Tag Archives: God’s Grace

We Are Loved

It is Jehovah God, the Creator of the universe Who had a Plan with His creation and shall fulfil it.

He accepted the sacrificial offering of His only begotten beloved son, Jesus Christ, the son of man and son of God. It is that human being born in Bethlehem which we should accept as the sent one from God, who put his own will aside to do the Will of God. By offering himself as a Lamb of God, he brought salvation unto mankind. His love for us was accepted by his heavenly Father Who by His love allowed grace coming over all people.

To remember:

  • God loves you + will never stop loving you.
  • We can’t earn God’s love
  • up to us to accept God’s love
  • time for us to take God at His Word
  • God wants to save sinners from their sins
  • God’s Word set you free
  • Heavenly Father desires to have relationship with His people
  • Jesus breaks bondage in our life.

Overcoming The Times

Whoever you are, Wherever you are from, No matter what you have done…I want to let you know that God loves you, and He will never stop loving you. Neither your accomplishments nor your failures, Your victories nor your defeats qualify you nor disqualify you from God’s love.

Let the truth of God’s Word set you free. When God looked at us, He doesn’t think paying with the most precious thing He had in all of eternity, that’s Jesus Christ, was too high a price for you and I. God displayed for all of creation and eternity, His immeasurable and untouchable love for us. This kind of love is hard to comprehend by the natural man. Afterall, prior to us accepting salvation we had no understanding of spiritual things. Yet even inspite of us doing mischievous things, God still loved us: And when we ask Him to save us, The…

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3 Keys to Reading the Bible with a Fresh Perspective

It is a new year, and no doubt many have made it their ambition to read the Bible more often this year. What nobler resolution could someone have?

But many people will give up in mid-February, when they are slogging through Leviticus and are halfway through their third straight gospel tour. The passages that seem redundant and unexciting tend to drown our Bible reading goals.

How can we keep our Bible reading fresh – even the parts that don’t stir us at first reading – so that we don’t give up on our resolution to read more? Allow me to share a few suggestions.

1. Remember that God’s word is alive

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active.” Just like God himself, his word is full of life and is always doing something. That means, to state the obvious, that God’s word is never dead or inactive. And that is just as true for Leviticus 3:16 as it is for John 3:16.

The implication is that we can come to every passage with a sense of anticipation that God will work through it. That doesn’t mean we will necessarily finish our Bible reading with intense spiritual feelings. But it does mean that we can be assured that no matter what we read on a given day his word will not return void (Isa. 55:11).

2. Pray for God to open your eyes, and trust that he will

The psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psa. 119:18). He recognized that without God’s help, it would be very easy for him to read God’s law and not come away marveling at how great God is. He needed God to give him eyes to see the wonders of his word.

The same is true for us, of course. We must not read our Bibles without asking God to enable us to see the amazing things in it. I confess that this is something that I sometimes forget. Being somewhat of a task oriented type of person, I’ll sometimes sit down at my desk to begin preparing a sermon only to realize an hour later that I had forgotten to ask God to speak to me and lead me to the message he wants delivered on Sunday. It is by God’s grace that I can even recognize my self-sufficiency. I must stop and repent of my prayerlessness, and then ask God to “open my eyes” before I resume my study.

3. Read with a God-centered attitude

It’s very easy to read God’s word with an emphasis on you. What am I going to learn? What am I going to get out of this? How am I going to apply this?

But as you grow as a Christian, you grow less concerned with yourself, and more interested in loving God and neighbors. This gradual self-emptying process gives a perspective that comes to Scripture with a desire to see more of God and less of yourself.

Take, for example, Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Instead of focusing on the “I can do” part, what if you meditated on the “him who strengthens me” part? Your mind will be prodded to meditate in a fresh way of God’s grace to enable you to make it through your trials and empower you for your successes.

Don’t let dull days get you down

As much as it would be great to have an amazing spiritual encounter every time we read the Bible, I admit that is not always my experience. Sometimes nothing “hits” me. But I know that my emotional response is not what makes God’s word do its work in my life. That’s the Spirit’s job.

So if you find that there are some days where your Bible reading seems less impactful, don’t be discouraged. You and I have only to be faithful to read God’s word with the thirst of a deer panting for water. More times than not, when we open the Bible with that kind of neediness the streams will taste quite fresh.

Eric McKiddie serves as Pastor for Gospel Community at the Chapel Hill Bible Church He helps pastors grow as well-rounded ministers of the gospel at his blog, Pastoralized, and through sermon coaching.

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Józef Świder, Jan Kochanowski – What do you want from us, Lord

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Józef Świder, Jan Kochanowski – Wat wilt u van ons, Heer: “Czego chcesz od nas Panie”
Agata Galik – harfa/harp
Henryk Wojnarowski – dyrygent/conductor
Chór Filharmonii Narodowej w Warszawie
Warsaw Philharmonic Choir
koncert zarejestrowano 1 kwietnia 2016 w sali koncertowej Filharmonii Narodowej
recorded at Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall, April 01, 2016
Realizacja Telewizja Polska S.A.

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What do you want from us, Lord, for your generous gifts?
What are the benefits that you have not measured?
The Church will not embrace you, everywhere you are full,
And in the abyss and in the sea, on earth, in the sky.

I also don’t want gold, because it’s all yours,
Whatever is changing in this world.
Lord with grateful heart, we confess
Because we don’t have a more handsome victim.

You are the Lord of all the world, You have built the sky
And he embroidered beautifully with golden stars;
You founded the unearthed ground
And you covered her nakedness with various herbs.

At your command the sea stands in the shores
And the intended borders jump over afraid;
Rivers of uncounted waters have great generosity.
White day and dark night know their times.

You will see many flowers Spring gives birth,
You are in a wreath of flowers Summer is here.
Autumn wine and various apples,
Then lazy Winter gets up.

By your grace, the night dew on bland herbs will fall,
And the die-hard grain rain comes alive;
At your hands every animal looks at its food,
And you feed everyone on your generosity.

Be praised forever, immortal Lord!
Your grace, Your goodness will never cease.
Hide us while you deign in this low land;
Let me be one under Your wings!

[Jan Kochanowski, XXV Song from the Second Books, published in 1562. A masterpiece of Polish poetry.]

Jan Kochanowski, (born 1530, Sycyna, Poland—died August 22, 1584, Lublin), humanist poet who dominated the culture of Renaissance Poland.

