas R. Schreiner states that “if the inheritance is gained by observing the law, then righteousness is no longer by faith but by works.”  Our faith in God is exhibited through our reliance and trust upon God’s Word as opposed to a checklist in which we are attempting to fulfill.

We see that our salvation is not dependent upon our own doing but by God’s grace and our faith in Him.  Schreiner says, “trusting God’s gift of unmerited favor.”  Our works will be a reflection of our faith and trust in God.  We will not be working towards earning His favor but rather our lives are a response to the unending grace that God bestows upon us.  Salvation and God’s promises are not a result of what we have done but are gifts that are freely given to us from our loving Father.

In the beginning of his walk with God, Abraham had a rough road but he eventually figured things out.  As seen in his near sacrifice of Isaac, Abraham placed his trust in God which resulted in the same type of trust from Isaac himself.  Each one of us has had a rocky path but we can now with full assurance place our trust in God and have our lives be a reflection of our devotion and thankfulness.

Heavenly Father, strengthen my faith and trust in You.  Help me to lean not on my own understanding, but to stand firm in Your words and truth.  Amen.