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Romans 4

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

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!

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Romans 3

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, MAY 23

SCRIPTURE: Romans 3

I want to break this chapter into three parts: one, the faithfulness of God; two, the truthfulness of God; and, three, the righteousness of God.

At the end of chapter 2, Paul is speaking about circumcision which was a token of the covenant that God made with Israel.  He basically said an obedient (one who obeys God) Gentile without circumcision is more acceptable to God than a disobedient Jew who had been circumcised.  That would have been a most difficult thing for Jewish people to accept,  After all, circumcision was the one physical proof that a particular person was a Jew and therefore a part of the chosen people of God, Israel.

When chapter 3 opens the question is are there any advantages of being a Jew or any value in being circumcised?  Paul’s answer was there is a lot of value.  The example He gives is that God has entrusted them with the Holy Scriptures.   The next question is if circumcised Jews failed to do what the Scripture says, does their unfaithfulness make God decide to be unfaithful as well.

The magnificent answer is that God is always faithful.  God is faithful.  Regardless of what we say or do, God is faithful.  He will never lie.  He cannot lie.  He will always do exactly what He said He would do.  We need to grab this great truth and hang on to it.

The second thing we see in this chapter is God’s truthfulness.  I don’t know if you have thought about this or not, but God is not one to beat around the bush.  He stands His ground and speaks the truth.  We can trust His Word because it is true, even when we might not want to trust His Word.

Paul’s example of this is found in verses 13-18.  Paul pulls together pieces of several different Psalms to make the point that none of us, Jew or Gentile, are righteous people.  In fact, this collection of verses paints a pretty horrible picture of humanity.  Left to our own devices we are not nice people.

It would have been easier and nicer not to include these verses.  But God is a truth teller.  He has always been.  He is.  He always will be.  And since, as Jesus said, the truth will set you free, God constantly and consistently speaks truth.  Besides that we will never admit our need for a Savior unless we admit we are sinners.

The third section (righteousness) begins in verse 21.  It is at this point that God holds up His righteousness as a comparison to the self-righteousness or sinfulness of humanity.  He goes on to say that His righteousness is shown by Christ and Christ alone.  

In verse 23 we are reminded that we are all sinners.  But verse 24 points to the fact that we are justified (given legal standing before God) by God’s grace gift.  That same grace is what makes redemption available in Jesus.  As 2 Corinthians 5:21 teaches us, Christ took on our sin and died for us so that we might become the righteousness of God.  When God looks at Christ followers, He sees us through the righteousness of Jesus.

This is an amazing chapter that is just overflowing with incredible truth.  I would encourage you to reread the chapter.  I suspect if you do, God will show you something in addition to what you learned the first time you read it.

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