Lent | 3.2.12

Psalm 22:23-31
Genesis 16:1-6
Romans 4:1-12

I was a young adult when I came to really understand that the love of God is not something we earn through our good deeds or work, but something given by the grace of God. Some may think that God owes them His love for their work, but, to me, that is backwards. We should honor this love by glorifying God and following His commandments.

Paul spoke to the Roman church about Abraham and how he was justified by God not because of work or deeds, but because he believed.

9 Is this blessing only for the circumcised, then? Or is it also for the uncircumcised? For we say, Faith was credited to Abraham for righteousness. 10 In what way then was it credited—while he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while he was circumcised, but uncircumcised. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while still uncircumcised. This was to make him the father of all who believe but are not circumcised, so that righteousness may be credited to them also. 12 And he became the father of the circumcised, who are not only circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith our father Abraham had while he was still uncircumcised (Romans 4).

Paul was trying to teach the young church to be inclusive, inviting and nondiscriminating against other believers in Christ. He wanted them to welcome believing Gentiles as fellow children of Abraham. The Christian faith that we profess today was made possible by Paul’s determination in Christ to break down the barriers of the Mosaic Law that kept the gentile world out of the church. We fast forward to 2012 and those barriers that once stood are attempting to rise again, but we have to always be mindful that Abraham is the father of all who believe. Like Paul, we too must break down any barriers that will prevent believers from being a part of the church.

As you journey through this Lenten season of faith in your aim to develop a deeper relationship with God, ask yourself who is not welcome at your church and why?

God, Your grace and love are open to everyone. Please help us to find ways to invite others to know You and grow into your likeness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Benita Walker
Executive Assistant for the Office of Spiritual Development

You can download the full Lent and Holy Week Devotional Guide at:http://www.belmont.edu/religion/files/lent-devotional-2012-final.pdf

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