Monday, April 29, 2013

April 29 - Romans 4

Today's reading in our daily plan is Romans 4. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Today's chapter focuses on a guy named Abraham. We've studied his life on the weekends through chapters 12-21 of Genesis. Abraham was a man who lived by faith in God and God's promises.
  • In this chapter Paul is dealing with two major issues. First, is a person made right with God by works, or by faith? He demonstrates through the examples of Abraham and David that the idea that people cannot be made right with God by their good works but only through their faith was not a new idea, but had been taught for several generations.
  • The second issue is whether God was only for the Jews ("the circumcised"), or for everyone ("the uncircumcised"). Back then circumcision was something only Jewish people did. They had their sons circumcised as a sign of their faith in God. The Jews believed that God was exclusively for them, but Paul is explaining that God is for everyone. To establish this, he points out that Abraham put his faith in and started his relationship with God before he was circumcised.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Abraham was made right with God not because he was a good person or did good things or didn't sin too much, but as a gift he received by putting his faith in God. The same offer is made to everyone. You are not so good you don't need God, and not so bad you can't be accepted by God. The issue isn't our goodness or badness, it's whether we will put our faith in God and say yes to the offer Jesus made to us.
  • Once we put our faith in God, we need to live by faith everyday.
  • God is for everyone, not just the people who already have him or are trying to live for him.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Have you said yes to God and his offer of relationship with him through putting your faith in Jesus and what he did for you on the cross? If not, why not?
  • Abraham had faith that God would deliver on the promise to lead him to a habitable land, give him a child, and make his descendants into a nation. It wasn't always easy for him, but he lived by faith. Where are you finding it difficult to live by faith? Where is it difficult for you to trust God that he'll deliver on his promises?
  • What steps could you take to increase your faith? Maybe: To remember what God has done for you in the past? To read stories in the Bible of God's faithfulness? To pray about it? To ask a friend for support? Take those steps!