The First 15

Tuesday July 6, 2021

by First Methodist Mansfield

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father – help me start today with a clear heart and a clear mind ready to receive your word in a brand new way today. Amen.

Scripture Reading

Romans 4:1-12

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 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. And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised


The Apostle Paul steps ever more deeply into this teaching on the gift of grace Jesus Christ has revealed. Now Paul begins explaining the difference between “trusting in God’s grace” and “working for God’s grace.”
Paul uses Abraham as an example of one who “believed in God, (and) it was credited to him as
righteousness.” (v. 3)
Eugene Peterson translates Paul’s words this way:
“…the story we’re given is a God-story, not an Abraham-story. What we read in Scripture is, “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.” – Romans 4:2,3 MSG
Trusting, believing, and having faith in God’s grace for us brings us closer to God. We rely on God to be God. Working to receive grace moves us further away from God. We rely on ourselves and we lose sight of God.

● Do you feel yourself, at times, “working at” being worthy of the gift of God’s grace?
● How has Paul’s teaching today influenced you to more fully trust, believe, and have faith that God has already declared you worthy of grace?

Closing Prayer

Lord, these are your words. This is our story. Help me live in a way that honors you today and everyday. Amen.

The First 15

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