Romans: Day 9

The Promise Granted through Faith

by

Today's Text: Romans 4:1-25, Psalm 32:1-2, Ephesians 2:4-7

Scripture Reading: Romans 4:1-25, Psalm 32:1-2, Ephesians 2:4-7

Let me tell you what everybody’s talking about these days: kale. I know, first telegrams were all the rage, later to be followed by fast food drive-thrus, “The Electric Slide,” and space travel. But now we’ve finally peaked with an affection for curly leaves that sprout from the ground.

At first, I really thought I was missing out. Kale seemed to be every celebrity’s best kept secret, every magazine’s healthy choice, and every grocery cart’s consistent companion. So, I tossed a bunch of kale into my produce bag and raced to the checkout line, anxious to taste this treat of the century. In the car, I tore the stem off like a cupcake wrapper, stuffing a handful of leaves into my mouth. I wanted to like it more than anything, but friends, gag reflexes don’t lie.

In contrast to the controversial kale, it would be difficult to find someone who didn’t like Abraham. His popularity was well-deserved, his reputation flawless, his character impeccable. The Jews looked up to him as a forefather paving the trail of faith, a man whose righteousness, they hoped, would inspire their own. If they were anything like me, they’d stuff themselves silly with anything that promised a chance at gaining his status.

Perhaps some Jews tried to duplicate Abraham’s righteousness with their own try-hard attempts at earning favor with God. But no matter their determination, the results would remain bitter and unsavory. Exhausted, they might look to him and wonder, How does he do it?

I asked the same of my friend Amanda, who eats a salad for lunch every single day and, consequently, is very well versed in the area of all-things-kale. She laughed, explaining that no one eats kale plain. Apparently (you probably already knew this), you drench it in dressing, blend it in a smoothie, or soften it with olive oil. By itself, kale isn’t the star ingredient, but when covered in other flavors, it gets all the credit for being delicious. Abraham’s secret had a similar flavor: “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3).

At first glance, it’s easy to assume that if anyone could achieve righteousness, it would probably be a guy like Abraham. But like you and me, he had sin pumping through his veins. And so Abraham is not the achiever in this passage—God is. Abraham simply believed God and His promises.

Now to the one who works, pay is not considered as a gift, but as something owed. But to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who declares the ungodly to be righteous, his faith is credited for righteousness.
- Romans 4:4-5

Hear this good news, friends. Because Christ was righteousness in our place, we, too, are drenched in His goodness, credited with His coveted status—we’re the very fragrance of Christ before our Father (2 Corinthians 2:14). May we always believe with the faith of Abraham, receiving God’s promises with open hands and thankful hearts. Amen.

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  • I’m thanking the Holy Spirit this morning for once again being my Faithful Teacher. I think I’m finally beginning to understand more fully the implications of the work of Jesus on the cross. The importance of me being unwavering in my belief that God is able keep His promises. And, I find myself again and again and again so incredibly thankful to my Savior for so many things but, in particular today, for showing me the meaning of His unrelenting grace and mercy.

  • Such a wonderful reminder that because Christ covers me, I shine brighter, I live better, I love harder. Praise God!

  • Kristen Clegs

    A needed reminder that God sees right trust as right living. Right living without right trust is filthy rags.

  • I so often feel that my sin is to great for God to be able to truly love me. A great reminder today that there is nothing I can do by works to make him love me. Love the kale analogy, I am nothing without Jesus! As kale is nothing on its own!!

    • Cheryl

      Amen – thank God for SRT and the kale story today, as without it I would have completely missed the point. And I would go so far as to say, that kale is awful on its own!

  • This is my favorite chapter in Romans. I’m reminded that even Abraham, who tried to pass his wife off twice as his sister, was redeemable. His faith at times wavering, still went back to God, trusting Him.

    • Steph J

      Yes this is such a beautiful reminder of God’s forgiveness to us. Even though we still sin He is so faithful to still love us and call us and USE US. He uses us for His purpose and glory and when we are faithful to that calling, it is always blessed and fruitful.

