Sunday: Romans 4:17-22
vs17-22: In verses 17-21 Paul gives us a remarkable insight into the internal process that took place in Abraham’s heart as he chose to believe God’s promise. He describes the moment Abraham became righteous by faith. He pictures him standing outside his tent under a starry night sky with the unseen but very present God in front of him. As we know from reading Genesis 15:1-6, on that evening God told him to look up and try to count the stars. Then He said that someday Abraham would have so many descendants that to count them would be as difficult as trying to number the millions of stars overhead. In time he would become the father of a vast, innumerable host.
Monday: Romans 4:17-22
vs17-22 (continued): The statement placed Abraham in an awkward position. Both he and his wife were long past their years of fertility, so for this promise to be realized a nature-defying miracle would have to be performed on both him and Sarah. Yet he decided to believe (diakrino, v20). He understood God to be the divine creator of the universe, and as such has the power to bring the dead back to life and call into existence things which do not yet exist. If He has the power to do that, then Abraham determined He must certainly have the power to rejuvenate their bodies and give them a child.
Tuesday: Romans 4:17-22
vs17-22 (continued): So though he was long past any natural hope of having a child with Sarah, he chose to hope again based not on the laws of nature but on the power of God and also His will, which He expressed when He said, “So shall your descendants be” (v18). Yet the miracle he expected did not take place right away. It would delay for another 14 years (Ge 16:16; 17:1; 21:5), and during that time, instead of growing weaker, his faith actually grew stronger. And it was this decision to believe what God told him that allowed God to consider him righteous. His faith went on to show itself to be genuine over the passing of time, but at the moment he believed, Moses wrote, “It was reckoned to him as righteousness” (Ge 15:6).
Wednesday: Romans 4:23-25
vs23-24: Paul tells us that God had Moses write these words not only so that we would understand how Abraham himself became righteous, but so that he would serve as a prophetic model for us who now thousands of years later become righteous by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. The substance of our faith today is quite similar to what Abraham had to believe. He too had to believe in a form of resurrection of the dead, only in his case it was that God could return his and Sarah’s aged bodies back to reproductive capacity. Our faith today is also focused on a resurrection, only in our case we believe God resurrected the crucified Messiah, Jesus. Like Abraham we too believe God’s promise and don’t doubt He is capable of resurrecting the dead. vs24-25: Just as Abraham’s faith was “reckoned to him as righteousness” our faith that Jesus died to atone for our transgressions and was raised from the dead will be reckoned to us as righteousness as well.
Thursday: Romans 5:1
v1: Just as Abraham’s faith brought him righteousness and great blessing, those who believe in Jesus Christ also receive righteousness and great blessings. Paul now lists some of the benefits we receive and makes it clear that these belong to those whom God has declared to be righteous because of their faith. He says believers in “our Lord Jesus Christ” enter into a state of peace with God. His point of course, is that God is at peace with us, not that we are at peace with Him, though ending our rebellion is an essential part of our repentance. Now, we who were rebels and walked away from Him need no longer fear the judgment we will face on the judgment day; nor are we any longer kept at a distance from Him because of our sins; nor do we need to be ashamed to come to Him in prayer and worship; nor is He angry at us for our failings. Instead He loves and blesses us and treats us as a parent with a child, which does include parental discipline (Heb 12:5-11).
Friday: Romans 5:2, 3
v2: Because we are spiritually joined to Jesus we now have perpetual access to God’s grace. We may always turn to Him for forgiveness and help. And we can confidentially declare that in the future we will dwell in heaven in the glory of God. v3: Yet we still live on a rebellious planet and during a season of time in which Satan is active, so along with these blessings we can also expect to experience tribulation. Yet God is able to make everything that happens work for good in our lives (Ro 8:28). Even hardship and persecution will refine our character helping us to become more and more like Jesus. Knowing this changes our attitude toward such troubles.
Saturday: Romans 5:3, 4
v3 (continued): First of all, we consider it a great honor to suffer for Jesus, but we also observe that trials produce profound changes in us for the better. As unpleasant as some may be they force us to walk more deeply in faith and reveal our need to practice spiritual disciplines. They turn us into stronger Christians. v4: So trials end up not destroying us but proving that our faith in God is genuine. It pleases Him to see our faith endure such a test and He rewards us accordingly (Heb 11:1, 2,6), but the test also proves something to us as well. We discover that we really meant it when we surrendered to Jesus and took up our cross to follow Him, and that there is within us a true faith that can’t be shaken.