Jul. 17, 2017

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Romans 4:1-12 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 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 credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven,
And whose sins have been covered.
“Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”

Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “Faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.” 10 How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; 11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.


“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”  … faith is credited as righteousness.       This righteousness which comes by faith, through believing God is more than a description of the state or status of a person. The believing that it speaks of is the believing in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.    It is believing unto eternal life. It is also the faith and believing spoken of in Hebrews 11:6    But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. God is a rewarder. We receive eternal life and we also receive God’s reward, His blessing, His provision, His protection and His presence in this life. The believing is the believing Jesus speaks of in Mark 11:24, when He says: Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”   The faith, is the faith Jesus speaks of in Matthew 17:20, when he says:  “Truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”   Our faith, our believing translates to power in our prayer and proclaiming. The righteousness which is credited to us through faith, through believing is all of these things because it is not our own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ which is credited to us.

Hebrews 11:1 says this about faith:  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.      Look at how the Amplified translation says it: Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].          Faith is more than a wish, a dream or a hope. It is an assurance, a certainty; we have, we possess, we are divinely guaranteed, with evidence and comprehension the fact of the truth of God, the fact of His promises to us and for us.    Through faith, believing in the finished work of the cross, we have them. We do not need to hope for them or even ask for them, they are ours through faith, through the righteousness credited to us in Christ.     If that is true, why do we struggle to possess God’s promises in our daily lives? If they are ours through faith and believing, what stands in our way? The opposite of faith and belief is fear and unbelief or doubt. Fear is really believing more in what we do not want than in what we do. It is having more confidence that what is bad will be the result rather than what is good.    We fear what might be because we lack faith in what is, all that we have credited to us in Christ.  If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31)    Doubt or unbelief is more than uncertainty over the outcome of a situation or circumstance. It is more than questioning whether our prayer will be answered or what we proclaim will come to pass. Doubt and unbelief is questioning God.  It is believing either that He is not able or that He is not willing to do what He said He would.  We need to recognize then, that fear and unbelief are much more than hindrances in our lives, holding us back from all that should be ours. Fear and doubt, unbelief are sin in our lives, keeping us from receiving the credit of righteousness and separating us from the will, the promises and the presence of God. In Revelation 21:6-8 Jesus says:  “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly (fearful), unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”   Those who are fearful and unbelieving are at the head of the list of those who are eternally separated from God. Those who overcome shall inherit all things. We need to acknowledge that fear and unbelief are sin and we need to repent.

It’s been said that the words fear not or don’t be afraid appear throughout scripture 365 times. That’s once for every day of the year, or many times for every moment of need. Fear not, repent, change the way you believe. Have faith and receive the credit of the righteousness of Christ and His inheritance of all things.

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit forgive me for the times I have let fear or unbelief enter into my life. Like the father of the boy who came to Jesus for healing in Mark 9, I say:  “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”    Your word says that when I am weak You are strong. So may my faith be strengthened in You. Thank You that through faith and believing, I have been credited with righteousness, the very righteousness of Christ and so, I possess all things which You have promised. I believe. Thank You Father, Son and Holy Spirit.   Amen.