Romans 4:1-3, 13-17
Welcome to Lent meditation and worship with Westside church. During this Lenten season, meet us here each day as we read scripture, worship and rest in the presence of God together. Know that as you listen today, you are doing so with others whether in the same space as you or not, and we pray that the Holy Spirit permeates the places we each find ourselves in right now.
Let us start today by clearing our minds and opening our hearts and minds to what the Lord wants to speak to us through His word today. Take a deep breath in and out. And another in and out.
Today we look at the life of Abraham again but this time through the words of Paul in Romans. He is reminding the church of Rome why Abraham received the blessings of God as he did. It all comes down to faith as so much of our walk with Jesus does.
Romans 4:1-3, 13-17
Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? 2 If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. 3 For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” …
13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. 14 If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. 15 For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)
16 So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. 17 That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.
In these few verses, Paul uses the word “faith” no less than five different times. He reiterates again and again that the promises of God are received through faith. Not living the best life. Not obeying the law of God. Not reading the most scripture. Not praying for the most hours in a day. You can try with all your might to earn the promises of God and never attain them, because it is only through faith. It’s a free gift.
Abraham wasn’t a perfect man. He made many mistakes. We make many mistakes. But that doesn’t take away from the gift we are given. It doesn’t mean that we have to work harder to atone so that we also can be counted righteous. When Jesus came to earth, he fulfilled the law of the Old Testament and now we are forgiven through his grace alone. Stop striving to earn your place in God’s family. Strengthen your faith and trust that God’s gift is truly free.
Hope beyond all human hope, you promised descendants as numerous as the stars to old Abraham and barren Sarah. You promise light and salvation in the midst of darkness and despair, and promise redemption to a world that will not listen. Gather us to yourself in tenderness, open our ears to listen to your word, and teach us to live faithfully as people confident of the fulfillment of your promises. Amen.
WRITE and DISCUSS