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Law Brings Wrath

Romans 4:13-15
It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. (NIV)

Those who rely on doing what is right for their righteousness will always have a shock. Nobody except Jesus can live a completely perfect life, and so every time they fail to do right, they invite the weight of the law to condemn them.

The Jews, who revered the written law of God, could never be made righteous - because they all failed to keep it perfectly. So their devotion to the law of God would only bring God's anger against them. On the other hand, Abraham who lived before the law was given simply believed what God had said and God credited righteousness to him. What Abraham believed was a promise that his offspring would be the means of the world's blessing. Even though he did not know that the key figure in that blessing was Jesus, he believed as much as he knew.

The Bible is full of God's promises. We cannot be saved without believing in the promise that all who repent and believe in Jesus have everlasting life (John 3:16). But there are many more promises too. We can never do enough to satisfy God's law but we can keep on trusting His Word and receiving His grace. Such faith does not aim to attract material wealth and possessions, but treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). Believing His promises will give us the confidence to look forward with hope, enabling us to persist despite our troubles. We begin by faith, and we must continue by faith.

Dear Lord. Thank You for Abraham's example of a man who believed Your promises and was credited with righteousness. Forgive me when I think I have to earn my way into Your Kingdom, when You just long to give me what I do not deserve. Help me to trust all of Your promises, not to make myself rich but to please You and store up treasure in heaven. Please give me the courage I need to keep going even when I cannot see where You are leading or how I will be able to get there. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams