Today's Lectionary Text
What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness. So also David speaks of the blessedness of those to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven,
Is this blessedness, then, pronounced only on the circumcised, or also on the uncircumcised? We say, “Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.” How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 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 ancestor of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, and likewise the ancestor of the circumcised who are not only circumcised but who also follow the example of the faith that our ancestor Abraham had before he was circumcised.
I admit to being a “cradle Methodist.” My grandmother was Methodist, my mother raised me in the Methodist church and I’m raising my daughter in the Methodist church. Most of what I know about grace comes from my Wesleyan foundations.
God’s grace is at the core of what I believe. I know that I can’t talk my way into God’s love by achievement, I can’t justify why I deserve his love because frankly I don’t.
I’m so thankful for what John Wesley called prevenient grace, an invitation from God to be in relationship with us.
During Lent, our season of repentance and preparation, we can focus on our relationship with God. We have the opportunity to open the doors of our hearts that we have closed by turning away from Him.
God doesn’t want our laundry list of things we have done to earn his love. He wants to be in relationship with us. He knows the sins we have committed and mourns that they have taken us farther from Him.
God’s grace is a gift to those who have faith. There is no way we can pay for it; we have done nothing to earn it. We don’t receive it because we deserve it but it is freely given by a God who loves us so very much.
As we travel through these days of Lent, I hope that you and I can use this time to draw nearer to God, our God who so freely gives his grace to sinners like us. We don’t deserve it but all he asks in return is that we believe in Him.
Communications Administrative Assistant
Prayer for Reflection
Heavenly father, our good shepherd, you wander into our wilderness to bring us back to you. Thank you for your gift of grace, so freely given asking only that we have faith in you.
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