Dig into Romans With Me (Week 11: Romans 4:1-12)

1-3 So how do we fit what we know of Abraham, our first father in the faith, into this new way of looking at things? If Abraham, by what he did for God, got God to approve him, he could certainly have taken credit for it. But the story we’re given is a God-story, not an Abraham-story. What we read in Scripture is, “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.”
4-5 If you’re a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don’t call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift.
6-9 David confirms this way of looking at it, saying that the one who trusts God to do the putting-everything-right without insisting on having a say in it is one fortunate man:
Fortunate those whose crimes are carted off,
    whose sins are wiped clean from the slate.
Fortunate the person against
    whom the Lord does not keep score.
Do you think for a minute that this blessing is only pronounced over those of us who keep our religious ways and are circumcised? Or do you think it possible that the blessing could be given to those who never even heard of our ways, who were never brought up in the disciplines of God? We all agree, don’t we, that it was by embracing what God did for him that Abraham was declared fit before God?
10-11 Now think: Was that declaration made before or after he was marked by the covenant rite of circumcision? That’s right, before he was marked. That means that he underwent circumcision as evidence and confirmation of what God had done long before to bring him into this acceptable standing with himself, an act of God he had embraced with his whole life.
12 And it means further that Abraham is father of all people who embrace what God does for them while they are still on the “outs” with God, as yet unidentified as God’s, in an “uncircumcised” condition. 

Romans 4:1-12, MSG

If we read these 12 verses and get stuck thinking we can never be as good as Abraham and King David, we’d better reread these verses with God as the focal point. Abraham and David had nothing to boast about in their own power. It was their faith that placed them in this story about our Almighty God.

  • ABRAHAM. Who is this hero? How can we ever hope to achieve the stature that he did?
  • DAVID. He is used as a secondary example of…what?
  • QUALIFICATIONS FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. It’s a simple formula.

What nudge did the Holy Spirit give to you in these verses? He asked me to start with this question: “How do you react when you do something wrong?”

I charted the information using the following categories, but emphasized “GOD” every time his name came up. After all, it’s His story. See what you come up with.

What picture can you draw or use to explain the theme of these verses?

See you tomorrow. I’d love to see what you come up with: email to KSEvenhousewwv@gmail.com.

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