SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Today's chapter focuses on a man named Abraham. Paul was attempting to trace the readers' Jewish heritage way back before Moses and the Old Testament law.
- Paul demonstrates through the example of Abraham and David that a person is made right with God by faith, not works. And he is able to show through Old Testament scripture (verses 7-8) that the concept of faith over works was not a new idea, but one that had been around for generations.
- As we saw in the previous chapter, it was a Jewish custom for sons to be circumcised 7 days after birth, as a symbol of belief in God. The Jews believed this put them in an exclusive club. However, Paul bursts their bubble by pointing out that Abraham was considered right with God because of his faith, and before his circumcision. This means there is no members-only club; God is for everyone
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 because of his faith. This 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, but whether we will accept the gift of Jesus given to us and put our faith in God.
- Once we put our faith in God, we need to live by faith every day.
- 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 the free gift of Jesus Christ? If not, what's holding you back?
- 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, and he didn't even get to see all of this happen in his lifetime... yet he still 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 you could remember what God has done for you in the past? Or read stories in the Bible of God's faithfulness? Or pray about it? And ask a friend for support? Take those steps!