5 February 2014

Romans 4:13-25

“For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.” (v. 13)


Abram was called by God in his old age to leave his homeland and travel to a new land (Genesis 12:1-9). The promise had been that all families on earth would be blessed through this journey, that they would "inherit the world". This was a very positive, confident promise. It was a promise to bless and expand who Abram was. However, the call was not just a blessing for Abram, but (through Abram) a blessing to countless others. Abram's adventure with God transformed who he was, his identity changed, and to show a sign of this God re-named him Abraham.

Paul made the point that the fulfilment of this promise came to Abraham, not because he kept the law, but because he trusted in God. If it had been because Abraham had kept the law it would have been by his own efforts, and would have excluded all Gentiles (non Jews) who were not under the law. Excluding Gentiles would have made the scope of God's promise to Abraham much smaller.

The fulfilment of the promise depended on faith, and rested on grace. Grace is the healing love of God - God's beauty. Abraham believed in God, even though he was so old he was as good as dead! He gave the glory, the honour and the credit to God.

Therefore, his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness. It was due to his faith, that God restored Abraham's right and fitting character. This was not just for Abraham's benefit, but also that we might know the way of faith, and be blessed by Abraham's faith. Abraham taught us the meaning of faith so that we can learn to have faith in the life, death and resurrection of Christ, and through our faith bring blessing to all the nations on the earth.

To Ponder

  • What difference does it make to you to have faith not only in the life of Jesus, but in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus?
  • What difference will it make to your actions in the next 24 hours to know that having faith is not just to be a blessing to you and your loved ones, but a blessing to all people?
  • Think of a recent example of when you have been a blessing to others and explain in what way you gave the glory to God or didn't.

Bible notes author

The Revd Jenny Ellis

Jenny is a Methodist minister and this year has permission to study, as well as work alongside a rural chapel to help it find a new physical presence and sense of mission in its village. She is leading a number of quiet and study days.