The Faith of Abraham Justifies

The Faith of Abraham Justifies

Reconciliation is so much better than wings and a harp

In popular culture, heaven is a place where the deceased are equipped with wings and harps and have nothing to do but sit on the clouds. However, what Scripture says about heaven is about having a relationship with God. It is about being reconciled to God, and being restored to the place, we were originally made for, at His great feast.

The Bible describes two ways to get to heaven. The way of the Law, and the way of the Gospel. To get to heaven by the law is easy, in theory; simply follow all of the ten commandments.

But there’s a catch. You have to do it perfectly. And not just outwardly, either. You have to never think about breaking any of the commandments. You cannot even want to do it. And that makes this way to heaven impossible. Our sinful flesh will betray us.

But for one person it was not impossible. Jesus, true Man and true God, fulfilled the Law for us. He did it perfectly, that which no other man could do. He also did it so that he could be the perfect sacrifice for us. He could be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

And that’s the way of the Gospel. Jesus justifies us – he took our sins onto Himself, and then He died. So that the price of our sins could be paid. Then he rose from the dead so that we could stand before God as children and not as slaves. What is it that we bring to this? Nothing! All that is required of us is to not reject this amazing gift.

Thanks be to God for the gift of justification! 

Here is the full sermon text from Romans 4:

Abraham 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 are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
    and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

The Promise Realized Through Faith

13 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. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

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Announcements

Congregational Meeting: Main topic is future of the church. It will be held on Sunday, March 12 following the service. If you can attend, please do so. It’s important to have everyone’s input.

Bible Study: Our midweek Bible study is on hiatus during Lent and will resume after Easter.

Lenten Services: We will post a Lenten Vespers service each Wednesday online, since we will not meet in person.

Condolences: With sorrow, we share that Gary Tollefsen passed away on February 14th. We find comfort and joy in the promise of our Lord that we will all enjoy eternal life together. At this time, we are not aware of funeral details but his family has posted an online memorial.

Donations: Even during the pandemic and with a decline in attendance, the expenses continue. If you wish to make a donation please mail them to the St. James post office box as that is a secure location. You may also donate online.

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