Friday, November 30, 2012
Welcome to Day 334 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Romans 1:20, “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…
…so that people are without excuse.”
Verses 18-32 are some of the clearest and strongest verses about sin in all the Bible. Especially the New Testament.
Romans 2:29, “Circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.”
Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
30 “Since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.”
Romans 4:9, “We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.”
Paul, in great detail compares Jews and Gentiles, the Law and faith… Uses Abraham is the model for justification by faith, not works (circumcision.)
Paul also penned the verse “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no man can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Of course Paul is addressing Jews vs. Gentiles, circumcision and the Law vs faith.
As Gentiles (most of us reading this are…) we do not struggle with “circumcision” and it’s effect on our faith. For Jews however, this would be a huge struggle. Especially the early believers in Christ who were raised in the strictest Jewish traditions.
In Romans, Paul is making his case, not so much against circumcision, but for faith. That righteousness has little to do with circumcision… That if an uncircumcised Gentile keeps the law, they are more of a Jew than a Jew who is circumcised and ignores the Law.
But we have our own struggles today… The same struggle of trying to keep the Law. Not necessarily Jewish Law as they did… but even the Ten Commandments. It’s not possible to keep them. The problem is (as Paul will get to eventually) if you break one law, you have broken them all. One is a law-breaker and no longer worthy of salvation. That “there is none righteous, no not one.”
That righteousness is imparted by faith in what Christ has done. He paid the price for us. He took our place. He is “the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.”
Yet the Jews largely rejected Jesus as the Messiah… so then the Gospel was taken to the Gentiles. Throughout the Epistles, the topic of whether or not the Gentiles needed to be circumcised was addressed. Generally speaking, it was agreed and taught that they did NOT need to be circumcised. On occasion, however, it was seen as advantageous. (Like Timothy, whose father was Greek, but his mother was a Jew. He was not circumcised until Paul was about to take him on a missionary trip and Paul thought it important enough that he circumcised him.
All that aside… my point is that we all still struggle at some level with keeping the Law or attempting to earn our righteousness, even our salvation.
It may be more subconscious than conscious… Yet if you ask the average person on the street, “How do you get to heaven?” More often than not they will say, “Be a good person” or “Keep the Ten Commandments.”
It is only through faith in Christ.
I can’t earn it.
Having said that, James addressed faith without works as being “dead.” Our works are a bi-product of our faith. They may prove our faith…
…but they don’t earn our salvation.
Thank you Lord for the work you did on the cross… of purchasing my salvation, of paying the price for my sins.