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Works or Faith

Romans 4:1-3
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about -- but not before God. What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." (NIV)

Many people revere Abraham. Why? Ultimately, because God honoured him! But why did God do that? Certainly not because Abraham was perfect! The list of his sins is too long to mention here, but he was a man who made many mistakes. Even so he has one key quality: when God spoke to him, Abraham listened and took God's Word seriously. The Bible says that he believed God.

Abraham's faith was all God needed to see. Despite all of his sins, Abraham accepted the Word of God as authoritative, and over his lifetime, he learned to obey. He knew he had nothing to boast about (even though subsequent generations would boast of their great ancestor), but he was totally dependant on God to fulfil His promises. And that faith grew over time (and with mistakes along the way). The Bible says that God accepted his faith as being the grounds on which he was kept in God's love; and one day he would be justified by the blood of Christ.

In other words, Abraham so trusted what God said that if he had known about Jesus, he would have believed the gospel. Yet so many who profess to believe in Jesus are remarkably insecure, unable to trust God's promises for everyday living and worrying about all the things they cannot control. What is wrong? Perhaps we have lost sight of the awesome majesty of God, stopped taking Him seriously, and failed to commit everything to Him in prayer ... and all because we slip away from trusting His Word. Instead we are inclined to boast about what we do and our position in life. And we cannot use the excuse that we do not know enough of the Bible - there was virtually no Bible at all for Abraham. But when he heard God he believed. So that is our challenge today!

Righteous God. Thank You for this fresh reminder that You honour everybody who takes Your Word seriously and believes Your promises. I am sorry for failing to trust what You have said, and for making up my own ways of looking to the future in my own security. Help me to repent of that habit. I want to learn each day to trust Your promises so that, like Abraham, I may live as a child of God through faith in Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams