Morning Prayer: 20 July – Romans 4:17b-22 ~ on the reasonableness of faith

Reading through Romans

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening sentence

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
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A reading from Romans: Romans 4:17b-22 (NLT)

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This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping — believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.

Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.
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Reflection: Romans 4:17b-22 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)

The description of faith as ‘reasonable’ comes as a surprise to many people, since they have always supposed that faith and reason were alternative means of grasping reality, and mutually incompatible….

Although, to be sure, faith goes beyond reason, it always has a firmly rational basis. In particular , faith is believing or trusting a person, and its reasonableness depends on the reliability of the person being trusted.

It is always reasonable to trust the trustworthy. And there is nobody more trustworthy than God, as Abraham knew, and as we are privileged to know more confidently than Abraham because we live after the death and resurrection of Jesus through which God has fully disclosed himself and his dependability.

In particular, before we are in a position to believe God’s promises, we need to be sure both of his power (that he is able to keep them) and of his faithfulness (that he can be relied on to do so). It is these two attributes of God which were the foundations of Abraham’s faith, and on which Paul reflects in this passage.

The power of God: it is out of nothing that he created the universe, and out of death that he raised Jesus. The creation and the resurrection were and remain the two major manifestations of the power of God.

The faithfulness of God: Abraham glorified God by letting God be God, and by trusting him to be true to himself as the God of creation and resurrection. It is this concept of ‘letting God be God’ which forms a natural transition from his power to his faithfulness.

There is a fundamental correspondence between our faith and God’s faithfulness, so much so that Jesus’ command, ‘Have faith in God,’ has sometimes been roughly but justly paraphrased, ‘Reckon on the faithfulness of God.’ Behind all promises lies the character of the person who makes them.
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Canticle

Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life around the World, Life in America, Life in Christ

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