Thursday, October 29, 2015

Being set right

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, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. (Romans 4:1-12)
In this passage we have the perfect examples of justification “being set right with God” through faith from the Old Testament, Abraham and David. Abraham represents before the Law was given while David represents after the law was given. Both of these men believed God’s promise and God justified them. Both are saved by grace through faith. Paul ask a critical question about Abraham’s circumcision was it before or after he believed the Lord’s promise? Abraham’s circumcision didn’t save him just as water baptism doesn’t save anybody today. Abraham’s circumcision was a sign and a seal of his right standing with God. The same with King David. The people in Jesus’ day asked him this question: Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:28-29) That is it! Believe in Jesus Christ. The Philippian Jailer asked Paul, What must I do to be saved? Paul and Silas response, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household. The Philippian Jailer believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and got saved. Look it up it is in Acts 16. It is my prayer that this article today has helped you in your relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Praying it Through!

Have you ever read this passage and thought about prayer? Let’s read this passage and keep prayer in mind.
For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. (Romans 4:13-25)
We often pray selfish prayers asking Jesus to do something or claiming something in Jesus’ name and we often recite some familiar passages to justify our prayer request. After praying such prayers we may try to manufacture the miracle. I’m guilty of this myself. After reading passages like this and the one in Genesis we need to gain a proper perspective on prayer. Like Abraham we need to enjoy the Lord’s presence, his friendship taking delight in him. Secondly let the Lord give you a promise of what he wants to do in and through your life. Then after the Lord gives you a promise, pray through what the Lord has promised, and obey his instructions that he has given you. Sometimes his instructions are wait! This is when the Lord prepares us to be ready to receive the promise. Remember, God is able to call into existence what he has promised you. I invite you to read the Bible and have a conversation with the Lord.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Why questions are asked?

When I was growing up and going to school I didn’t pay attention. Then the teacher would ask a question I would get it wrong. So I had to learn to pay attention in class or I would miss the answer to the questions being asked. Today we will come to the end of Romans Chapter 3 where Paul is going to ask six questions that will cause us to stop and reflect on what the Lord has done for us and what he has taught us.
“Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” (Romans 3:27-31)
These questions cause us to stop and think about the two principles that are taught in this chapter. The two principles are: that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law and that God is the God of both Jews and Gentiles. The first three questions that Paul asks are concerning a person being justified by faith apart from the works of the law. None of us can boast about our salvation in Jesus. We didn’t do the work to pay the penalty for our sin debt. Jesus did that work on the cross to make salvation possible for all people.
The next two questions Paul teaches us that God is the God of both Jew and Gentile, all other people who are not of Jewish blood. After Jesus’ death burial and resurrection he deals equally with everybody. So it doesn’t matter what family you are born into, or what religion you were raised with, God’s way of salvation is the same for all humanity. For any person desiring to go to heaven when they die, or have a new life that is different now on earth they must by faith, repent of their sins and call on Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior. When they do this God fulfills his promise in their lives. The last question is what happens to the Law. Jesus taught us saying that the Law would not pass away but that He came to fulfill the law. Let’s reread the first three chapters of Romans again and ask the Lord where we need to examine ourselves in relation to these questions. I invite you come and worship with us or another church in the local area.