The teaching time for this Sunday will focus on the latter half of Romans 4 (vv. 17-25).
Without a doubt, the most asked question thus far in this “Gift” series has been about the topic Paul raises within this passage – FAITH.
Parents are asking about it.
Christians are asking about it.
People who are not Christians are asking about it.
Long time church attenders are asking about it.
I think I know why it has resonated with us:
We all know that there is “faith” and then there is “faith.”
There is the kind of faith that holds to what it can see and believes in specific facts.
Then there is the kind of faith that is grounded in promises made that, on the surface, seem impossible to keep.
It is this second kind of faith that Paul is referring to and the kind that truly saves us. The kind of faith that God calls us to is the kind that trusts him to do the impossible.
We have already covered the fact that it is a sheer impossibility for you or me to approach God based upon our own righteousness. If that’s not bad enough, we are also told that, due to our collective rejection, God’s wrath has come and each of us has a huge bull’s-eye on our back due to our own personal rebellion.
Well that’s good news! (insert sarcasm)
Why does Paul want us to know that? Is it that he wants us to view God as one who just loses it when he doesn’t get his way? Are we supposed to worship a God who goes ballistic when he sees a shred of rebellion?
A thousand times “NO”!
He is warning us of the wrath of God for two reasons: First because it’s true and real and evident everywhere we look. Second, because he wants to destroy every little spark of faith in ourselves and kindle a faith in God.
He wants us to know that, without the intervention of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection, our situation is not just hopeless – it’s impossible.
But in the midst of our temporary hopelessness, God comes bearing a gift.
– a gift that is received by trusting that he has given it…
– a gift that, when received, does the impossible. It makes us righteous in God’s sight.
You see the Gospel is not about life and death – it’s about life out of death.
It’s about God our enemy becoming God our friend and father.
It’s about God taking what is dead and breathing life.
It’s about God diverting his wrath and bringing mercy.
Boiling it all down, the kind of faith that brings the righteousness of God involves two confessions:
“I can’t, and therefore, won’t.”
“God can, and therefore, will.”
But Paul doesn’t want to get too theological on us. He doesn’t want us to merely think about faith. He wants us to live it – to experience it – to embrace it. After all, what truly needs to be done in your life and mine is impossible…
…not for God.
See you Sunday!