Born into the country nobility, Kochanowski studied at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and later, between 1552 and 1559, at the University of Padua in Italy. On his return to Poland in 1559, he served as a secretary at the royal court in Kraków. He married about 1575 and retired to his family estate at Czarnolas, in central Poland.

Dutch version / Nederlandse versie: Józef Świder, Jan Kochanowski – Wat wilt u van ons, Heer

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What would you do if…?

Lots of people encounter many struggles in life. Some get to learn how to cope with them, others get pulled down so much that they do not see any reason any more to live.

All have good and bad moments in life and whether we’re going through the worst of times or the best of times, history and our own experiences show us that life does go on and that we are just a very tiny atom in it

In this world there are people who, like Ray who grew up in London, moved away and travelled the world, ending up back where he started, are not able to raise their arm but found ways using other parts of their body to communicate or to move things, though at times it may feel for them like they might as well be trying to move the earth.

It is not the Most High Creator Who brings all that badness over us. But it is Him Who give us the opportunity to work around it and to become stronger, if we allow Him working in our midst.

We should not fear man nor fear worldly situations or diseases, but should fear God and come to trust and honour Him, putting our ‘tiny’ hand in His Big Hand, to be carried through life.

There are no rules to how life plays out. We have no control over it. The only thing we have control over is how we face those challenges. We are not so much a product of the challenges placed before us as we are a product of how each of us has faced those challenges. {To Live And Ride With ALS}

Please do find what Bill of Unshakable hope has to say and look how he manages to cope with the terminal disease called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS or call it “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.

He does not believe God causes trials and he doesn’t believe we will ever fully understand, at least not in this life.

But, whatever other reasons God has for allowing trials, I discovered two big things that He accomplishes through our trials; He helps us reset our priorities and forms our character. (Obviously He had a lot of work to do on me).

For sure he is not the only one to whom God has a lot of work to do. For the creator of this and some other lifestyle magazines had also to go through two near death experiences before he decided to work more for God. It does not mean, that took all the pain and frustrations away from him, but he gets encouraged by feeling the Hand of God at work in him … and that keeps him going….

One night, about a year before Bill was diagnosed with ALS, he and his wife Mary were up late watching “Nightline” on which Ted Koppel was doing three nights of interviews with retired college professor Morrie Schwartz who also had ALS and was sharing his life-lessons with Ted Koppel just as he had done previously with one of his former students named Mitch Albom who compiled these life-lessons and wrote a best-selling book titled “Tuesdays with Morrie.”

Bill has one vivid memory from watching those interviews

having to rely on his wife + caregivers for virtually all of his needs = helpless he was

Bill turned to Mary and told her

I would rather just go to heaven than live trapped in my own body like him.

a year after making that statement = diagnosed with same “trapped-in-your-own-body” disease

=> hastily-made statement began to haunt + taunt me

=> change view + began trying to do best to live one day at a time <= grace of God in me, urging me to keep going

Hastily-made statements carelessly uttered by healthy people = spoken out of pride = cannot comprehend grace of God <= self-reliant, self-righteous + just plain selfish

Trials cause us to reexamine hastily-made statements we’ve made before the trial, when we so carelessly said what we’d do if this thing or that thing happened to us.

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Preceding articles

The Greatest Fear

Fear in your own heart or outside of it

Fear, struggles, sadness, bad feelings and depression

Phantom Of Dreams

How to Find the Meaning of Life and Reach a State of Peace

Watch out

Walking in the Light of Life

See the conquest and believe that we can gain the victory

When the world rages, let it rage, but let us not fear it

Those steady drips, those small steps!

My tales will be beautiful

For those Christians who say they are the Victim

Christians remaining hidden not sharing the gospel

How To Get Started In Sharing Your Faith As a Christian

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Additional reading

  1. Struggles of life
  2. Pain and Suffering is inevitable but Misery is optional
  3. Good and bad things in this world
  4. Your struggles develop your strengths
  5. A way to prepare for the Kingdom
  6. Not holding back and getting out of darkness
  7. Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs
  8. If there is bitterness in the heart
  9. Emotional pain and emotional deadness
  10. Evil in this world not bringing us down
  11. Dying or not
  12. Life Goes On
  13. Trouble is coming
  14. End of the Bottom Line
  15. A small trouble is like a pebble
  16. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  17. Do not be so busy adding up your troubles
  18. Do the appropriate for a friend
  19. A Breath for tomorrow
  20. Shelter in the morning
  21. Luck
  22. Rejoice even though bound to grieve
  23. From pain to purpose
  24. Faith because of the questions
  25. Hope by faith and free gift
  26. 1 Corinthians 15 Hope in action
  27. May reading the Bible provoke us into action to set our feet on the narrow way
  28. You God hold the future
  29. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah
  30. God is my refuge and my fortress in Him I will trust
  31. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  32. Songs in the night Worship God only

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Further reading

  1. ALS Awareness Month
  2. Pesticide Use Linked To Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s & ALS
  3. Why Me?
  4. To Live And Ride With ALS (Part ll)
  5. The Sacred In The Mundane
  6. The Bread Of Affliction
  7. I’m Sorry
  8. Cape and Tights – My Grandmother’s Struggle with ALS
  9. 2016/05/09/ Repost
  10. Mother With ALS Paints Again
  11. Kirkus Review of My Perfect Imperfections
  12. The Reason I Run, Chris Spriggs – a review
  13. The Walk
  14. Army vet starts ‘#22kill push up challenge’ to help other veterans
  15. One man’s poison is another man’s….
  16. The Story So Far…
  17. Can you see it?
  18. The Woman Behind The Blog
  19. The Privilege of Growing Old
  20. How Famous Researchers Work: Stephen Hawking
  21. Advocates for Rare Diseases

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Unshakable Hope

One night, about a year before I was diagnosed with ALS, Mary and I were up late watching “Nightline.” Ted Koppel was doing three nights of interviews with a retired college professor named Morrie Schwartz. Morrie had ALS and was sharing his life-lessons with Ted Koppel just as he had done previously with one of his former students named Mitch Albom. Mitch later compiled these life-lessons and wrote a best-selling book titled “Tuesdays with Morrie.”

