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Only One risen Saviuor

Only One risen Saviuor
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Jesus

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Abraham Believed

Have you ever been in a group of people where you were the outsider? You weren't literally an outsider because you were invited and wanted but the group had history in common and you weren't there. When I went to college I was sort of adopted by a group of students from Nova Scotia who all had gone to school together. They included me and I enjoyed their company. I even married one of them. However I remember many times when they got on a roll telling stories and I could only listen because I wasn't part of the story. They were shared experiences that I didn't share.
 
Stories are awesome. We don't tell enough of them and even when we do we often fail to link stories to the profound lessons they teach. Paul has spent 3 chapters building a case that all of us are in the same boat. We may sin differently, behave differently, and be classified differently by society but at the end of the day we have "all sinned and fallen short of the glory (character) of God". Furthermore no amount of effort or attempts at law keeping (being good enough) will change that fact. Now that he has made the case he tells a story to seal his point.
 
The 'problem' is he doesn't 'tell' the story, he just refers to it without any detail. Here is what he said:
"What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found 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 accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness." Romans 4:1-5
When Paul says "flesh" he means things we accomplish on our own. When he says "grace" he means things God does for us that we couldn't do on our own.
Paul doesn't tell Abraham's story because he assumes you already know it. If you don't you are not ready for Romans. Truthfully attempting to understand the New Testament without first being familiar with the stories of the Old Testament is like trying to take a calculus course without first learning basic math.
So just in case you need a refresher Abraham was called by God (Genesis 12) to become the father of a large family, a family that would become a nation and through which the Seed (Jesus) would be born. The problem was Abraham didn't have a large family. Abraham didn't have a single child. He and his wife Sarai tried and tried but they just couldn't have a child. As the Bible says "the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak". They wanted to fulfill God's plan for them they just couldn't.
 
Now consider again what Paul said in Romans 4:1-5
"What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? (He found zero ability to produce a child) 2 For if Abraham was justified by works(by trying), he has something to boast about (had he been able to produce a son he would have had something to be proud of), but not before God (For even if he had produced a son God is still the One who made it possible). 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. (If you are given a job to do and you do it, your employer is not doing you a favour by paying you. He owes you. You earned it.)
5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness."
 
See Paul is comparing Abraham's son Isaac (who was born miraculously after conception was no longer possible) to christian character. God's mission for us is to have a character like His. Like Abraham no amount of effort will produce it. We need grace. We need God to provide what we will never be able to produce. If we believe He can do it just as Abraham believed God would give him a son than we are believers and God will classify us as holy and righteous and just like Him.
Religion is self centered and tries in vain to achieve. Faith is God centered and simply believes.
 
See you tomorrow :)

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