“What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:1 – 3)
was thinking about the Old Testament passage from yesterday this
morning during my morning meditation and prayer. As usual, it was
difficult getting started in my day. As I was pondering, it occurred
to me that we are called out daily like Abram; called out to the
unknown, or at least not knowing for sure what will happen in our day
– or any given day for that matter. We follow that call by faith.
As Abram did.
“Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness.” (Verse 5)
That gives me something to think about. All the times I have
struggled in the morning, unsure of what my day would involve or
unsure of how I would the things in my day. I never considered it to
be “righteousness” that I step out in faith. Of course I ask the
Lord God the Divine to be with me, and with the people I will
encounter. But that is just Christian prudence, to ask the Divine to
prepare the way. It sounds like that is righteousness, if I am
reading Paul correctly.
“For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.” (Verses 13 – 14)
you follow this logic, beloved reader? If one attends to and obeys
the law, then faith is not needed, and there is no covenant – as
Abram had with the Lord God – needed. For example, the laws of
driving. If one obeys traffic rules, one is seen as a good driver. To
be judged a good driver does not require faith in driving but obey
the rules of the road.
“For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.” (Verse 15)
is a great irony that if there were no rules of the road, no traffic
laws, then there would no traffic violations. Many accidents, but not
breaking the traffic laws. This analogy helps me understand what Paul
is saying; I hope it helped you, beloved reader.
“For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”) — in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. (Verses 16 – 17)
Be aware, beloved reader, that in these two verses “adherents of the law” means Jews who follow the Jewish traditions but believe in Jesus Christ, and those who come from a non-Jewish background and have come to believe in both Jesus Christ and the Lord God who sent him. As Paul says, the great and many nations that came through Abraham extends to all believers who profess faith in the Lord God. Paul clarifies for his reader some important aspects of that Lord God.
And in a way, it narrows the field of what nations spawned from Abraham and are therefore seen as “proper” faiths. This is one of the sticking points in recognizing and naming what are “proper” faiths. And as so often happens, those who are seen in control and the mainstream majority get to deem who is and is not part of that proper faith. But this probably not the time and place to digress into that conversation. Let us just leave it at saying that righteousness is not an attribute that is hard to obtain. It is as simple as heeding the call of the Divine. Selah!