  • Susan Guiselman

    My righteousness has on my to do with my faith that God is who he says he is, does what he says he can do, and without this truth I see how people, including me might think I have anything other than faith to do with my own righteousness. It is only credited to me by God as he sees my growth through faith in Him, as well as my obedience and choice to pick up my own cross every day and do what he asks of me each day.

  • Melanie Bisson

    I’m slowly getting caught up but this is one I might sit and meditate on for a while. I get frustrated and pray often about trying to understand when it is he is promising me something. Being still enough to just hear Him. My husband and I got re-married last weekend (married for 6 years, divorced for 2 – praise Jesus for my salvation and redeeming us) and he said the wedding would be paid for. I laughed like Sarah laughed. How? We were barely pulling money together for a down payment on a home and my Dad had already said yes to only half. Well, don’t you know a car accident lawsuit settlement came through at triple what we thought it would. My lawyer was astonished. My husband KNEW and BELIEVED and TRUSTED what God told him. I’m still in awe and wonder.

    • Chrissie

      Melanie, how incredible that the money came through…But even more incredible that God restores marriages and changes hearts! He is so GOOD. Congratulations. <3 <3 <3

  • Reading this a little late, but what amazing and powerful scripture and thoughts. I love verse 21. “Because he was fully convinced that what God had promised, he was also ABLE to do”.

  • A group of us in Phoenix are studying together, and there was a tension in the idea that faith without works is dead. What stood out to me that faith was not something that Abraham went and sought out after he encountered difficulty, but something that is described as “not wavering,” and “not weakening” in the midst of difficulty. His faith was already foundational. It reminds me that faith is not something we call on circumstantially, but what we live out of. I think that in the same way our works are a result of the overflow of faith and transforming of our hearts to be more like the heart of Jesus. In the overflow context it makes sense to me that without works faith is dead, because the lack of works would be a symptom of the death of faith.

    • Jessica

      Beautifully said–that belief (faith) must be at the core and everything else flows out from that

  • Tina Reed

    You can take a spiritual gift test that will outline your strongest gifts. We did this at my church a few months ago. My top three gifts were leadership, teaching and helps. They were right on target: I am a teacher, I usually fall into leading and I am a Stephen Minister. I often find myself in situations that allow me to utilize the spiritual gifts for the Glory of God.

  • I recently was listening to someone teach on spiritual gifts, using Abraham as an example of someone showing the gift of Faith. I think I hadn’t really understood what it means to specifically have this gift (as opposed to all believers who are called to have faith generally speaking). What stuck out to me was how this “works’. God gives a believer the gift of Faith, giving them an extra super charged confidence to believe what God has said. So (1) God promises something (2) God also gives the spiritual gift of Faith (3) person believes and walks in Faith

    Have any of you studied the gift of Faith ? Or do any of you feel God has given you this spiritual gift? I’d love to hear how this looks in your life, or ways God has used this gift. I’ve been mulling this over a lot lately, and considering what Scripture says about certain gifts you can ask God for as well.

    So thankful for how God used Abraham, and that we have his example of believing what God said!

    • Lizzieb85

      I think I may have the gift of faith. I say this because I just always believe & trust. I find it difficult sometimes to help people with their disbelief & fears because I just believe & don’t fear. I don’t understand how others don’t just take God at His word. I am not saying this to put anyone down or to boast. Not at all. I recognize that this is not easy for some people. That is why I think it is a gift I have because I just take God at His word.

      An example from my life: When I went in to be checked for a miscarriage, I had perfect peace. I knew in my depths I lost the baby, but I knew God was with me. I sang “rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice” & recited “lean not on my own understanding” in my head during the whole visit. I still grieved & cried, but I trusted. After my miscarriage, God called us to wait to try again. I doubted whether He would give us children. But I always had faith He was doing something great. He put it in my heart to pray for twins. Two & a half years after my miscarriage I delivered twin boys.

  • Elisabeth7291

    “but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God” – I needed this today. It reminds me of the New Testament father who said to Jesus, “I believe. Oh, help my unbelief.” I needed this lesson today that faith grows as it is used and as we acknowledge and worship the Source for all we have and all we are.

