Saturday, December 02, 2017

Romans 4

 I do have a Bible Commentary blog I usually post my thoughts on scriptures to. But I use the KJV there. I have been wanting to go through the Living Translation in Romans (and maybe the rest of the New Testament eventually) for some time, but don't want to mix it up with the KJV. So, I've been posting it here when I get the time to get to it.

I life in general, we went camping in Death Valley to have Thanksgiving with Hubby's brother. We had a very good time (and yeah! second vacation in a row with no car break downs and no vomit!)

Church is...interesting. Things are changing, but not in anyway I could explain. Weird.

I will likely post my Christmas letter here when I get it finished. Almost there.

Now on to Romans (written by the Apostle Paul to Christians in Rome before his arrest.)

The Faith of Abraham

1 Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? 

2 If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. 

God did not love Abraham because he was so good he deserved it. 

3 For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”

The Bible says that because of Abraham's choice to believe in God, God considered him righteous. In other words, it isn't perfect behavior that God wants (something no human can achieve). It is faith in Him that God wants.
4 When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned.  

If Abraham had earned his favor with God by good works, it would have been a debt God owed him to accept him.  Since no human is perfect enough to earn those wages, Abraham (and everyone else) would have been totally lost.

5 But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. 

God understands that we are imperfect beings and will always make mistakes and fail. What He wants is our devotion to Him. He will take care of the rest.

6 David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it:

7 “Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sins are put out of sight.

8 Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”

9 Now, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it also for uncircumcised Gentiles? Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith. 

Part of the reason Paul is writing this letter is to answer some questions concerning the difference between converts to Christianity from the Jews and converts from the non-Jews.

10 But how did this happen? Was he (Abraham) counted as righteous only after he was circumcised (circumcision being the symbol for membership into the Jewish nation), or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised!

11 Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith.  

So, believers from non-Jewish linage are in the same place as Abraham.

12 And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised. 

The mere physical act of circumcision does no good without a believing heart.

13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law (since it hadn't been written yet), but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith.  

14 If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. 

If Heaven is simply for those who do the correct works, it is earned income, not a gift, and God's promises are irrelevant. 

15 For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)

No one is perfect. We all break the law, any law, sometimes. It's pointless to put your hope in your ability to be perfect because you can't.

16 So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. 

If you choose to believe, if you have faith, Abraham is your father/ancestor.  

17 That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. 

There are believers in every nationality, so Abraham is "the father" of those believers in many nations. 

18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”

19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. 

Sarah was 90, well past menopause, when Isaac was born.

20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 

21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.  

22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.  

23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 

24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in Him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.  

I am sure there are many, many stories of interest not recorded in the Bible. How could there not be? But God carefully controlled which writings, which stories were preserved to bring the greatest benefit to future generations. 

25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.

Jesus purpose was to pay the price for our sins.

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