Text: Romans 4:9-15
Theme: Inward faith before outward ritual–that is what God accepts.
Key verses: “…we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith. But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before…? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised! Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous–even before he was circumcised…Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised. Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith” (v. 9b-13).
What God said to me: Good morning, Dwayne. You are my dearly loved child, and I am glad you made time to meet with me this morning and meditate on my Word. It does your heart good to listen to what I have to say to you through my servant Paul today. Now granted, this stuff may seem elementary. This is foundational doctrine Paul is laying out for the Romans and especially the Jews. This chapter is particularly pointed toward anyone who trusts in their rituals and outward religious works to save them. No need to rehash what Paul so clearly says here. Bottom line is that man looks on the outward appearance but I look on the heart. It’s an age-old tendency of humans to evaluate the worth of something based on what they can see and do for themselves. But you can’t save yourself–no one can. Only trusting in my Son and his shed blood on the cross will get you counted in my book. Only he is worthy of heaven, and when he covers you, then you are worthy and accepted too. I know you know that, but have you thought of it lately? Have you swirled that awesome truth around in your busy head and let that truth warm your soul? Stop today and thank me. I gave you the faith to believe in my Son. Every good and perfect gift comes from me, your Father. Don’t lose sight of that, Dwayne. I count you righteous, not because of the many years of service you’ve given to ministry and the Church. You’ve been saved by my grace through your faith. I count you as accepted in the Beloved because you are in the Beloved. You are in Christ and Christ is in me. Let that profundity rock your world this morning and bring you to your knees in humble gratitude and praise.
What I said to God: Wow, Lord. I so appreciate you speaking to my heart and reminding me how thankful I should be. I’m accepted by You! That’s awesome! I believe in Your Son; my entire life is founded on faith and hope and love. How blessed and undeserving a man I am! Please help me share your love with my neighbors and my online friends today. And please watch over and protect my family and friends and encourage them today in whatever they are doing.