    • Rachel Smart-Gargasz

      Faith grows as it is used! Love your comment – thank you for taking your time to comment :) I needed your little phrase❤️

  • It is amazing that God blesses us through our faith and that we don’t have to do anything else to receive it. However…since it is so freely given to those who have faith, many do not appreciate or realize it. I’m sure we’ve all had times when we’ve forgotten God’s blessings or walked around with less than bulletproof faith…so maybe the working for it comes through choosing it each day, appreciating it each day, and thanking God for all the blessings each day. And though that is simple, it is not always easy. What an amazing God we serve though! I love the confidence that it brings to think of ourselves like Abraham in the sense that others will be drawn to us because we have God. It’s lovely. ❤️

  • The verse that struck me today was Romans 4:15, it seems scary at first glance, that the law brings wrath…but such a good explanation as why God gave the law in the first place…so we can know right from wrong. We can never live up to the law, but we need to know right from wrong or anything goes! It is easy to get hung up on the law…the Jews did. We need to know what is acceptable to God, our creator, and what is evil. It needed to be defined for humanity,although we can never save ourselves by the law since we are sinful from birth. From there we can rest in God’s grace and mercy through faith.

  • I kept thinking yesterday and today as I read that it is amazing that we are placed (seated) in heaven along with Jesus. Yesterday’s reading in Colossians 1:13-14 says that we are rescued out of the domain of darkness and placed in heaven, where God’s beloved son Jesus is. While I can easily doubt my value with God, this passage shows how I am so important to God that He allows me to be where “the son He loves” is!
    http://www.thegirlontheverge.com

  • Linda Kettner

    @shereadstruth see above

  • Linda Kettner

    @shereadsytruth There is no 2 Corinthians 2:51! The second chapter ends at verse 17. Typo?

  • Kale has been an extremely common and cheap vegetable over here in Europe for centuries.
    There’s no message intended here on the parable-level but I just found it funny to read.
    And a helpful comparison it was, too.

  • Sheryn Atkinson

    What a mind-blowing thought…that God blesses us simply through our faith. We don’t need to work for it! Everything in the world must be worked for…money to buy things, exercise to stay fit, eating healthy to prevent weight gain, kindness to maintain friendships. But God’s love, grace and forgiveness doesn’t need to be ‘worked for’. This is the most beautiful truth and one that blows my mind every time I contemplate it! Thank you Father for giving me grace and loving me without me having to work for it!

  • I’ve really appreciated this study already.
    I believe that the reference in the last paragraph of the devotion should be 2 Cor 2:15 (not 2:51)
    What an incredible verse if we really stop to think about it! What a wonder…we are a beautiful aroma of Christ to God!!!

  • PronetoWander

    1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
    2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit. ❤️❤️❤️ I love that in the midst of our sin God sees us in love not anger! He sees children he loves, not what we see our broken selves as! This message was so uplifting for me today when I’ve been beating myself down and Satan lying to me.

  • I marveled at Paul’s use of word study in today’s reading. Does anyone remember the movie “Yentl” ? There were scenes in the movie in which the young Jewish scholars debated the meaning of the scripture. Such attention to tense, order of ideas put forth, etc, etc. all to make a point. In today’s reading, I saw Paul carefully laying out his rationale for delivering the word to and accepting Gentiles into the early church … this history of the early church and Paul’s dual need to open the doors of salvation through Christ to all is so balanced with the message he is sending back to the Jewish believers who are still hung up on the ‘circumcision thing’. He was brilliantly inspired through God to make clear the divine intention through Abraham! This is such a wonderful way of explaining to Jews and Gentiles the importance of faith – the ultimate trust in our God and God’s intent for all to be brought to favor and grace through loving and honoring the word, but initially have faith and total trust in God. Hallelujah!

  • Romans 4 is my very favorite and has gotten me through the past 5 years. I can’t get enough of it. Against ALL odds!!!! Truly, such an amazing chapter of the bible and one that I will never get sick of reading.

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Scripture reading links are very important. Disappointed that none were available this morning. Would it be possible to correct that omission, please? Thank you for all you do. It is greatly appreciated.

    • Abby

      Hmm..they were linked for me.