I hate to admit this, but even after seeing the three nights of interviews and reading the book, I cannot remember most of the life-lessons that Morrie taught. But, I do have one vivid memory from watching those interviews; it occurred while listening to Morrie describe his daily routine – having to rely on his wife and caregivers for virtually all of his needs. After hearing how helpless he was…

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Christians remaining hidden not sharing the gospel

Witness well Net knows that we are not human beings who like to come in the open easily. It says

we have a tendency to remain hidden and not share the gospel. {How pre-judging others has a serious effect on evangelism}

Some of us want to be so much like God and cast judgement on a person’s receptivity toward the message of salvation that they forget the love message.

Placing a gag over our mouth that keeps us from proclaiming His name rather than allow His Words to overflow from our hearts can be a result of pre-judging the condition of a person’s soil. {How pre-judging others has a serious effect on evangelism}

Talking about a saving relationship with ChristDave Malnes from the website Witness well tells us that we should trust his promises that our righteousness is secure because of his faithfulness – not our own; his obedience and not our own; his trustworthiness and not our own. {How evangelism rests on trust and what you possess}

He writes that

Evangelism

Evangelism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

World religions attempt to search within to find true meaning and purpose. The object of their faith is themselves. Biblical Christians trust squarely on Jesus promises as the object of their faith. Peace and joy is not something that is self-generated, but Spirit-filled. {How evangelism rests on trust and what you possess}

Jesus-army-bus

Jesus-army-bus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though we do find still  too many Christians counting too much on worldly arrangements and governments. Also a lot of Christians do not know their Bible. Some of them know perhaps several phrases from the New Testament, but do not see the whole picture.

The same about one of the tasks Jesus has given and as such has to be one of the many works of faith we do have to do. We do have to become one in Christ, like Christ is one with his heavenly Father. In case we would think like trinitarians, that would mean they have to become like God and some of them consider themselves to be like Christ, to be God.

The Elohim, who has sent His only begotten son to this world, commissions believers in Christ to sow the seeds of the gospel and to become humble like Jesus humbled himself. By embracing this role, Christians find joy and peace in encouraging and equipping others with the faith in Christ and in Only One true God (the heavenly Father of Jesus).

When we call ourselves Christian we should show others that we are willing to become like Christ and like him have faithfully responded God’s call to sow the seeds of the gospel and trusting God His promise that the harvest may be plentiful.

English: 4 days of Evangelism Training in Sout...

4 days of Evangelism Training in Southern California provided by LivingWaters Ministry. Obeying the great commission of Jesus Christ. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone” Mark 16:15 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Full enjoyment and trust we should bear the Good News in our mind and be of full courage to share the message of encouragement and uplifted spirit of rejoicing being presented to us by the acts of the apostles. Their work must have been an amazing experience, but is not finished yet. We do have to continue the work of the apostles and those first Christians.

Followers of Christ should be giving themselves totally to Jesus, willing to become in Christ Jesus, a part of a bigger picture as partakers of the Body of Christ, being those who have been set apart as God’s children through God’s grace.

It is by grace, God’s undeserved love that makes us Christians. No wonder we can rejoice through any circumstance that comes our way when we can be assured of our status before God, not by what we have done or what we are doing, but what God has already done for us. {An appropriate benediction}

We should be so tankful for Jesus proving to us that man is able to put his own will aside for doing God’s Will, and giving himself for atonement, paying the ransom prize for the sins we did.

For this liberation we can have joy which comes from trusting God’s promises that we will receive liberation from the curse of the Fall and that Jesus restored the relationship between God and man and has received authority to be the mediator between God and man and the judge at the end times, where it is him who shall decide who shall be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

An evangelist fully trusts God’s promises associated with being His messenger. Sharing the message of the gospel is not about us, but proclaiming the power of the message. In Christ, we conquer fear, worry, and guilt. By remaining in Christ, we bear fruits of the Spirit that reflects the light of Christ and introduces His presence to the world. {How evangelism rests on trust and what you possess}

The Bible teaches that God “gave” to certain people the gift of evangelism to build up the church (Eph. 4:11). We marvel and rejoice at these gifts as one who has the gift of music. Most believers like myself do not have the gift of evangelism, but we are not excused from the work of evangelism (2 Tim. 4:5). God commissions all believers to go, teach, and baptize (Matthew 28:19-20). {Twelve Things Successful Evangelists Do}

Dave Malnes believes these are twelve things that successful evangelists do:

Love Successful evangelists speak the truth that is prompted by love and concern for the soul.

Joy Evangelists reflect the gospel light in their own lives that attracts unbelievers.

Peace   Evangelists find their identity in Christ that washes away guilt.

Patience Evangelists understands the fruit of patience ripens into persistence by keeping God’s timetable and not our own.

Kindness Evangelists sacrifice acts of kindness and generosity with no strings attached.

Self-control Evangelists resist the need to win the argument and focus on winning the soul.

Goodness Evangelists consistently extend grace to those who are least deserving.

Gentleness Evangelists express humility and give all credit and glory to God.

Pray continually Evangelists give thanks in all circumstances and reflects this pattern in an ongoing prayer life.

Perseverance Evangelists never, never, never give up.

Faithfulness Evangelists rely on God’s faithfulness to renew their own faithfulness by regularly reading, studying, and praying over God’s Word. {Twelve Things Successful Evangelists Do}

We have to set our mind on Christ Jesus and nurture our and others their need for a goal, a focus, instructions, and a hero. When we are afraid to tell others about our faith we do need to conquer our fear with our faith. We also should remember that “Everything God has made is an assignment”. In the knowledge that our future is the seed for the one we chose to honour we should be pleased, showing our joy in the Messiah. Our gratitude should be a seed for more. and we should not be afraid to sow seed wrapped with expectation and faith in the harvest.

When having become a Christian we have come into a covenant with Jesus that gives purpose and then we should follow his rules and given tasks, sowing our seed for a desired harvest.

Oxbow sunset #2

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Preceding

Witnessing because we love

Is being a humanitarian enough to convey the full love of Christ?

