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'A Year with Jesus' for 9/19/2014

Credited as Righteousness


Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

The promise of today's verses focuses on your answer to one question: Do you believe? Do you believe that the Father took My lifeless body and raised Me back to life as conqueror over sin, death, and hell? Faith that the Father can bring life out of death as well as beauty and order out of nothing are fundamental aspects faith. This is the kind of faith Paul talks about today in the verses you will read from his letter to Roman Christians.

When you base your life on faith in My resurrection, everything changes. However, believing this in the face of life's most difficult challenges is not easy. Like the philosophers in Athens did with Paul, some in your day will laugh "in contempt" at you because of your faith (Acts 17:32 NLT). You may find yourself doubting, like My apostle Thomas who wanted physical proof of My resurrection (John 20:24-29). You may find yourself like some of My disciples who "disbelieved for joy" (Luke 24:41 ESV); after all, if something seems too good to be true, then you assume it can't be true. Some of My disciples doubted all the way up to My ascension (Matthew 28:16-17).

You may be like the father who had a son controlled by a demonic spirit (Mark 9:17-29). He wanted Me to help his son... if I could! I told that man, and I am telling you today, "Everything is possible for one who believes" (Mark 9:23 NIV). If you struggle with believing in My resurrection, this man's prayer can become your own: "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24 NIV).

The kind of faith the Father calls you to have is not easy, but it is life-changing. This faith also comes with a blessing. When Thomas finally came to faith after I showed Myself to him, he confessed, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28 NIV). I told Thomas:

You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me."
(John 20:29 NIV)
.
I know believing in My resurrection will be hard for some of you. But please know that your commitment to believe comes with My promised blessing!

My closest disciples had been afraid and failed Me during My trials, crucifixion, and burial. Yet they were made strong, bold, and fearless when they became convinced of My resurrection by spending time with me after My resurrection. Their testimony is written across the Roman Empire as they gave their lives to tell the world that My resurrection was true and that they were witnesses of this truth (Acts 1:8; Acts 2:32-36). As Peter so eloquently said to disciples years after My resurrection as they were about to face bitter persecution for their faith:
You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:8-9 NLT)
Paul explained to the Christians in Rome that the Father counted them as righteous because of their faith. Today, I tell you that your "right standing before God" comes from the same place that Abraham's did: faith. For Abraham, the Father credited his faith as righteousness because he believed that the Father could take his old and impotent body and Sarah's lifeless womb and create a new nation through the gift of a son out his seed and Sarah's womb. Like Abraham, your faith is credited as righteousness.

All who stand before the Father as His righteous children do so because they have believed as Abraham believed. Like Abraham, you believe that your Father "creates out of nothing and holds the power to bring to life what is dead." You believe that this is what the Father did to raise My dead and lifeless body and liberate Me from the tomb. As Paul wrote:
The story of how faith was credited to Abraham was not recorded for him and him alone, but was written for all of us who would one day be credited for having faith in God, the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the realm of the dead. He was delivered over to death for our trespasses and raised so that we might be made right with God.
Your faith in Me is powerful, life-transforming, sin-forgiving, hope-restoring, and righteousness-giving.

Verses to Live

Paul wrote in the verses below about Abraham's great faith in the Father Who is also the One Who did the humanly impossible and raised Me from the dead. Your faith in the Father's action means He receives you as His righteous child!

The promise given to Abraham and his children, that one day they would inherit the world, did not come because he followed the rules of the law. It came as a result of his right standing before God, a standing he obtained through faith. If this inheritance is available only to those who keep the law, then faith is a useless commodity and the promise is canceled. For the law brings God's wrath against sin. But where the law doesn't draw the line, there can be no crime.

This is the reason that faith is the single source of the promise — so that grace would be offered to all Abraham's children, those whose lives are defined by the law and those who follow the path of faith charted by Abraham, our common father. As it is recorded in the Scriptures, "I have appointed you the father of many nations." In the presence of the God who creates out of nothing and holds the power to bring to life what is dead, Abraham believed and so became our father.

Against the odds, Abraham's hope grew into full-fledged faith that he would turn out to be the father of many nations, just as God had promised when He said, "That's how many your descendants will be." His faith did not fail, although he was well aware that his impotent body, after nearly 100 years, was as good as dead and that Sarah's womb, too, was dead. In spite of all this, his faith in God's promise did not falter. In fact, his faith grew as he gave glory to God because he was supremely confident that God could deliver on His promise. This is why, you see, God saw his faith and counted him as righteous; this is how he became right with God.

The story of how faith was credited to Abraham was not recorded for him and him alone, but was written for all of us who would one day be credited for having faith in God, the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the realm of the dead. He was delivered over to death for our trespasses and raised so that we might be made right with God.
(Romans 4:13-25)

Response in Prayer

O Father, I believe, but help my unbelief. As I live trusting in Jesus' victory over sin, death, and hell, I ask that the Holy Spirit not only empower me to live for You, but also increase and grow my faith. I want to not only hold this faith in my heart with conviction, but to also help others find their faith in Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. Give me courage, O God, so that I can be a living witness to Jesus and the grace that You have given me and all who have this faith. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.



For more information about this devotional as well as archives of the material please visit the 'A Year with Jesus' website.




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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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