    • Aimeejoy

      Lily, I use google chrome on a macbook and I wonder if it has something to do with that because they haven’t been linking for me either.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi friend! So sorry for the mistake on our part – they have been updated!

      – Stormye

  • “Abraham is not the achiever in this passage—God is. Abraham simply believed God and His promises.”

    Thank you. Today will go down as a defining “God” moment in my life.

  • Against all hope, Abraham IN HOPE believed. FULLY persuaded. Lord let this be the way we believe in You! That against all hope, hope in You would be ours, being fully persuaded of Your goodness and our weakness and our desperate need for You.

  • Melissa Barton

    No scripture reading links showing up on my microsoft surface chrome browser. I popped over to hereadstruth.com for the readings today.

  • Abraham believed God. It is as simple as that. ❤

  • His promises are true. He is faithful. Patience is what He asks of us and even though it’s one of the hardest things to do, if we overcome the urge to follow our own path and wait on God, we realize the wait was so worth it. Abraham was a true example of that. God’s promises are what drives me to live through each day with peace, even in the midst of some rough patches, because He has proven Himself faithful. I will give Him that same faith always ❤️

  • Take God at his word, and trust him. Amen to the reading and written truth of God’s Word!

  • Sometimes having faith in the unseen/God’s promises is hard. Instead of forcing myself to believe, I take a “Why not?! Anything can happen!” approach. For me, it takes the stress out of believing and makes it more fun. It also helps me stay open to the many ways God fulfills promises. It reminds me that the outcome (his answer in the moment) may not be what I expect, but

    • Lana

      is glorious and should be praised nevertheless! Love the kale analogy. I am kale dripped in God’s balsamic vinaigrette lol! Thankful for the feta and peppers he also adds to my salad. Amen!

  • Scripture reading?

    • Nancy

      Sorry, I hadn’t seen the query below.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Nancy! So sorry for the mistake on our end. It has been updated for today – thank you for letting us know!

      – Stormye

  • It is not by our good deeds that we please God, but by our faith in Him and His promises. Our good deeds are more as a way of saying thank you to Christ the savior.

  • Sonja Cox

    Amazing grace!! So sweet! Just like Abraham was strengthened in his faith as he gave glory to God, we too are strengthened the exact same way in our faith! Day by day, as we give glory to God for His amazing grace ! Thank you Jesus for giving to us your right standing before God! Amen!

    • Annie

      I love the way you stated thanks to Jesus for giving us his right standing. It convicts me–I get stingy and even bitter thinking about giving away undeserved time, effort, and love to those who are supposed to care for me but consistently hurt me. Jesus gave me His right standing before God, so why do I think it’s okay to be anything but loving, forgiving, and generous in every way?

  • Such encouraging words. My faith needed this reminder and Abraham’s example is spot on.

  • “This was so that the promise may rest on grace…” I think this shines light on the character of God, something those who were given only the law were unable to see. The mystery of the riches of Christ have been made known to us. We know that grace and truth are important characteristics of our God, and that he has showered us with love and kindness–because we know that God designed the world and His promises based on faith in Him, instead of in striving and comparing. God loves peace, faith, hope and love, and He gives grace upon grace in His kindness.

    How grateful I am to be living at a time after Christ was raised, and not before. Abraham’s faith is so incredible when we take the timing into consideration. I’m so grateful for Jesus. God is good.

  • churchmouse

    Ah, Abraham… “He believed” …” He did not weaken in faith” … “He did not waver in unbelief’…” Was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God “… He was fully convinced that what God had promised, he was able to do”… These are the attributes of Abraham that I want to emulate in my life. It looks overwhelming, like a Mission Impossible. BUT GOD indwells me by His Holy Spirit. I have the mind of Christ and I am being transformed day by day. Praising Him for His rich mercy, His great love and His endless grace.

    • Tricia C

      Amen. Grace, grace. God’s grace.