Preaching Christ Is Not Enough

A Christian has to have eyes and ears and a tongue to use in good ways

Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news

An uncovering book to explore

Preaching by example

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Additional reading

  1. A question to be posed
  2. Creator and Blogger God 2 Image and likeness
  3. Written down in God’s Name for righteousness
  4. A way to look for Christ, the Bible, Word of God
  5. The Right One to follow and to worship
  6. The Almighty Lord God of gods King above all gods
  7. Glory of only One God Who gives His Word
  8. Necessary to be known all over the earth
  9. Appointed to be read
  10. Focussing on oneness with Jesus like Jesus is one with God
  11. Not able to make contact with God because to busy
  12. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #3 as a Christian
  13. Atonement and the race been bought
  14. Atonement And Fellowship 1/8
  15. Atonement And Fellowship 2/8
  16. Atonement And Fellowship 3/8
  17. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  18. Atonement And Fellowship 5/8
  19. Atonement And Fellowship 6/8
  20. Atonement And Fellowship 7/8
  21. Atonement And Fellowship 8/8
  22. The manager and Word of God
  23. The Metaphorical language of the Bible
  24. Scripture alone Sola Scriptora
  25. Let us become nothing, and Christ everything
  26. Be an Encourager
  27. Foundation for a good relationship with God
  28. Apple of Gods eye
  29. A “seed” for the blessing of all mankind would come through the family of Abraham
  30. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother
  31. Sow and harvests in the garden of your heart
  32. Bearing fruit
  33. Rejoicing in the day
  34. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  35. You cannot change anything in your life with intention alone
  36. Picking Stones
  37. The Big Conversation
  38. John 4 according to the Scriptures

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Further reading

  1. Simple John
  2. Seeds that you plant
  3. With the Patience of a Saint
  4. 7 Laws to Create Uncommon Success
  5. The Good Gardener
  6. Others before myself
  7. Leviticus 2:8-16: The First-Fruits Offering
  8. A Spiritual Harvest
  9. Sharpen Your Blade!
  10. The Secret to Successful Gardening
  11. Your Mind is the Garden
  12. No Soup For You!
  13. Who is Going to Tell Them?
  14. Dying Field
  15. IF: I listen, can I hear You?

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James 2:24 – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

2:24 man justified by works, and not by faith only

Both Paul + James worked together to keep unity of the church (Acts 21:18) =/= disagreement over doctrine.


1. Pauline Writings

  • Romans 3:28 + Ephesians 2:8 – 9 directed to new Christians  > justification before God > faith = gift
  • justification (salvation) cannot be earned by doing good works
  • justification (salvation) = by accepting, through faith =  work that Christ did on the cross
  • No one can earn or win favour with God’s forgiveness <= offered only by God’s grace
  • to work for salvation by obeying Law = only fail + become more convinced = he is a sinner
  • => No one is able to make himself right. Only God can help him do that.
  • Paul warns people about working to achieve a relationship with Christ <= Only faith can be tool bring that.

2. James’ Writings

  • James coming from different pastoral position
  • writing to those who are already Christians + becoming complacent in their walk
  • justification before men, + faith should be genuine
  • asserting when one is justified by faith =>new life will = complete change => result in an outpouring of works, worthy of Christ
  • life of love + serving > molded > relationship with Christ => show that it is a true faith by demonstrating Christ’s love to other people => belief in Christ => an obedience of good works.

Paul James
Concerned with legalists who were striving for sanctification through the law – not through faith Concerned with libertines who were content with sanctification through belief without action
A person who is justified before God through faith A person is justified before men through his actions
Eternally justified through faith by grace Justified through a daily walk by works reflecting Christ.

  • Working together both Paul and James are bringing out the harmony of the Word of God.
  • We are saved by faith that then, if genuine should lead to the demonstration of that faith through good works.     

 

The Book of James

2:24. – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. – With the background behind us of James’ appreciation and acceptance of the doctrine of justification by faith, we can now study this passage in its correct context.

Many people have interpreted this verse as James’ belief that works is what matters and as such is in direct opposition to the teaching of Paul. Both Paul and James worked together to keep the unity of the church (Acts 21:18). There is no reason to believe that these two writers were in disagreement over doctrine.


1. Pauline Writings

The writings of Paul in Romans 3:28 and Ephesians 2:8 – 9 are directed to new Christians or even those who have yet to make a decision for Christ. Paul is talking about justification before God, that faith is a gift. Paul asserts that justification (salvation)…

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Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Peter Forbes comments:

4:2      In questioning Abraham’s righteousness Paul develops the point that he made in Rom 2:13 showing that the law does not bring righteousness.

4:3Abraham believed God …‘ the quotation is from Gen. 15:6. Righteousness is imputed by God on the basis of faith, not works of the law. Gen. 15 predates the giving of the law. This is the thrust of the argument in verses 4:4,5 and circumcision – the implications of this are developed in Rom.4:9-13.

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusa...

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine, March 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4:6-8 The appeal to Psalm 32:1-2 which is a Psalm that David wrote after Nathan had spoken of God’s forgiveness for David’s adultery [2 Sam.12:13] continues the theme of forgiveness from ch. 3:4 We should take great comfort from the fact that God was willing to forgive the repentant David.

4:7  Notice the subtle but important difference between the language of  Psa 32:1 – and Paul’s words here. Whilst the Psalm has ‘he’ whereas Paul here says ‘they’. Paul generalises from the Psalm. The Psalm has specific relevance to David’s situation. Paul says that specific application of forgiveness actually extends to all who follow David’s example of repentance.

4:11 Whilst Israel seemed to see circumcision as the ultimate test of Jewishness Paul clearly says here that it is a sign of what has already been seen in Abraham – that is his faith in God which was counted for righteousness.

4:18against hope believed in hope‘ tells us that Abraham had to have faith in the promise of the seed as it was humanly speaking impossible.

4:23 The implication from ‘now it was not written for his sake alone …‘ is that Abraham had a written copy of the promise.

Cliff York comments

Romans 4 To meet the views of the Jews, the apostle first refers to the example of Abraham, in whom the Jews gloried as their most renowned forefather. However exalted in various respects, he had nothing to boast in the presence of God, for he too was saved by grace, through faith, even as others. Without noticing the years which passed before his call, and the failures at times in his obedience, and even in his faith, it was expressly stated in the Scripture that “he believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,” Genesis 15:6. From this example it is observed, that if any man could work the full measure required by the law, the reward must then be reckoned as a debt, which evidently was not the case even of Abraham, seeing faith was reckoned to him for righteousness.

It is clear from the Scripture, that Abraham was justified several years before his circumcision. This then is Paul’s point to those who prided themselves on their pedigree and/or on the very private mark they received in their flesh whilst they were too young to effectively protest otherwise. It is, therefore, plain that this circumcision was not necessary in order to that justification which is by faith.

