The father of us all
Romans 4:13-5:5 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would 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 nullified; 15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. 16 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 (as it is written, “A father of many nations have I made you”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. 23 Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.
5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Those who oppose Christianity say it is intolerant and not inclusive. They say that it is a narrow minded way of thinking. But in truth, nothing could be farther from the truth. In today’s text it says: …it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. It is faith; believing, not a birthright; not dependent on national, racial or ethnic background. It is not dependent on either position or performance, but only on faith; believing. Ephesians 2:8-9 says: By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. In John 3:16, Jesus says: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” What could be more inclusive? What could be more fair? No one is excluded. Everyone has exactly the same ability and qualification for salvation and eternal life. In John 14:6 Jesus says: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” 1 Peter 3:18 says: For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. Abraham, the father of us all. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Christ also died for sins once for all. These are words and principles of inclusion and equality.
The text says: Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. Because of faith in Christ, we have peace with God. Again, there is no striving, no necessity to measure up to the standards and the regulations of human ideals or philosophies, we are reconciled to God, having peace with Him gives us peace in all that we face. In John 14:27 Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” In John 16:33, He says: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” We have peace and confidence through faith in Christ because we are at peace with God. As Romans 8:31 says: If God is for us, who can be against us? The text continues saying: We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. It is not that we take joy or glorify in tribulation, but because we are at peace with God, because we know that nothing of this world or this life can keep us from eternity with God, tribulation only strengthens our faith. It makes our salvation more secure as we trust and believe in Him more.
Christianity cannot be called intolerant or not inclusive. But Christians can be. We as believers need not only to have faith, but also to walk in that faith, in the sight of the world. Ephesians 2:8-10 says: By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” We are not saved by our works but for good works, that we might shine the light of Christ in the wolrd to the glory of God the Father in heaven. The walking out of our faith can possibly be summed up best in what Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-38: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Our neighbor, the one we are to love as we love ourselves, is all inclusive. Because we are at peace with God, Romans 12:18 says: If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit for Your all encompassing love and grace. Thank You that we need not strive to measure up to an unattainable standard, but rather only to have faith and believe in Christ. Because I have been reconciled to You and I have peace, may I walk out my faith in the sight of the world. May I, like You love and be at peace with all men. Amen.