Once again, Lord, I come to Your Holy Word, ready and eager to learn what You have here for me.
Read Romans 4:1-12
 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter?  If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about-but not before God.  What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”  Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.  However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.  David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:  “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”  Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.  Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!  And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.  And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectOn what basis was (and was not) Abraham "credited as righteous"?
It is a mistake to think that God was a different person in the Old Testament. The ancient Israelites might have gotten into different problems than ours, but God is unchanging. There was never a time when he was not infinitely gracious, delighting in forgiving his wayward people. Our spiritual forefather, Abraham, is an important leader and an inspiring role model for all time. No wonder he is revered not only by Christians but by Jews and Muslims, too. He is often held up as the archetype patriarch: the figure from the mists of time. Well, maybe he is; but, at heart, Abraham is also a very modern, New Testament kind of person. For one thing, his relationship with his God is not about the good work he did but about his faith (2,3). We also see here that even the spiritual giants of the Bible did not get right with God through being righteous but by having their sins forgiven (7,8). Then we learn that this business of circumcision, which seems to have been so important to some, was not the main point. It was just a sign of what was, hopefully, going on inside the true believer (11).
Verse 12 describes walking “in the footsteps of the faith.” How like Abraham’s faith is yours? How could it be more so?
Lord God, I thank You that You are the same gracious and loving God today as You were for Abraham.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.