Monday 5 June, 2017

Romans 4:1-12

4 What should we say about these things? What did Abraham, the father of our people, discover about being right with God? 2 Did he become right with God because of something he did? If so, he could brag about it. But he couldn’t brag to God. 3 What do we find in Scripture? It says, “Abraham believed God. God accepted Abraham’s faith, and so his faith made him right with God.” (Genesis 15:6) 4 When a person works, their pay is not considered a gift. It is owed to them. 5 But things are different with God. He makes ungodly people right with himself. If people trust in him, their faith is accepted even though they do not work. Their faith makes them right with God. 6 King David says the same thing. He tells us how blessed people are when God makes them right with himself. They are blessed because they don’t have to do anything in return. David says, 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless acts are forgiven. Blessed are those whose sins are taken away. 8 Blessed is the person whose sin the Lord never counts against them.” (Psalm 32:1,2) 9 Is that blessing only for those who are circumcised? Or is it also for those who are not circumcised? We have been saying that God accepted Abraham’s faith. So his faith made him right with God. 10 When did it happen? Was it after Abraham was circumcised, or before? It was before he was circumcised, not after! 11 He was circumcised as a sign of the covenant God had made with him. It showed that his faith had made him right with God before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the father of all believers who have not been circumcised. God accepts their faith. So their faith makes them right with him. 12 And Abraham is also the father of those who are circumcised and believe. So just being circumcised is not enough. Those who are circumcised must also follow the steps of our father Abraham. He had faith before he was circumcised.

Who’s in and who’s out?  A common game still in play for children and adults alike.  We like to define ourselves by the people we associate with, so our rules of membership, commonly informal, are important to us.  As Paul writes this game was being played once again as well, were the ones circumcised in and others out or vice versa?

Our challenge is the challenge of Christ – to stop thinking in these worldly terminologies and labels.  We must make sure the door is wide enough open to let in people of every ethnic group, every type of family, every geographical region, every sort of moral (or immoral) background. But we must also make sure that the defining characteristic of the membership for this multi-ethnic family remains firmly stated and adhered to: the faith that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead. Keeping this balance, and doing so in the right spirit, remains a major task for Christians in the twenty-first century.

Father help us not to define ourselves by anything other than how you call us to faith – may righteousness be our label, a righteousness imparted to us by faith in Your Son our Saviour, not by anything we have done.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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