Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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.
A reading from Romans: Romans 4:23-25 (NLT)
And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.
Reflection: Romans 4:23-25 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)
The whole Abraham story, like the rest of Scripture, was written for our instruction (15: 4). So the same God, who credited faith to Abraham as righteousness, will credit righteousness to us also if we believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead (24).
Abraham was not unique in his experience of being justified by faith. For this is God’s way of salvation for everybody. But the God we are to trust in is not only the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; he is also the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (25). ‘This verse’, writes Hodge, ‘is a comprehensive statement of the gospel.’
We today are much more fortunate than Abraham, and have little or no excuse for unbelief. For we live on this side of the resurrection. Moreover, we have a complete Bible in which both the creation of the universe and the resurrection of Jesus are recorded. It is therefore more reasonable for us to believe than it was for Abraham.
Of course we have to make sure that the promises we are seeking to inherit are neither wrenched out of their biblical context nor the product of our own subjective fancy, but truly apply to us. Then we can lay hold of them, even against all human hope, yet in hope (18), that is, in the confidence of God’s faithfulness and power.
Only so shall we prove to be genuine children of our great spiritual forefather Abraham.
In hope, against all human hope,
Self-desperate, I believe …
Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,
And looks to that alone;
Laughs at impossibilities
And cries: It shall be done!
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.
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