March 5, 2009

MARCH 5 – FAITH IS THE KEY

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By Heather Zimmerman, a junior American Sign Language major from Barrigada, Guam
SCRIPTURE: Romans 4:13-25 (NRSV) Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL: What is the promise that the author of today’s Scripture speaks about? It is righteousness. But what is righteousness? Webster’s Dictionary defines righteousness as being just, honorable, free from guilt/wrong. How can we obtain righteousness? Can we as mere humans, whose hearts are wicked, become righteous?

The Chinese pronounce righteousness as “Yi.” This symbol has two characters that together mean righteousness, but separately mean “lamb” and “me.” This is what righteousness is my friends. It is a right relationship with God by Jesus Christ, who is the lamb. We are made righteous in God’s sight by the price Jesus paid on the cross. This is not by any of our own efforts, quite the contrary, for in verse 16 it is made clear that this promise of righteousness is a free gift that is accepted by faith.

Faith is the key. Righteousness is by faith in Christ, not the Law, not academics, not “good living,” not eco-friendly protests, not acceptance by peers and not by works. We can conquer the world, save lives, feed the hungry, clothe the needy and heal the sickā€¦but it would all be a worthless effort and impossible if we did not have faith in God.

Faith is the key, and it is the key to everything. Faith is one of the most powerful tools that God has given us. In 1 Corinthians 13 it says that three things will remain: faith, hope, and love. Faith is what kept Abraham strong and brought glory to God. Abraham’s faith was so strong in God, despite the circumstances that he was in. Abraham was a weak old man, his wife was barren, he had no children and God promised him that he would be the father of many nations. He did not even see this promise completely fulfilled, however his faith did not waver, it grew stronger and that brought glory to the heavenly Father. Because of Abraham’s faith God declared him righteous, not because of his works, his good deeds or his wealth, but it was because of his faith.

Faith is the key. Faith that God has made us righteous by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Will you accept this gift today? Will you bring glory to God by stepping out in faith like Abraham?

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PRAYER:
Father God, thank you for your Son’s sacrifice. Thank you for declaring us righteous through faith. I pray that you will help me to have faith in you today, and the rest of my days. I pray that I will have faith that you will fulfill all your promises you have spoken over me. In Jesus name. Amen.

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SCRIPTURE: Romans 4:13-25 (NRSV)

For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’) — in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations’, according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’ He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

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Comments (13)

  1. Heather, Thank you for your thoughtful meditation this morning. Your sincereity shone through. May you and all of us continue to nurture that faith in God even as we don’t fully understand God’s ways. Blessings.

    Ora Troyer, community resident March 5, 2009 |
  2. It is often interesting to read the scriptures in different translations. Today, I read the scripture from The Message by Eugene H Peterson…. and yes, I know it’s not exactly a translation, but rather a modern day interpretation. Still, it gave a different insight. For instance, verse 16 ends by saying, “He [Abraham] was our faith father.” Today I will ponder and try to name my faith fathers and give thanks for those who showed me their faith.

    Nancy Brookhart March 5, 2009 |
  3. hummm this sounds alittle like Word Faith Movement jargon… that troubles me.

    Ann March 5, 2009 |
  4. How do we hold together the idea that faith is the “key” with Paul’s assertion that “if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”(1 Cor. 13:2) The scripture quoted in the reflection…”And now faith, hope, and love abide these three” goes on to say…”and the greatest of these is love.”(1 Cor. 13:13). Jesus claims that the greatest commandments are to love God and to love others. (Mt. 37-39) No disputing the importance and power of faith, but how do you understand it as “key”? Key to what? What does it look like when we hold faith over love as key? Thanks for your stimulating thoughts.

    Kay Gaier March 5, 2009 |
  5. I had to do a google search to figure out what the “Word Faith Movement” was. My previous comment has nothing to do with that.

    Nancy Brookhart March 5, 2009 |
  6. with all my heart I dislike the word righteous- even when we we pick out way through scripture to find a good definition- we are just trying to explaina way an prideful stance befoe God which has never come to good.

    pAT March 5, 2009 |
  7. I really appreciated your devotions today. The simpleness of Jesus’ story and the way that you presented it in easy-to-understand way for anyone reading it. Thank you sharing the most important story of the Bible.

    Phyllis Kehr March 5, 2009 |
  8. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this devotion. I especially enjoyed reading about the Chinese characters for righteousness. It points us to who gives the ability to have faith in the first place.

    Linda Rouch March 6, 2009 |
  9. Thank you for the lovely reflection. Just read it when I needed it most. I need to be reminded that popularity at work etc protest marches etc are useless without faith.

    Mona

    mona munyikwa March 6, 2009 |
  10. You are a good communicator. Saying well that we will never attain righteousness on our own but only with the lamb.

    If you offered free gifts with donations you would be more likely word of faith…did you do that? If so, you should get a programme on tv but I don’t think that is where you are at at all.

    Insightful.

    allison March 6, 2009 |
  11. It is such a joy to hear such words of life from a young woman who definitely has a revelation from the heart of God that is so life-changing and life-giving! Just as Martin Luther caught this glimpse of Righteousness, I am sure the liberating fire of God will be kindled in many hearts as this truth is shared to more and more.

    Rob March 6, 2009 |
  12. Heather! That was very great! :) Thanks for sending me the link. I enjoyed reading it. You have inspired me! I love you!

    Rosie March 9, 2009 |
  13. This is a truth that requires great care in our response. Too often it’s led to passivity & to the attitude “it’s all done for me, now I can do what I want”. Jesus emphasized our response to grace & salvation: “if you love me, keep my commands.” I doubt these promises will stick to us if we don’t respond with truthfullness, honesty, compassion, etc. The Sermon on the Mount wasn’t just gum-beating on Jesus’ part.

    Mary-Alice Shemo March 17, 2009 |