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It is truly fascinating to reflect on the great wisdom of the Father as one reads the 3 portions of Scripture each day, and often there runs a “Golden Thread” through them all. For example, one of the Golden Threads evident today, is the concept, that we can only be Justified by the Grace of God. Paul deals in great detail with the subject, of course, in Romans, Joseph in his life revealed how great a force faith in God is the life of each of His saints – Genesis 47:12, and the Psalmist captured the same beautifully in the closing verse of Psalm 50Whoso offers praise glorifies me: and to him that orders his conversation aright, will I show the salvation of God.”

John Wilson comments

Prayer of David, psalm 51

Prayer of David, psalm 51 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rom 4:7  As we read from Psa 32 the other day, and as we read from Psa 51 tomorrow, we can clearly see, and appreciate that the confession of sin is not seeking forgiveness, it acknowledges the righteousness of our Heavenly Father. We must also be aware of the fact, that our failings can not be forgiven unless we are prepared to acknowledge them.

Rom 4:17  “I have made thee a father of many nations.” Paul is quoting from Gen 17:5  Sarah was still barren at this time, but we see that this is written in the past tense. This was foreordained. There is a difference between pre-existence and being foreordained. The seed of Abraham, both Isaac and Christ were foreordained.

4:21 All promises that have been made by God, he is able to perform, certainly different from promises made by man. God never forgets a promise, while man frequently forgets, God’s promises are priceless, while promises of man are often times useless, God’s promises are always right, while mans are often wrong.

Michael Parry comments

Paul; the writer to the Hebrews; James; and Peter all talk about Abraham. He was the patriarch of the physical Jewish nation and also father of the faithful (4:16).
He was given the promises before the Law (Gen 17:5-8) – even before his circumcision (Gen 17:24).  The particular seed of his promise was Christ who fulfilled the Law (Matt 5:17, Gal 3:16).  However, God still has a covenant with the Jewish nation and the land of Israel even though they have not (yet) accepted Christ.  It is a mistake to believe, as some groups do, that any prophetical reference or future application concerning the Land and people of Israel is purely spiritual and not physical.

Rob de Jongh comments

For many of us the intricate arguments of scripture are too much to grasp. That’s why we’re given Abraham as an example. All we need to do is read about his life, emulate what we see, and we will obtain the same promises as him. Rom 4:3, 11-12, 16, 20-25.

 

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

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Additional reading

  1. Written down in God’s Name for righteousness
  2. Testimonies to observe, inspired by God
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 5 Getting understanding by Word of God 3
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. The Right One to follow and to worship
  6. God showing how far He is willing to go to save His children
  7. A secret to be reveiled
  8. Gone astray, away from God
  9. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  10. Looking for something or for the Truth and what it might be and self-awareness
  11. Two states of existence before God
  12. The God of hope filling us with all joy and peace
  13. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  14. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
  15. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  16. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  17. Atonement and the race been bought
  18. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong
  19. Fixing our attentionSelf inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  20. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah
  21. Set free from any form of mental torment or self-condemnation
  22. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  23. Hope by faith and free gift
  24. God’s love – Equal and unconditional for all believers
  25. True richesBeing Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  26. If you have integrity
  27. Honor your own words as if they were an important contract
  28. All Positive Energy People Are Acceptable
  29. Our openness to being approachable
  30. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  31. Is your mind thirsty?
  32. The Dress Code for Women in the Quran

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Further readings

  1. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:1-12
  2. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:12-25
  3. Romans 4 and the Sacraments
  4. Faith-full Father Abraham
  5. Paul’s Scriptural Argument
  6. Paul’s Argument of Maturity
  7. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  8. Background to Romans 9-11: key teaching from Romans 1:16-4:25
  9. Structure of Romans 1:16-4:25
  10. May 23 2 Chronicles 6,7; Psalms 135; Romans 4
  11. Devotional # 90. Galatians 3:15-29
  12. A Promise
  13. God is righteous and just (God is good 4)
  14. “It’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it.” ~Apostle Paul
  15. The relevance of  God’s Word today
  16. Righteousness of Faith
  17. Could Abraham have remained childless?
  18. Would Your Faith Save You?
  19. It’s not about you
  20. The Best Way to “Stand Up” For Jesus: Revisiting Romans
  21. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  22. Nullify the Torah?
  23. Apart From The Law Of Righteousness
  24. Under The Law
  25. Scriptures on Righteousness- Joseph Prince
  26. Righteous and Right-ness
  27. Greater Love Hath No Man
  28. Jesus Christ has done enough
  29. Verse of the day – Righteousness of the Law
  30. Grace words for today Devotional
  31. It is in difficult times that we choose to continue to do what is right while everything else seems wrong that we grow
  32. Getting wisdom
  33. Moral Image
  34. Incredible Peace
  35. It Is God’s Presence in Us
  36. Strength In Your Hair Or Your Faith?
  37. Daily Inspiration, January 28th
  38. You Have on Different Clothing Now
  39. Christ: A Place In God
  40. The Privilege
  41. The Sermon on the Mount is not a Guide to Christian Salvation
  42. Experiencing Revival Part 3: Obedience
  43. Righteousness Pt 10
  44. Kingdom Come
  45. You Christian, shouldn’t carry guilt, or seek ongoing forgiveness to stay “right” with God.
  46. Exodus 4-6 Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son
  47. The Myths and Facts of Circumcision
  48. The Question of Circumcision II
  49. God confronted even Moses for not keeping the covenant
  50. What is so important about this Commandment?
  51. Experience the change in status from “Children of the flesh,” and of the world : to “Children by promise,” and in the World -Guy#2:03
  52. Surrender: Circumcision of the Heart
  53. Is your heart circumcised today?
  54. Only Jesus Christ – no if’s, no but’s (1)
  55. Yes’s and No’s
  56. entering in…as chosen ones

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Filed under Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

The Christadelphian Agora comments

Reading 3 – Rom 3:9,10

“What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one’ ” (Rom 3:9,10).

“Our guilt is great because our sins are exceedingly numerous. It is not merely outward acts of unkindness and dishonesty with which we are chargeable. Our habitual and characteristic state of mind is evil in the sight of God.

