Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In our Epistle reading this week, from Romans 4, the apostle points to Abraham’s faith in God as the central feature in all theology. Abraham is our example of righteousness by grace through faith. He is the example of the man who was saved apart from the works of the law, but by believing God. He stands forgiven. His sin is covered. He will not be held accountable for sin.
The freedom of the Christian has caused no end of arguments within the Church. We often seem to approach this doctrine with a “Yes, but” attitude. Yes, we are free from condemnation by God’s salvation, which is free. But we’d better do those good works to be sure. We’d better show that we love God by doing the works which we know are pleasing to him. We’d better get busy. If we don’t teach our young people to obey, and to obey well, they are just going to spiral into sin and destruction, aren’t they?
In a recent discussion this idea was underlined to me. One person asked, in effect, “What about ____? Is that sin?” Another came back with a question about it. “How did it harm your neighbor? Did it hurt a person? Did it encourage a person to trust himself rather than God? Did it suggest that God’s character isn’t what the Bible says it is?” That was a very good question. It needs to be asked about all our attitudes and actions. It cuts to the heart of valuing God’s law. We value God’s law not so as to earn God’s favor. We value it so as to protect others (and ourselves) from harm.
At the root of it all is trust in God. We believe God and he counts it as righteousness. He shows that all God’s word points to Christ and that it is all fulfilled in Christ. He is the beginning and end of all life and salvation.
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