THURSDAY, MAY 25
SCRIPTURE: Romans 4
This chapter has much to say about salvation. Paul goes all the way back to Genesis and reminds us of part of the story of Abraham. As the chapter opens, we discover that salvation (justification) is by faith not works.
There is something about the way our minds work that convinces us if we do enough of the right things in the right ways, we will get into heaven. As we read in the first 8 verses of this chapter, if that was the case, we would have much to brag about. We could be very proud of what we accomplished.
The problem is we can’t be that good. While it is true that we are capable of doing right things in right ways, we still mess things up. We still sin. And the wages of sin is always death.
What we discover is that salvation comes only through faith. In verse 3 we are reminded that Abraham believed (That is faith.) God and it was counted to him as righteousness. The word counted means to put on one’s account. When we accept by faith what Jesus has done for us, His righteousness is put on our account. And that’s how we are saved. According to verse 5, God even saves the ungodly this way.
If you will skip down to verses 9-17, you will see the part that grace plays in our salvation (justification). Paul puts this in terms of circumcision. He reminds us that Abraham was justified (saved) before he was circumcised. This would have been a horrible reminder to the Jewish people because they were quite convinced that it was circumcision that separated them from all the other people on the earth.
What we discover here is God didn’t save Abraham because he was circumcised, God saved him because He loved him and wanted him to be a part of the great plan God was and is orchestrating.
The third thing we see is the place that resurrection power plays in salvation. Beginning in verse 17 we are reminded that God brings the dead to life and calls into existence things that do not exist. Paul reminds us that Abraham’s and Sarah’s reproductive ability had died. They were both too old in human terms to have a baby. But God had different ideas. It is as if he resurrected that ability in Abraham and Sarah and Isaac was soon born.
The chapter ends with a great reminder that God raised Jesus from the dead and because He did we can be saved (justified).
Here’s the deal. There is something about our human nature that causes us to think we can earn our way into heaven. As long as we are convinced of that, we will never turn to Jesus because we will be convinced we don’t need a Savior. The problem is the longer we are trying to do the right things the right ways, we are, in effect, piling up sin against sin. Our best efforts cannot save us.
We are saved by grace through faith. Our salvation is not based upon what we have done. It is based upon what Jesus did. He did everything He had to do as evidenced by some of His final words on the cross: “It is finished”. Of course had God not raised Jesus from the dead, none of this should matter to any of us. But because of the resurrection power evidenced in the raising of Jesus, we can all be saved. Every last one of us.
Oh what a Savior. What a glorious Savior!