“Our pride and indifference to His will and to the welfare of others and our loving the creature more than the Creator are continuous violations of His holy law. We have never been or done what that law requires us to be and to do. We have never had delight in that fixed purpose to do the will and promote the glory of God. We are always sinners; we are at all times and under all circumstances in opposition to God.

“If we have never loved Him supremely, if we have never made it our purpose to do His will, if we have never made His glory the end of our actions, then our lives have been an unbroken series of transgressions. Our sins are not to be numbered by the conscious violations of duty; they are as numerous as the moments of our existence” (Charles Hodge).

Peter Forbes comments:

3:2  If the Jews had a benefit simply because the Word of God was committed to them how do we view that same word? Do we feel privileged simply because we can read Scripture freely in our own tongue?

3:3 Paul (2Tim 2:13) develops the principles of this verse for the benefit of Timothy. – We have noted before that David’s Psalm (32) is used by Paul to speak of the way in which God forgives. Reflecting on what David had done – committed adultery and murdered a man – we probably cannot think of two more evil crimes. But it is these two crimes which God forgave which forms the basis of Paul’s encouragement to us.

David and Bathsheba, by Henry Bone (died 1834)...

David and Bathsheba, by Henry Bone (died 1834). See source website for additional information. This set of images was gathered by User:Dcoetzee from the National Portrait Gallery, London website using a special tool. All images in this batch have been confirmed as author died before 1939 according to the official death date listed by the NPG. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3:4 The quotation ‘that thou mightest be justified …‘ from Psalm 51:4 marks the beginning of an appeal to the repentance of David after his adultery with Bathsheba – see the title of the Psalm. This incident in David’s life, as terrible as it was, marks the magnitude of the Father’s forgiveness towards a repentant sinner. More notes on this in Romans 4.

3:4‘that thou … art judged’ is a quotation from Psa 51:4 That Psalm is a Psalm speaking specifically of David’s sin with Bathsheba. Paul highlights that the Psalm, though specifically speaking to David, actually has a general application to all.

3:5 This is the first of a number of occasions when Paul asks a question which he then answers himself. The others are Rom 4:1,  6:1, 7:7

Painting by Rembrandt of Paul, one of the most...

Painting by Rembrandt of Paul, one of the most notable of early Christian missionaries, who called himself the “Apostle to the Gentiles.” Paul, a Hellenistic Jew, was very influential on the shift of Christianity to Gentile dominated movement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3:7-8   The “lie” that Paul is thinking about is the charge laid on him by others that he said “Let us do evil that good may come”.

3:8  The charge laid on Paul is similar to the hypothetical question he asks in Rom 6:1.

3:9     The teaching of Paul that we ‘are all under sin’ is quoted by Paul later – Gal 3:22–This is one of many times where Paul quotes elements of this letter to the Romans to other churches. Thus we see that Romans seems to be a letter that many of the other churches were aware of.

3:19 The phrase ‘every mouth may be stopped’ echoes the sentiments of Psa 107:42 thus demonstrating that the teaching that all men are sinners is not confined to the New Testament but is a clear Old Testament teaching.

3:23,24 These adjacent verses are at the opposite ends of the spectrum as far as the mind of man is concerned. One has to recognise the situation outlined in v 23 before one can be in the state described in v 24. Justification is only available to those who recognise their own personal need for salvation.

3:25-26        We should reflect carefully on the fact that God’s righteousness is seen in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our God is not a vindictive cruel God. Rather, as shown by the way He responded to Jesus’ obedience, He is merciful – which we should appreciate anyway because of the way in which He describes Himself –Exo 34:6-7

3:31   To the Jew the idea that the Law of Moses was no longer the route to pleasing God (if it ever was) was a major problem. So they needed to know that ‘faith’ did not remove the need for obedience

Peter Cresswell comments

English: manuscript of the Epistle to the Roma...

manuscript of the Epistle to the Romans (fragment) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3:4 – Here we see a principle that we cannot ignore.  Let God be true is a clear instruction to us not to make God into what we think He should be – not to impose on Him what we feel are the qualities of a god, but instead to open our minds to let Him show us what he really is in truth.  We are still on the theme from the previous chapters which tell us how to avoid being like those whose worship is distorted.  Let us take heed, as through this we can be justified by faith, as we are being prepared to learn next.

3:20 tells us that the law can’t save because by it there is knowledge of sin.  This shows us that the law is inextricably tied up with the original curse – that we should know good and evil.  At the end this curse will be removed and we will know only good.  We do well to remember that this knowledge of good and evil is a curse, not a privilege.  One day, those who are saved, will leave it far behind.  One could argue that by God’s grace, we already have – 5:21, 6:7 – but in that day it will be actual.  Evil will no longer be remembered or contemplated or come into mind.  We must ask ourselves: Are we ready to leave behind the choice to do evil, without looking back, or do we still consider it a privilege?

Cliff York comments

Romans 3:9 – “for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” – in chapters one and two. Paul painted a word picture, first of the Gentile world – Romans 1 – then the Jewish world, which was even worse, for they had access to God’s righteousness – Romans 2.

v12-18 – Paul describes the cadaver of sin. As Paul’s scalpel opens up the body of sin, first the throat, then the tongue, lips, mouth, feet, and eyes are laid bare and examined – Hebrews 4:12-13. And Paul’s conclusion is given in v23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  What does this tell us? We all need Jesus Christ. No-one will be in God’s Kingdom who has not entrusted his life and his salvation to the only name given among men whereby they might be saved – Acts 4:12.

John Wilson comments

Rom 3:25  “to declare his  righteousness.” Christ, the bearer of the sins of the people. Not that Christ might be punished for others, but that God’s righteousness might be declared for others to see that they might be forgiven.

David Simpson comments

Rom 3:9-20 has at least 7 quotations from the Psalms, and one from Isaiah. Then in Rom 4 we can find 7 times when Abraham’s name is written.  There is no doubt, is there, where the Gospel’s foundation is laid?

Valerie Mello comments

Rom 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

A reader writes: “even though our Lord did not commit one single sin – even of omission, he still Came Short of the glory of Yahweh – by his very mortality that he inherited by his birth of a mortal woman – meaning he had to make atonement by his death for his ‘falling short’ of the glory of Yahweh by reason of his birth by a mortal woman who, wonderful as she was, still possessed a sin-prone nature herself.”

