St. Joseph, Thursday, March 19, 2015

Romans 4:13-18 (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. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.”

People are often surprised when they read from our verse today that Abraham is the father of us all. Isn’t Abraham the father of the Jewish nation? God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations not just the Jewish nation.

Through the line of Abraham would come Jesus and therefore many nations would be blessed. Abraham pleased God not through his actions but through his faith in the promise God had given him. All Abraham had to go on was God’s promise to guide and bless him.

When Jesus entered this earth, God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled. Through Abrahams’s faith in what he could not see the entire world would be blessed.

We please God by our faith is Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross. Jesus said in John 20:29 to his disciple, Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” We believe because we have faith in what we cannot see but know in our hearts to be true. Through faith in Jesus we not only have God’s promise of eternal life but also his promise to guide and bless us.

Through faith like Abraham we too can bless many generations to come, and say with confidence “Yes, I am a child of Abraham; and more wondrously I am a child of the Living God.”

Father of Abraham and our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you that I am your child through faith in Jesus not by what I see or do but by what I believe in my heart. Help me live as your child, trusting in your promises and guidance and sharing my faith with others so that generations to come may be blessed. Amen

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Romans 4:13-15 (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.

Leading up to this reading, Paul indicates that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness not while he was circumcised (under the law) but while he was still uncircumcised. This is significant because the blanket of righteousness by faith does not exclusively pertain to those under Jewish Law, but extends to the Gentiles as well. Furthermore, blessings and the favor of God are not to be earned by adherence to the law, but by God’s grace through the sacrifice of our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All who trust in Christ Jesus are spiritual children of Abraham and are beneficiaries of the promise made to Abraham to be an heir to the world.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for the example of faith displayed in Abraham. Have mercy upon us and straighten us in our own faith so that our lives may be pleasing to you. Thank you for your grace and your love by the extension of salvation unto all those who accept Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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.

Wedesday, March 19, 2014

Romans 4:1-5 (ESV)

1 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh?  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 counted to him as righteousness.”  Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.  And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,

Abraham’s faith in God is what the Lord counted as righteousness.  It was not Abraham’s actions, obedience or faithfulness that was counted as righteousness but his faith, his believe in God. Abraham was justified by his faith and so are we.  We are so blessed to be saved by grace.  It is not something we can earn but rather, the free gift given to us by the Lord.  It is so counter cultural to be able to receive something without working for it or earning it in some way.  We don’t have to work for our salvation because Jesus has done the work for us in dying on the cross for our sins.

If we were able to earn our own salvation, we would have something to boast about.  Instead, we boast about what Jesus has done for us.  Our salvation is not based on who we are or what we have done but rather, based on who Jesus is and what Jesus did on our behalf.

His tremendous sacrifice justifies us before the Lord.  We spend the rest of our lives in the process of sanctification where we become more and more like Christ.  He changes us from the inside out. The Lord changes our desires, thoughts and wills so that they become aligned with His.  This sanctification process makes us want the things God wants and empowers us to live the lives He created us to live.

Gracious Father, we are incredibly thankful you provided a way for us to be justified in your eyes through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  We know it is not based on anything we did but everything He did.  Help us transform our hearts and minds to be more like your Son’s each day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.