Today’s Bible Reading: Romans 4
There’s a lot of talk regarding what it means to be a Christian—a follower of Christ, a believer, or someone who is right with God. Some think, well, if you’re not too bad or if you make sure to do some good things, you’re all set. Others may think that if you go to church or if you took part in a traditional religious ceremony, that’s how you became a Christian. Some may even think you have to have it all together to be right with God.
But what does the Scripture say?
This weekend, guest speaker Calvin Sweeney’s bottom line was, “When the tempter comes to TEST you, remember it is God’s Word that PROTECTS you.” It’s God’s Word that protects you. It’s also God’s Word that defines your standing with Him. Romans 4:3 asks that same question in regards to faith: “For what does the Scripture say?” (HCSB). Paul answers, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith”.
Abraham believed God, and God counted him righteous (in right or good standing) because of his faith.
He goes on to say, “When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners” (vs. 4-5). In other words, it is nothing that we DO that puts us in right standing with God—no religious ceremonies, good works, cleaning ourselves up, or going to church. And, for that matter, there’s nothing so bad that we’ve done that keeps us from him. Paul wanted this message to be clear, so he reiterated it all throughout Romans 4.:
- Abraham wasn’t a stellar man of God with a squeaky clean record (check out his story in Genesis).
- Abraham didn’t do so much good that he became the father of many nations (vs. 13, 17).
- Abraham’s religious acts didn’t open the door to faith in God (Genesis 15:6).
“Because of Abraham’s FAITH, God counted him as righteous” (vs. 22).
Here’s the good news for us! “When God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 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” (vs. 23-24).
Romans 4:16 says this is a “free gift.” Another version calls it “grace” (HCSB). “And we are all certain to receive it… if we have faith like Abraham’s” (v. 16). A right relationship with God comes by faith (vs. 13; emphasis added). Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done…”
“It will be credited to us who believe in him” (vs. 24 HCSB). Yes, it really is that easy. THAT’s what the Scripture says.
Do you believe God? Do you believe that it really is that simple, that all we need is faith in him? Do you have faith like Abraham? What does the Scripture say?
The “Starting Point” material asks, “What if the starting point for a relationship with God is TRUST?” Maybe today is the day to trust—to believe God and to believe IN God, “the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead” (vs. 24). If you’re not sure what all that means or what it might look like, consider joining a Starting Point Group at your campus. Believe God. Have faith. Trust what the Scripture says.
God, thank you for making a way for me to be in right standing with you, through faith, through Jesus. And when I struggle to believe, “Help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Thank you that, no matter what I’ve done or not done, I matter to you. Thank you for this immeasurable gift. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
This post was written by Kendra Grubinski. Kendra is passionate about her relationship with Jesus and loves studying and sharing God’s Word. During the week, she is a Spanish Teacher at Findlay High School. She also enjoys spending time with her family and pups, reading, traveling, drinking good coffee and being active outdoors.
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