My reply: In Rom 1, Paul pointed out mankind’s refusal to acknowledge God and God’s truth and how God gave mankind over to their lusts and the practice of sin. Then in Rom 2, Paul describes God’s judgment on both the Gentiles and the Jews. In Rom 3, Paul sums up his argument and makes it clear that all of mankind is under sin and that “every mouth will be silenced and the whole world will be held accountable to God.” With regard to God’s judgment there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, rich or poor, priest or beggar, businessmen or drunk, churchgoer and atheist, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It does not say or imply that Christ because of his human nature fell short of God’s glory!

In Rom 3:22, we read that the righteousness of God is by faith in Jesus Christ to “all” – that is, mankind in general, Jews and Gentiles, “unto all and upon all that believe: for there is no difference” (cf. vv. 21,23). To fall short of the glory of God is to be in need of righteousness, a righteousness imputed to us by God through Christ (2Cor 5:21).

In Matt 5:20, we are warned that our righteousness must exceed those of the Pharisees. What Jesus is telling us is that it is not enough to submit to mere outward conformity as characterized by the Pharisees, but that it must be of both inward and outward conformity. Obeying the Law was more than just abstaining from killing, or stealing, etc., it also dealt with our inward being. So it is with us under the Law of Christ, and we can only exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees if we submit to Christ. Our own righteousness will never be good enough no matter how hard we try (cf. Isa 64:6).

Jesus was the only one who could lead a perfect life to the law of God in thought, word, and deed. Jesus’ mission was not simply to die on the cross. He had to be the Lamb without blemish, without sin. He had to live a life of perfect obedience, which he did and became the righteousness of God and, thus, could not have fallen short of God’s glory. Irrespective of Christ’s human sin-prone nature, he did not fall short, but continued in all things that were written in the book of the law to do them, otherwise, how could his righteousness be imputed to us, irrespective of our human nature (cf. 1Pet 5:10)? Christ was the perfect sacrifice and we can be made perfect only in him. We are to be Christ-like (cf. 2Cor 3:18).

Christ’s passive obedience (Isa 53:7) pays our sin debt and his active obedience of a sinless life gives us the perfection required by God if we submit (cf. Matt 5:48). What is required of us is active and passive obedience to Christ. Jesus came to undo what Adam did in committing and omitting, by which his character was tarnished and sin entered the flesh and passed on to his descendants – his sin was imputed to us (Rom 5:17-19). This was man’s fall from glory and made him in need of glory.  Man was created in God’s image for God’s glory (1Cor 11:7; Isa 43:7). Christ came to restore for us what Adam lost. We must have Christ’s righteousness, active and passive, transforming us from sinners who fell short of the glory of God to saints of God who fulfill the glory of God in Christ, or God will not accept us.

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Preceding articles

Elul Observances

To find ways of Godly understanding

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Continue reading: Additional comments to the 4th Letter to the Romans

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Additional reading

  1. Creation of the earth and man #4 Of the Sabbath day #2 Days 1,7,8 and 50
  2. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 3 Getting understanding by Word of God 1
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. Imprisonment and execution of Jesus Christ
  6. The seven last sayings of Christ discussed in the new edition of the Christadelphian
  7. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator
  8. God’s wrath and sanctification
  9. Condemnation of the World and Illustration of Justification
  10. Theologians and a promised Spirit to enlighten us
  11. Atonement and the race been bought
  12. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  13. 138) Cheap Grace
  14. Christianity without the Trinity
  15. Not trying to make the heathen live like Jews #2
  16. A Living Faith #7 Prayer
  17. Growth in character
  18. Love is like playing the piano
  19. Forgiveness is a blessing for the one who forgives
  20. He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass
  21. Forgiveness always possible
  22. A man who cannot forgive others
  23. Answering a fool according to his folly
  24. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #5 Not law binding
  25. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church
  26. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  27. Breathing to teach

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Further readings

  1. The creation of Earth and Man, the fall of Man, the cursed Earth, the redemption of Man, the resurrection of Christ, the resurrection of Man, the New Earth
  2. The Justification of Abraham
  3. Joseph and the justification of evil/sin
  4. Law and Grace
  5. Justification, Sanctification and Perseverance – By Grace through Faith
  6. Justification is by faith
  7. Why Justifying yourself is Destroying you!
  8. Are Good Works Necessary for Salvation?
  9. Faith itself not the cause of justification – Louis Berkhof
  10. Theories of Atonement: Recapitulation Theory
  11. Practical Theology
  12. Michael Horton Differentiates Law and Gospel
  13. Old and New Perspectives on Paul: A Third Way?
  14. Why the Law? Part 2
  15. The Justified Dead
  16. It’s not about you
  17. Reflective Paragraphs Week 4 – Romans 3
  18. Romans 3
  19. Daily Devotional – Romans 3:1-8
  20. Romans 3:9
  21. Daily Devotional – Romans 3:9-20
  22. Daily Devotional – Romans 3:21-31
  23. “And where does that leave our proud religious claim of having a corner on God? Canceled.” ~~Apostle Paul
  24. The Best Way to “Stand Up” For Jesus: Revisiting Romans
  25. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  26. Nullify the Torah?
  27. Under The Law
  28. Psalm 57 – As a Deaf Adder; A Sermon Preached at the Amarillo Primitive Baptist Church – Sunday, October 18, 2015
  29. Apart From The Law Of Righteousness
  30. Confessions of a Hypocrite
  31. You are without excuse
  32. Are we good?
  33. More Fashionable Fig Leaves
  34. Elihu – A Word for young leaders
  35. Salvation & Obedience
  36. Would Your Faith Save You?
  37. Let Go of the Ladder
  38. The Playing Field Is Level!
  39. My Utmost For His Highest: The Nature Of Reconciliation
  40. Obedience apart from Christ won’t justify
  41. That One Sin!
  42. The Only Martyr
  43. we’re all “heirs according to the promise” – but we all fall short
  44. Everybody needs Jesus
  45. Rub Your Eyes (Rondel Grande)
  46. Romans Devotional- Day 25
  47. The Anatomy Of God
  48. When Perfect Is Not A Good Thing – Part 1
  49. When Perfect Is Not A Good Thing – Part 2
  50. Is just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned the true meaning of justification?
  51. My Sinfulness
  52. If you love yourself….
  53. Good Behavior
  54. God is righteous and just (God is good 4)
  55. PT. 9 (The end) You are justified in Christ
  56. Day 11: I Declare My Righteousness Is In Christ Jesus
  57. Subjected For Our Sake.
  58. Guilt & Shame Misapplied
  59. God Glories in Making You Righteous
  60. Our Comforter is our Peace
  61. We Distinguish…(Part 5) — Active/Passive Obedience
  62. We Distinguish…(Part 6) — Moral/Ceremonial/Civil
  63. Those Who Practice Such Things Will Not Inherit the Kingdom of God
  64. Do I seek approval?

