Reflections: Friday of the First Week after the Epiphany

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 36:13-28; Romans 4:1-25

No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,  fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.  That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”  (Romans 4:20-22)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Abraham was a man of faith.  God gave Abraham a promise, and Abraham believed God.  God counted that faith as righteousness.  But sometimes, reading the New Testament (like Romans) about people who lived in the days of the Old Testament (like Abraham in Genesis) makes us think, “There was a lot of time between Abraham and Paul.  How does Paul know that Abraham didn’t waver?”  After all, today we face all manner of challenges to our faith.  The world condemns us as outdated, the devil tells us that we misunderstand God, and our own sin-fallen flesh and mind says that we’re irrational.  That makes us sound very different from Abraham who didn’t waver concerning the promise of God.  Is Abraham our Father?  Do we have the same faith that Abraham did?

Stop!  Thinking like that takes your eyes off Jesus.  Abraham isn’t saved because he was so good at believing.  Abraham is saved because Jesus died and rose for him.  When you worry that your faith is weak or that you might waver or that you might not be able to withstand the devil who prowls around you like a roaring lion, your concerns are all about yourself – are you strong enough, good enough, faithful enough?  You’re not.  If you hope to be righteous because you are good enough, you have no chance.  You aren’t saved by the quality of your faith, but by Jesus whom your faith rests in.  The Holy Spirit calls you to believe the promises of Jesus.  Your faith might waver.  You might doubt.  Certainly, you will not be able to commit to perfect faith.  Your Lord, the Holy One, makes you holy.

Abraham isn’t saved because He was so good at believing.  Abraham is saved because God took on flesh to die and rise for him.  You aren’t saved because your faith is so good, or because you have done such a good job of being faithful, or anything like that.  You are saved because Jesus died and rose for you and because the Holy Spirit has called you by the Gospel, enlightened you with the light of Christ, gathered you with the Church, and sanctified you in God’s holiness.  Your faith isn’t about you, but in Jesus who is the resurrection and the life for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

The God of Abr’ham praise, Whose all-sufficient grace  Shall guide me all my pilgrim day,  In all my ways. He deigns to call me friend; He calls Himself my God. And He shall save me to the end  Through Jesus’ blood. (Lutheran Service Book 798, stanza 3)

-Pastor Peter W. Ill is Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Millstadt, Illinois.


Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.