Tuesday 12 April 2016

Bible Book:

“It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.” (vv. 24-25)

Romans 4:20-25 Tuesday 12 April 2016

Psalm: Psalm 69:30-36


In this passage, Paul continues to reflect on the remarkablestory of Abraham who believed in God's promise that he would be'father of many nations' in and in spite of his old age (or, asPaul unsentimentally puts it, when his body was "as good as dead"(Romans 4:19)). Paul understands that Abrahamwas putting his faith in God who has power even over death and thatis the import of the key verse (which he quotes from Genesis 15:6)"his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness" (v. 22).

Paul then begins to explore what this means for Christians. TheResurrection is, for Paul, the core component of Christian faith;according to Luke, Paul's interrogation before the Council inJerusalem ended with him shouting "I am on trial concerning thehope of the resurrection of the dead" (Acts23:6). The theology of Romans is entirely consistent with thatposition: that God is God who raised Jesus from the dead is a keytheme of the epistle.

Another key theme is that those who share faith in God whoraised Jesus are justified (or 'reckoned as righteousness'). Theselast verses of chapter 4 are the conclusion of a carefullyconstructed logical argument which began in chapter 1. Pauldescribed how human sinfulness had destroyed humankind'srelationship with God. But God took the initiative to rectify thatwhich was wrong; those who believe, therefore, can be confidentthat God counts them as being 'put right' with God. What the writerof Genesis wrote about Abraham, Paul is able to conclude, alsoapplies to the believing Christian.

To Ponder

  • The Letter to the Romans is a celebration of God's action inrectifying our relationship with God. How might you begin toexplain that to someone who asks what your faith means to you?
  • Paul understands Abraham to have had hope when there seemed tobe no reason to hope. Have you ever been surprised that yourprayers were answered when you had given up asking? Again, whathappened? Take the opportunity to give thanks for answeredprayer.
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