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

 

 

“1  What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather, has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
4 Now to him who works, the reward is not counted as grace, but as debt. 5 But to him who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 Even as David also pronounces blessing on the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works, 7 Happy are they whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Happy is the man whom the Lord will by no means charge with sin.”

9  Is this blessing then pronounced on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it credited? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while he was in uncircumcision, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they be in uncircumcision, that righteousness might also be credited to them. 12 The father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had in uncircumcision.
13 For the promise to Abraham and to his seed that he should be heir of the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of no effect. 15 For the law works wrath, for where there is no law, neither is there disobedience. 16 For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace, to the end that the promise may be sure to all the seed, not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.

17  As it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations.” This is in the presence of him whom he believed: God, who gives life to the dead, and calls the things that are not, as though they were. 18 Who in hope believed against hope, to the end that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, “So will your seed be.”
19 Without being weakened in faith, he considered his own body as dead (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 Yet, looking to the promise of God, he did not waver through unbelief, but grew strong through faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 Therefore it also was “credited to him for righteousness.”

23  Now it was not written that it was credited to him for his sake alone, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification.” (Romans 4:1-25 NHEB)

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Woodcut for "Faith" depicting Abraha...

Woodcut for “Faith” depicting Abraham and Isaac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Filed under Quotations from Holy Scriptures, Religious affairs

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

In our series looking at “Faith and works” yesterday (January 28) we looked at the letter from Paul to the Romans, chapters 3 and  4. the 4th chapter often being referred to to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

Luther’s work

In our previous posting we saw how the German theologian and religious reformer who was the catalyst of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation Martin Luther gave enough food for the Antitrinitarians. He is one of the most to go against their idea we still have to do works to be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

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It is thanks to his marvellous work of translating of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) that so many more people could read and find out what was really written in the Holy Scriptures, which had a tremendous impact on the church and West European culture.

From 1510 to 1520, Luther lectured on the Psalms, the books of Hebrews, Romans, and Galatians. As he studied these portions of the Bible, he came to view the use of terms such as penance and righteousness by the Catholic Church in new ways. He became convinced that the church was corrupt in its ways and had lost sight of what he saw as several of the central truths of Christianity.

The most important for Luther was the doctrine of justification – God’s act of declaring a sinner righteous – by faith alone through God’s grace. He taught that salvation or redemption is a gift of God’s grace, attainable only through faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

Looking at Paul’s teachings

The blog “Washed, sanctified and justified” also looks at Paul’s teachings in the knowledge that lots of protestants refer to Romans 3:26-28 as their conclusion that a man is justified by faith. Some will say

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from works. {Analysis of St. Paul’s Teachings on Justification and Faith}

Many Christians forget to notice “of the law” which indicates something more and something different than just the “Blood of Christ” or “the Blood of the Lamb“.  The Jewish scholar knew very much the importance of “The Law” or the “Torah” in God’s Plan. And these words are very important to the idea that the apostle Paul is expressing. In the previous articles we have seen that the apostle is speaking of works of the law because that is what he was speaking of in the last chapter.

He didn’t suddenly change subjects. However, he has omitted the words of the law at this point. {Analysis of St. Paul’s Teachings on Justification and Faith}

Some Catholics may say the Jews did not have ‘Sacraments’, but they had a Covenant and arrangements (or sarcaments in the wider interpretation), also having their own religious signs or symbols and practices as forms of worship.

Paul was very well aware how men of God were justified in the past. Abram (Abraham), born way before God made the covenant with the Israelites, had come in the faith. When he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (Genesis 12:1-4; Hebrews 11:8; Romans 4:3) He also had not forgotten, like today many Christians do, that Abraham became the father of many, justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar. (James 2:20-22)

Covenants given to man

The Abrahamic Covnenant may have been interchanged with the Messianic or New Covenant this did not make done with The Law. Too many people forget the terms of the New Covenant.

De Maria in “Romans 4 and the Sacraments” looks further at the misunderstanding of Faith without works.

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We remember from it:

Romans 4 = a dissertation on justification by the Sacraments.

  1. Abraham = our father, according to the flesh
  2. if Abraham > justified by works = he hath whereof to glory > not before God.
  3. if Abraham justified himself = more power to him => it is not of God.
  4. Abraham believed God => counted unto him for righteousness.

=>  that means.

  1. him that works = reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt > obey God’s voice + keep His covenant => a peculiar treasure unto God above all people
  2. to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly > faith is counted for righteousness.
  3. Abraham was => did not work for debt
  4. Abraham did work for faith

He also looks at David, one of the circumcised =>  covenant of reconciliation

  • No one can deny David did many works <= all he did was believe in God’s mercy

reconciliation not only offered to Israelites (Abraham not an Israelite + not even circumcised yet) ===> God saw his faith at work => reckoned in uncircumcision to receive sign of circumcision=  seal of the righteousness of the faith

=> = prophecy which showed that even gentiles would be justified by faith.

=> We, like Abraham, believe and are imputed righteousness, in the Sacraments of Jesus Christ.

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St. Paul contrasting Old Testament with New Testament.

  • Old Testament = the Law.
  • New Testament = the Faith.

no ministry of reconciliation in Old Testament. ~~~ David’s reconciliation exception = foreshadowing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

=> Just as it is imputed to the Catholic, who believing the promises of God, approaches the font of grace and submits to the Sacraments, calling on His name.

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

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CatholicBibleTalk

 Romans 4 is frequently used to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone. But it is actually a dissertation on justification by the Sacraments.  Let’s go through it.

King James Version (KJV)
1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?Abraham is our father, according to the flesh. The Apostle asks, “what has he found”?

2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

Now, he asks, “did Abraham justify himself?” If he did, then more power to him, but it is not of God.

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Now, he quotes Gen 15:6Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

and he begins to explain what that means.

4 Now to him that…

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