March 7, 2023
Today’s Reading: Romans 4:1-8, 13-17
Daily Lectionary: Gen. 21:1-21, Mark 6:35-56
For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. (Romans 4:13)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Yesterday, we looked at how Abraham was blessed by God through a promise that he would father a great nation, that all the faithful would be able to trace their lineage back to him.
It is important to remember how that happened, and who was in charge. As I always like to ask, “Who’s running the verbs here?” Who was doing the blessing and promising? It was God the Father, of course, the Great I Am, who would later promise to Moses that He would guide God’s people back to the ancestral lands promised to Abraham.
All of those things happened through the work of God on behalf of his people. Sure, along the way, He gave Moses the Law, the Ten Commandments, the moral and ceremonial rules for life as God’s people until the Messiah’s coming. But none of those promises came based on Abraham’s behavior or gumption.
That is important to remember in our day, as well. God blesses His people. He makes promises to His children. And none of these things are based on us. God never says, “If you behave well enough, then I’ll save you.” No, He says instead: “This is my promise to you: Jesus is for you!”
That’s the thing about the power of the creative and performative Word of God. It does what it says, even without your input! The living Word of God bounces off your eardrum and travels into your brain where the Holy Spirit creates faith in a mysterious way.
God declares you righteous by the work of his Son, Jesus, speaks that righteousness upon you while wetting you with the water of Baptism, and when your pastor proclaims your absolution, and when that Word is tied to bread and wine made Body and Blood.
In none of these things are you driving the narrative; it is all God, all the time. He declares you His child. He makes you righteous. He instills faith in you. All of it by His power and might, for you, so that you (like Abraham) would trust that He has you in His hands, safe for all eternity. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
All depends on our possessing God’s abundant grace and blessing, Though all earthly wealth depart. They who trust with faith unshaken By their God are not forsaken And will keep a dauntless heart…If my days on earth He lengthen, God my weary soul will strengthen; All my trust in Him I place. Earthly wealth is not abiding, like a stream away is gliding; Safe I anchor in His grace. (All Depends on Our Possessing, LSB 732:1-6)
-Pastor Duane Bamsch is the Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley, CA and the President of Higher Things.
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.