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What’s New?

Lent 2023

Read Romans 4:1–12

1What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 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, 12 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.

Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. Romans 4:3

God blessed Abraham with his promises and with the gift of faith. By faith, Abraham trusted God and was blessed. In this, we see wonderful blessings for ourselves, too. Paul’s quotation from Genesis 15:6 was good news in early Christian times and is a central truth for us. Abraham is the father of all who believe.

Paul uses another Old Testament verse to show even more good news. According to the psalmist, we are made right with God through the forgiveness of our sins. “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity.”

By grace, the Lord will not count our sin against us and we—like Abraham—are counted as righteous before God, “…the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, for all who believe” (Romans 3:22). God puts us in his “credit” by his gracious gift. So we will follow the example of Abraham and rely only on faith.

Prayer: Loving God, your mercy is new every day. Renew us through Jesus in your forgiveness for lives of peace and service. Amen.

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