From Pastor Perry

Romans 4:1–12 (ESV)

Abraham Justified by Faith

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather 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 counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, 

and whose sins are covered; 

blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” 

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’s circumcision did not save him; it was a response to his salvation. We are constantly tempted to give our works a role in salvation, but this detracts from God’s work. Christ saves us apart from our works, so anything we do responds to what He has already done for us.

 

I pray: Gracious God, grant us hearts that trust like Abraham, who trusted in You alone. Thank You for declaring us righteous. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1916.

Romans 3:21–31 (ESV)

The Righteousness of God Through Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

 

Vv 23–24 demonstrate human equality—all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. We are alike in our corruption and fallenness. But all humanity has also been redeemed by Christ. Sinners may draw distinctions between people, but God does not. He would save us all through Christ.

 

I pray: Lord Jesus Christ, Redeemer of the world, thank You for Your salvation. Empower me to share Your gift with others. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1915.

Romans 3:9–20 (ESV)

No One Is Righteous

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: 

“None is righteous, no, not one; 

11 no one understands; 

no one seeks for God. 

12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; 

no one does good, 

not even one.” 

13 “Their throat is an open grave; 

they use their tongues to deceive.” 

“The venom of asps is under their lips.” 

14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 

15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 

16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 

17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 

18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

 

While we are tempted to think that obedience to the Law can save, Paul shows the Law’s diagnosis: we are sinners incapable of saving ourselves (v 20). Only when we see this are we prepared for the Good News of what Christ has done for us.

 

I pray: Lord, I know that I am a sinner. Forgive me. Help me see Jesus and trust in Him alone. Amen

 

 

 

 

Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1914.

Romans 3:1–8 (ESV)

God’s Righteousness Upheld

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, 

“That you may be justified in your words, 

and prevail when you are judged.” 

But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

 

Human sinfulness shows the radical difference between God’s holiness and humanity’s unrighteousness. God made covenants with His people, but we have broken our promises. How blessed we are that our unfaithfulness cannot nullify His faithfulness. He redeems us because He is gracious.

 

I pray: Loving Father, thank You for Your grace and faithfulness. Empower me by Your Spirit to be faithful to You. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1914.

Romans 2:12–29 (ESV)

God’s Judgment and the Law

12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. 

17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” 

25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

 

Paul warns against being praised by people but not by God (v 29). Pride desires recognition and praise from the world, but this may come in ways that are inconsistent with God’s will. Our priorities are misplaced when we seek the world’s acclaim. We are blessed when we place God first, knowing He loves and forgives us. He approves of us because of Jesus. That’s all the praise we will ever need.

 

I pray: Heavenly Father, in faith I do not seek the praise of the world, but I rejoice in Your gifts. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1913.

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