Daily Devotion for October 11, 2011
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Irish BlessingDeep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,"
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.
Romans 4:1-8 (ESV)
Abraham and David Justified by Faith
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin."
Notes on the Scripture
Paul, having introduced the concept of justification by faith, now anticipates arguments that the Jews might make against the concept. The Jews believed their righteousness came from their works. God had made a covenant with Abraham ("and his seed forever"): They would be his chosen people, if they would circumcise their sons and follow his commandments. Thus, they would say, their works — following God's commandments — made them righteous before God.
Abraham's actions were not the foundation of his righteousness, however; it was his belief in God, his faith. He agreed to follow all kinds of rules, solely because his faith in God was so strong. He believed in God, and he based his life on that belief. His actions were fundamentally expressions of faith.
Paul compares the theology of grace by works to someone who has done a day's work and expects to be paid. But someone who has not done the job and gets paid, has not earned his wages; they are a gift. And even in the Old Testament, God has repeatedly given His grace to those who have not earned it, but have faith in Him.
To illustrate this, Paul points to a second Jewish all-star, David. David was certainly one of the most beloved men in the history of Judaism and had many great works to his credit. But he also erred, and the quoted psalm (Psalm 32) probably refers to David's blackest moment, when he lusted after the wife of Uriah the Hittite and arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle, so that he could have Bathsheba.
David was specifically forgiven for this wickedness (see 2 Samuel 12). And if David was forgiven for such terrible sin, how can the Jews boast of justification by their works? For God's grace to the Jews was a gift, and forgiveness was always a possibility for them. And if grace is a gift, those who receive it have not earned it by their works.