    • Cindy

      These are some of my favorite verses in scripture… Verse 17 is the verse God gifted to me as I sat beside my sweet Daddy’s bedside after his fever went to 104 and he was diagnosed with lymphoma … My faith was weak and my fear was strong, but I prayed and began thanking Him (even tho at times it was just words, not faith) for more time and good years for Daddy. He blessed us with 14 more years and my Daddy saw my daughter born and loved his “gal” and we had adventures with him and Mama and made precious memories. Sorry this is rather rambling, but these verses just brought back so much… I’m so thankful for His grace and undeserved goodness to me…

      • Emily B.

        Such a sweet testimony. I’m glad you shared it this morning. :)

      • Michelle

        Not rambling. I wish you had said more. Struggling in my own relationship with my aging parentsworking on getting it right before it’s too late. Thanks for the encouragement Cindy. God bless you.

  • Some things that struck me this morning as never before: Abraham took God at his word and acted on it. 1) He did not weaken in faith (v 19). 2) He did not waver in unbelief (v 20) HE WAS FULLY CONVINCED THAT WHAT GOD HAD PROMISED, HE WAS ABLE TO DO (v 21).
    Yes and amen! To use an old southern phrase, “Now that’ll preach.”
    May I walk today as one fully convinced!

    • Taylor

      Amen! This convicted me today too! I cannot help but read these passages over and over, “In hope he believed.. as he had been told” (Romans 4:18). He was told, and believed! As I wait on God’s promises to me, I often question and analyze God, wondering “did he really promise me that?” “Maybe it’s just me being too hopeful?” But nope!.. Abraham was told, and chose to believe God, no matter how unlikely and unfavorable the circumstances seemed to be! May I have faith like Abraham’s!

  • What are the Scripture verses for today’s ready? Thank you :)

  • JeniaMarie

    What a blessing it is to know that I don’t have to strive in good works to be counted as righteous before God. I’m a “works” type of person in that I look and I think ” if I do this God will…”. But he doesn’t work like that. What does work is the fact that I believe that God is who he said he is and that he cannot lie. So anything I do is out of a heart of faith that understands that even if I don’t get this act right ; God is still faithful. Just think: if pleasing God were based on works alone our lives would be a frantic mess. We would never rest. So there is so much more that comes with faith in God. That in itself is a blessing ❤️

    • Annie

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts–such a beautiful reminder that there are so many riches in the gift of Christ, including rest.

    • Ashley Motes

      I love that you make the point that we would never rest, because there are times when we need to go through a season/time of rest. It is necessary. Without that time of reflection and prayer we can become bitter and just throw everything away.

    • Emily B.

      I love what you said about God still being faithful even if we don’t always get things right. I can have a similar mindset as yours, and I have to remember that He is Who He said He is, and He’s going to be glorified no matter what.

  • The last paragraph reminded me of the brother (Jacob) who stole his twins (Esua) birthright and blessing from their father Isaac, who by the way was Abrahams son. Because of failing eyes, ill health and old age, Isaac, asked his older son, to prepare a meal for him so as to be able to give him, Esua, his blessing. But their mother had other ideas for the blessing. She prepares a meal and dresses the younger son, Jacob, in his brothers clothes, so as to smell like him, and used goatskin to disguise his smooth skin….where his brother was a tad hairy.

    This promise.. blessing, was given, based on a great big fat lie. A deception.

    But God….

    His promise, His blessings come through faith. Faith in Him and the gift of His son Jesus, who took our place, and gave us a place from which to Trust Him, believe in, know Him through His Word, walk with Him, lean on Him..Hope in Him.
    No lie.

    No deception.

    Truth.

    I started with the comparison, or perhaps similarities…, but heres the thing, THIS PROMISE is the real deal.
    God given.
    God promised.
    God blessed.

    Because Christ was righteousness in our place, we, too, are drenched in His goodness, credited with His coveted status—we’re the very fragrance of Christ before our Father (2 Corinthians 2:51).
    May we always believe with the faith of Abraham, receiving God’s promises with open hands and thankful hearts.
    Amen.
    Amen.
    Amen.

    Morning Sisters from across the pond… praying God richly bless your day whatever it looks like…with love, Tina…xxx

    • Jo Cook

      Yes…..this!!! I always love to read your thoughts and reflections!! Today was spot on!!! Thank you!!!

  • Amen Amen

  • Amen!

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