Today’s Reading: Jer 25:1–26:24, Rom 4:1–24, Prov 19:1–29
Today’s Theme: Justified by Faith
Today we read about the way we are justified, which is not through a ceremony, moral code or religious rite. We learn that we are justified by Faith in God and what God has done and will do, just like Abraham.
We must have faith in the person and work of God, as revealed in the gospel, to access the inheritance God has offered by His grace.
So, our salvation is based on God’s grace, our faith in that grace and the God who provides it.
“For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, to this day, the word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened.(Jeremiah 25:3, ESV)
We should pray that our leaders are persistent in speaking the word of God to His people, Jeremiah at this point, had been the prophet to Judah for 23 years.
We must pray for ourselves as well that we don’t find ourselves in the helpless state that the people found themselves in, where after 23 years of the prophet faithfully bringing the word of God, they still refused to listen.
God, Lord of time
This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.(Jeremiah 25:11, ESV)
God was in control the whole time, so He could be very specific about the years. God, not man, the devil or Dr Who, is the Lord of time.
When we get frustrated about the timing of things in our lives, or even a train breaking down or traffic making us late, we must in those times remind ourselves that God is sovereign over time and our days, we are not, so we must continue to trust Him.
Judge of the whole earth
For behold, I begin to work disaster at the city that is called by my name, and shall you go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth, declares the Lord of hosts.’(Jeremiah 25:29, ESV)
If judgement begins at God’s house… Where will the ungodly be. God is the judge of the whole earth, this is why we need to put faith in God and His grace.
Salvation is not our due
Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.(Romans 4:4, ESV)
We cannot work for or work up salvation, otherwise salvation is our due payment for work rendered. This is not God’s way.
Paul has spent time showing us that all men are consigned under sin and that the only solution is God’s own righteousness, shown and fulfilled in Christ.
Now Paul turns to the personal application of the gospel of God for every believer, he outlines the mechanism by which man is justified and makes the case that it is by faith alone.
So salvation is by faith in God’s grace, not by work to our merit.
Believe in God
And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,(Romans 4:5, ESV)
One of the simple tenants of Christianity, we must not just have faith as a mystical quality and outlook but put actual faith in God, the one who justifies the ungodly.
Believing in God and in what God does, is counted as righteousness for the one who believes.
The father of all believers
He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,(Romans 4:11, ESV)
This shows that God’s master plan always included all nations (the uncircumcised), this is why He said that all nations would be blessed in Abraham.
The church cannot be disconnected from its Jewish roots because as believers, Abraham is the father and example to us all.
The figure of Abraham as the example of faith apart from the works of the law, should have served to improve unity between the Jewish and Gentile parts of the church.
We don’t do something to be justified and counted as righteous, instead we believe something which leads to works rather than works leading to belief.
Those who walk in the faith
and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.(Romans 4:12, ESV)
The distinction of those who are truly God’s people, has always been those who walk by faith in Him. So even amongst the Circumcised, the true children of Abraham were those who followed the faith of Abraham, which came before the outward expression of faith, which was circumcision.
We too are called to walk in faith like Abraham, as God’s people.
The promise depends on faith
That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,(Romans 4:16, ESV)
The inheritance God promises those in the gospel of God, cannot be attained by the works of the law and has never been God’s model, as Paul has just argued.
The reality is that the promise is dependent on faith so that it can be attained by grace and not through the cold, mechanical working of the law.
It is clear that without faith we cannot be saved. Without faith the gospel is just a message and we are lost.
God. Creator and Regenerator
as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.(Romans 4:17, ESV)
God gives life to the dead, this happens to us when we are saved, the Holy Spirit makes us alive.
God creates out of nothing and is the only being who can do this. This is the God we believe in.
Give glory to God
No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,(Romans 4:20, ESV)
We will grow strong in our faith as we give glory to God. God is the object and end of our faith so naturally we should think, sing, speak and live to His glory. True faith cannot be disconnected from covenant and relationship with God.
God is able
fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.(Romans 4:21, ESV)
We must be fully convinced that God is able. This is our faith at work practically. Today trust that God is able.
Believe in God the Father
but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,(Romans 4:24, ESV)
We are counted as righteous if we believe in God the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Rage against God
When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.(Proverbs 19:3, ESV)
This is why we so often hear, “why did God let this happen…” etc.
Love your soul
Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good.(Proverbs 19:8, ESV)
If you really do love your eternal souls, you will live for God.
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.(Proverbs 19:11, ESV)
This is where we can get glory as men, forgive!
The deep sleep of slothfulness
Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.(Proverbs 19:15, ESV)
Dear Lord, keep us from the deep sleep of slothfulness, we do not want to waste our lives.
Charity work unto God
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.(Proverbs 19:17, ESV)
One of our great motivations for charity work and social action.
Discipline in love
Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.(Proverbs 19:18, ESV)
Discipline must be done in love, with the intention of instruction and building the child up, not to crush them.
God’s purpose stands
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.(Proverbs 19:21, ESV)
Open theism (the idea that the future is not set and God does not know the future, but instead responds to the actions of His creatures), is slain with this one verse.
God’s purposes stand because God is not partially God, He is fully God, the one who knows all, He is everywhere and is all powerful. The Sovereign God.
Live and rest
The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.(Proverbs 19:23, ESV)
We will fear you Lord, because this leads to life and rest.
Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.(Proverbs 19:27, ESV)
This is a verse for all who are not in fellowship and under instruction, accountability and covering.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on Romans 4