I couldn’t resist posting another entry from Bo Geirtz’s devotional. Thursday’s reading is pure Mockingbird….
Romans 4:13- 25
For the law brings wrath …. That is why it depends on faith. Romans 4:15,16
Sometimes we wonder why there’s so much talk of the Jews in the Christian Church. If examined closer, we discover it is because we’re so much alike – we’re actually reading about our own spiritual heritage.
The Jews realized that it was out of undeserved mercy and compassion that God chose them above all others. He had given them His Law to uphold. If they did so, they would be made righteous in God’s eyes and enjoy even more of His goodness. The fact that Abraham had been righteous before God through His obedience and deeds was obvious.
Many who call themselves Christian think in the same way. They know God calls them through sheer grace. However, once they’re called, they focus on obedience. They’ve received the Law and it must be obeyed. They believe that if they do this, they are “real” Christians.
Paul says this way of thinking is wrong. Abraham was made righteous because he believed in God and trusted Him, not because of his own good works. His faith is an example of faith in Jesus, the kind of faith that allows us to receive righteousness from God. Abraham believed in a God who can give life to the dead and create life where there is none. Where there was no hope, he hoped anyway. This is exactly what we’re expected to do. The Law produces wrathful judgment. The more serious we are in our wish to obey God in every way and be like Jesus- full of love, absolutely true to Himself and unselfish- the clearer it becomes that there is no plausible hope that people like us could ever be like Jesus. We can’t create new life in our hearts. We can’t bring forth love where there is none.
There is only hope.We must do as Abraham did and honor God by believing in His promises, not doubting them. All these promises are embodied in Jesus Christ. God tells us that He carried our sins. He came for our sin’s sake. He rose again to make us righteous. God gave Him life, made Him Lord, sent Him out once again, allowed Him to pass through time, and even come to us so He could give us the righteousness only He can give. And the promise is this: everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
I thank You, dear Lord Jesus, that belonging to You is not dependent on my half-completed, worthless deeds. My sincere intention is to be with You always and be like You. However, I’m constantly reminded of how much is lacking. Time and time again I must confess that I failed. You know that, Lord. You have seen and see all the shortcomings I don’t see. I praise You for not looking at my shortcomings when I come to You. Instead, You let me exchange them for Your righteousness and those priceless clothes that can conceal all my misery and make me worthy of meeting Your Father with You. Thank You, my Lord Jesus.