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Thursday, October 4, 2018

God Never Plays Favorites

In review of Romans 4:16 it says, ”[The promise] is not only for those who live under the law of Moses but for anyone who lives with faith like that of Abraham” (NCV).

Today’s verse comes from Romans 4 where I see the faith of Abraham and how God doesn’t play favorites just because my affiliations or any thing that I can do or believe. Paul explains that Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith. When I work my wages are not a gift, but something I earned. But I can be counted as righteous, not because of my work (something I’ve earned), but because of my faith in God who forgives sinners.

God's promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God's law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. If God's promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And all are certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham.

Paul indicates that it is impossible to be saved simply by obeying it, but rather by faith in God. But do I have enough faith? It is Jesus Christ who saves me, not my feelings or actions, and he is strong enough to save me no matter how weak my faith is. Jesus offers me salvation as a gift because he loves me, not because I have earned it through my powerful faith. What then, is the role of faith. Faith is believing and trusting in Jesus Christ, and reaching out to accept his wonderful gift of salvation.

Paul explains that Abraham had pleased God through faith alone before he had ever heard about the rituals that would become so important to the Jewish people. I too, am saved by faith plus nothing. It is not by loving God and doing good that I am saved; neither is it by faith plus love or by faith plus good deeds. I am saved only through faith in Christ, trusting him to forgive all my sins.

So God doesn’t play favorites, regardless of background, status, or sin. It doesn’t matter whether I’m a religious person or a formerly religious person or if I have any religious background at all.

Romans 4:16 says, “[The promise] is not only for those who live under the law of Moses but for anyone who lives with faith like that of Abraham” (NCV). Who are these people who live under the Law of Moses? The Jews. The Jewish people were given the ways of God before anyone else.

Have you ever thought about why the Jews were called God’s chosen people? Did God love them more than he loves the rest of us? No. They were chosen for a purpose: to spread the message to everybody else that there is one true God. They were kind of like the missionaries to the rest of us.

Now God has taken that task and given it to the church, which includes everybody who puts their faith in Christ, regardless of their background. God says his salvation is available to anybody who opens up his or her heart in faith: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13 NIV). There are no quotas in heaven. It doesn’t say only really good people will be saved if they call on the name of the Lord or really religious people or really smart people. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

The sad thing is that even though many people know that God offers his gift of grace, they still try to work their way into heaven. They think that something in their lives makes them good enough so they don’t need to receive God’s gift of salvation through Christ.

Even though myself and others may have done some really nifty things in life, these things aren’t going to get us into heaven, forget it. The only way any of us gets in is by receiving God’s gift of grace, which is available to every person.

The Bible says we can only get to heaven by trusting in God through his Son, Jesus Christ. And we don’t have to earn God’s love or work our way into heaven. The Bible says, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).

Bottom Line:
Everything depends on having faith in God, and God’s promise is assured by his great kindness.

What this means to me:
Everything depends on my faith in God, and his blessings are given to me by my faith, it's his free gift that's available to all.

In summary, nothing I can do on my own or anything in my background or affiliation will earn my salvation. It is my faith in God and my trust in Jesus Christ who saves me. It is a gift because he loves me.

Father I thank you for your loving kindness to me and your gift of salvation through Jesus which has paid the penalty for all of my past and future sins. I pray this morning for continued wisdom and guidance in handling my responsibilities. Help me to respond to others in a kind and loving manner. This I pray in your Son Jesus Christ’s name, amen!