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Today as one of our readings, we look at Romans 4: 1-12:
I want to look specifically at 1-4 and 9-12:
What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due.
9 Is this blessedness, then, pronounced only on the circumcised, or also on the uncircumcised? We say, “Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.” 10 How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 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 ancestor of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, 12 and likewise the ancestor of the circumcised who are not only circumcised but who also follow the example of the faith that our ancestor Abraham had before he was circumcised.
Today we continue with some of the same ground that Paul plowed last week, righteousness and faith. Today, Paul talks specifically about Abraham and how he is the father of all our faith. It was his faith that was reckoned to him and that made him righteous. He was not made righteous by circumcision or any outward thing, because he was righteous before that. He has faith before he was circumcised.
His circumcision was an outward expression of his inward righteousness.
Likewise, he was not righteous because he kept the Law. The Law had not been given to him, so there was no way that he could keep a law not yet given. Yet, he kept the intent of the law because he was righteous by faith. Faith is the actual keeping of the Law.
It is not the outward expression of the faith that saves us or makes us righteous. It is the faith itself. But, if there is true faith, then that faith will express itself in our actions.
Yes, Abraham had faith, and that faith is what saved him and made him righteous. That is right. But, that faith is what also caused him to leave behind everything that he had in Ur to go to the Land that God would show him. His faith caused action. The action did not save him, but it was an external expression of the inward commitment.
Think of your first love. Or your spouse or significant others. Do not your heart race around them? Don’t you want to show them signs of your affliction and commitment? Of course, you do. These outward expressions are not the full extent of your relationship with them; they are simply signs of it.
So is it with God. Our outward expressions are simply outward signs of an inward righteousness that comes through faith. Today, may our lives show our faith.
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