The Promised Granted Through Faith
Open Your Bible
Romans 4:1-25, Psalm 32:1-2, Ephesians 2:4-7
I’ve been results-driven all my life. I wrestle, wondering if my performance fits the task—whatever it is. Deep down, I fear being found wanting. Hard work (and the good standing it earns me) is my way of compensating for the failings that inevitably happen when my strengths aren’t enough.
The relationship between worth and effort is so deeply rooted in our culture it’s easy to believe that we can justify our existence through our output. It’s hard not to earn our keep. Yet harder still is to face what we deserve when we are found wanting. This narrative often colors my emotions and informs my choices in other areas beyond work. It trickles into my faith. Stealthy, it hides in plain sight. Maybe you’ve been there too?
Since my early twenties, it’s been bumping heads with my faith. I’m grateful for the Word. It won’t let me cut corners about the salvation promised in Jesus.
The promise is through His work and the faith I place in it. It’s counterintuitive. My Western upbringing rebels against it, looking instead for the assurance of effort I can decipher, steps I can check off a list and mark as accomplished.
Though I’ve been a follower of Jesus for over two decades, I’m still learning to live out in practice what my head can quote and my eyes have read many times over. I’m found wanting when it comes to my ability to live rightly without transgressing. The natural outcome of my sin is death. No amount of hard work can remedy my natural bent toward sin or earn me a better outcome.
Jesus faced that outcome in our place (Romans 4:25). His resurrection earns our keep because we can’t. He provided justification for my status as a daughter of God. Our right to be God’s has nothing to do with our efforts to be good or be enough. It is the direct result of Jesus’s willingness to face death and be raised to life on the third day. His effort was enough.
Sometimes it’s puzzling, even irritating, to see flawed people praised in Scripture for being right with God. We reason: they weren’t always exemplars, so how can they be called righteous?
The dissonance stems from what makes them right before the Lord. It’s easy to skip over. When God promised land and descendants to Abraham, he was a childless nomad with a wife well past the age to bear children. The promise wasn’t contingent on his efforts. But it did require him to bank the remaining years of his life on it, living like he believed what he could not see because it was promised by God. It was a promise granted through faith (Romans 4:1–25).
The response faith requires of us is to live our lives like the promise that He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification (v.25) is real. What does it look like to live our everyday lives like this is true?