ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 196



184
IMMERSE

MESSIAH
4:1-17
Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation.
What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good
deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something
to boast about. But that was not God’s way. For the Scriptures tell us,
“Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of
his faith.”
When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have
earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work,
but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. David also spoke of
this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous
without working for it:
“Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sins are put out of sight.
Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”
Now, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it also for uncircumcised
Gentiles? Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith. But how did this happen? Was he
counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was
circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised!
Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God
had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who
have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous
because of their faith. And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those
who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith
Abraham had before he was circumcised.
Clearly, 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. For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey
it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)
So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are
all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of
Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all
who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have
made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham
believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new
things out of nothing.





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