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.
When I read this passage, my eyes are drawn to the quote from the Old Testament, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Abraham believed God.
Just what does it take today to “believe God”?
Paul is speaking of “justification by faith not by works” to the Romans of his day. Belief in God is much more than just a belief. It is confirmation that we cannot begin to work hard enough or be righteous enough. No matter how we try, or how deeply we forgive or how much we think we sacrifice. Though we don't understand, we believe anyway.
So does faith = righteousness? Righteousness = faith?
The definition of “credit” is; the ability of a customer to obtain goods or services before payment, based on the trust that payment will be made in the future. In the action form as quoted above in this verse, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” So the action of being “credited” to Abraham does not mean that faith equals righteousness but in fact righteousness was awarded him by God for his faith. Even Abraham's faith produced nothing on its own, but because it is God's grace to give, God, indeed, is the one with the balance sheet.
As a verb, the definition of “credited” is “add (an amount) to an account.” Abraham's gift of righteousness was added to his balance sheet, by God, for his faith. God knows our ability to trust, the level of true belief we have.
Shared from the 2017 Wellsville (Kansas) UMC Lenten devotional
Thought for the Day
May I not hide your light under a basket but let my faith, given by you, shine for all to see.
Prayer for Reflection
Heavenly Creator, I pray that you will open my eyes and heart, so I can have the faith of Abraham, to believe and live my life for you. AMEN
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