Prepare to Listen. In stillness be attentive to Jesus. Pray: You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Prayerfully Read Romans 4:13-17
13For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. 16For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17as 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.
Not through law, but through faith. Simply believe. The promise God made to Abraham, a promise that is all-inclusive of the world (did you notice that Abraham would “inherit the world” not heaven when he died?) excludes all human effort to achieve it. There was nothing Abraham could or couldn’t do to inherit the promise. As John Stott notes, “Law-language (‘you shall’) demands our obedience, but promise-language (‘I will’) demands our faith. What God said to Abraham was not ‘Obey this law and I will bless you’, but ‘I will bless you; believe my promise’.” (Romans. InterVarsity Press, 1994, p. 131). The blessing was a given. Abraham and Sarah simply were to believe it. You see, if the promises rests on works, a reward for good behavior, even if most of us managed to achieve the standard of good behavior (a very questionable possibility) someone would blow it for all of us and God would pull the plug on salvation. But God’s promise of salvation to all creation rests on grace alone and therefore is guaranteed to all who do nothing but simply believe God’s promise. And if there is no law there can be no violation of law and thus no wrath of God. We can live in confidence of being approved by God because we don’t have to worry about doing the right stuff and avoiding the bad. Rest on God’s grace in Jesus and live confidently.
What blew you mind as you read Paul’s words today? How can you live into it today?
Respond to Jesus
I stand amazed in your presence, Promise-Making God and say, Wow! I don’t understand this, at least not very much, except you are a God who makes and keeps promises. Help me rest on your grace and simply believe. Thank you, Amen
Go live obediently in the world. Your only requirement: simply believe God’s promise.
Because I believe that Scripture is food for our soul (our entire being) I seek to read it and encourage others to read it in ways that nourish and transform our beings. I invite you to read the Bible with me during Lent and into Easter. I am a Bible teacher, spiritual companion and retreat director. I know the Bile and how to read it for spiritual formation.