Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“17 As it is written: ‘I have made you a father of many nations.’ He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.”
This is an incredibly humbling verse and I don’t want us to miss it. Take a minute and think of Abraham, his life, his failings, his trials, and his faithfulness year after year. You’ll find Abraham like us in many ways; he had his strengths and his weaknesses. Paul wanted us to understand this because it’s important that we do. Why? Because we need to understand that Abraham was called “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was nothing. Abraham is the father of all who believe—that includes you and me.
Abraham simply believed God; he took Him at His word. The promise (or covenant) God gave Abraham stated that Abraham would be the father of many nations (Genesis 17:2-5) and that the entire world would be blessed through him (Genesis 12:2-3). This promise was as good as dead from a human perspective. How could this happen? They were both old, they were unable to have children when they were young, so how would it even be possible now that they are old? And what did they have? There was no land that he owned, what property he did have probably wasn’t much. This idea of being a father of many nations and having descendants that number like the stars of heaven must have seemed impossible from a human perspective. But Abraham believed in God, the One who created everything from nothing and gave life to the dead; he believed God could bring the dead to life!
It’s an incredible story, but it gets even better! The good news for us today is that ultimately this promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus was from Abraham’s line, and truly the whole world was blessed through him.
It can be easy to read these biblical stories and become detached from them. We can see them as something far removed from us. We believe them, but that kind of stuff only happens to them, not me. Never forget that they were people just like you and me; they had their own set of struggles and weaknesses. They were no different than we are.
Think about it…David allowed lust to wreak havoc in his life, Gideon was fearful and wanted to test God, and Samson was prideful and arrogant. My point is this: They all fell short in some way of God’s righteousness.
That’s why the gospel proclamation is such good news! We don’t have to earn God’s favor; we simply have to believe in it “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).” You see, “Jesus is Lord” is our confession of faith.
Through this simple act of faith, God’s grace—His unmerited favor—is ushered into our lives, never to be taken away. Now when the Father looks at us, He sees the righteousness of Christ. It seems unbelievable, but it’s not. It’s as true as the air we breathe! For “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand (John 10:28).” This is one of the clearest statements in the Bible that those who believe in Jesus for salvation will never be lost. Oh yes, we’ll stumble, sin, and stumble, but the good news is that Jesus loses none of His flock.
Take a moment and think of your own life now. In what ways have you been liberated and set free because of the gospel? What does it mean to you personally to know that you have been given the gift of salvation freely–you haven’t earned it–and will one day be in the presence of God for eternity?
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible.