March 14, 2018

All in the Family

Romans 4:13–15

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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.

In Context:

8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” 9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. 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. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,

All in the Family



Bio | Savannah Brock

Hello, Watermark! My name is Savannah, and I have been a part of the Watermark family since 2011. One of my favorite things to do is to sit around the table and listen to my family tell stories about my relatives. Fun fact: I am related to Isaac Brock, probably the oldest man to have lived in Texas. He lived to be 122 years old. As much as I hope to have received some of his genes, I am most grateful for the family I have been adopted into through Christ: the family of Abraham and God.

Central Truth

Just like with Abraham, we can only become righteous through our faith in what God has done. 

Devotional | Romans 4:13–15

Throughout Romans 4, Paul has been highlighting the faith of Abraham. Abraham is mentioned about 300 times in the Bible and more than 70 times in the New Testament. The biblical writers seemed to think...

Throughout Romans 4, Paul has been highlighting the faith of Abraham. Abraham is mentioned about 300 times in the Bible and more than 70 times in the New Testament. The biblical writers seemed to think he was pretty important. But how relevant is the ancient nomad to us today? Great question.

Did you know that when we trust in Jesus and join God's family, we become a part of Abraham's family as well? Galatians 3:29 says, "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." In Genesis 12:1-3, God makes a covenant with Abraham. One aspect of this promise is that through Abraham, God would bless the world.

2 Corinthians 1:20 states, "For all the promises of God find their Yes in [Jesus]," and this promise is no different. Through Jesus, Abraham's descendent, the world was given the greatest blessing of all—salvation. We, as heirs of Abraham, are freely offered this gift.

My Grandma Joyce is a fabulous painter and displays many of her pieces in her home. One of my favorites is this simple winter scene that hangs at the top of the stairs. In the future, I will inherit it from her. Not because I paid her for it or did extra chores around her house to earn it. But because of my relationship with her as her granddaughter. Similarly, our inheritance of what God promised us is not earned. God invites us into relationship with Him, asking us to fully trust Him. Through belief in Jesus Christ, we, too, can be declared righteous, just like our father Abraham (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:21-22).

Let's follow our spiritual father's example. Let's throw away the burdens of working toward salvation. Instead, we should cherish God's gift and walk today in the freedom of faith.

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Discussion Questions

1. In Genesis 15, God seals the covenant with Abraham. The practice described here was common for the time. After a covenant had been made, both participating parties would walk through the sacrificed animals as if to say, "May this be done to me if I don't hold up my end of the deal." In Genesis 15, which party passes through the animals? How does this relate to our passage today from Romans 4?

2. Are there areas in your life in which you are still trying to earn approval from God through works? What does verse 14 say are the implications of this? Take some time to lay these areas before God in prayer.

3. Verse 16 can be a little confusing. Is the law bad? How can something God provided be bad? Don't worry! Paul doesn't leave us hanging here. Stay tuned for more about the law in Romans 7.

11 Comments available

Katie Holden 9 months ago

Wow great devo, Savannah!! Love how you tied in various parts of the Bible.

Michael Scaman 9 months ago

Q3 the law isn’t bad, in fact Psalm 119 says Ohhhhhhh how I love your law

The law shows us more of God and more of ourselves We are not saved by the law but do follow the spirit of the law (and the man of lawlessness is the Antichrist in Thessalonians)

The law also shows a picture of heavenly things so says Hebrews and the law provides for a King, picturing King Jesus

greg jones 9 months ago

great devotional, great questions today. Question two and the related questions are especially good. There is a level of spiritual knowledge that is required to recognize the right responses to those questions. There is a different level of spiritual maturity that is required to live out our responses. Sometimes we just don’t live what we know, maturity comes when we experience that difference. Paul has experienced the difference and it shows in his statements.

Neil Curran 9 months ago

We only become righteous when we put our faith, trust in Jesus and his righteousness is accredited to us. When God looks at us now He doesn’t look at our sins. He sees our perfect substitute…Jesus. We cannot earn salvation by doing good. We do good out of gratitude for what Jesus has already done for us and in us. Ephesians 2:8-9 are crowned by verse 10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” (MLT) God works in us before He works through us. He has a plan for each of us that will give us joy and glory to Him. Follow his plan. Good deeds open the door for good news. Who can you love and help in some way AND share the good news with?

Autumn Zevely 9 months ago

122 years!?!?! Whoa! That’s some good health for Earth! I am so thankful that I don’t feel the need to wear myself out with “works” any more. I still wear myself out, but not for approval. And I do things because I WANT to! Thankful for the blood that my works could never obtain.

Sue Bohlin 9 months ago

Thanks, Savannah. Your illustration of inheriting your grandma’s painting because of your relationship works great here. We are getting hammered by certain excruciatingly important concepts Paul wants us to get, such as the fact that there are NONE righteous. Now we’re getting hammered by the importance of FAITH. Trust. Receiving God’s blessings with an open heart and open hand, both of which are empty because we have nothing to offer. Just ourselves, our obedience, our gratitude.

Hope Harris 9 months ago

Friends I am needing to take some time to process with God offline for the rest of this week . I hope to rejoin next Monday.

Michael Scaman 9 months ago

Abraham had long periods of waiting and a hope of a resurrection. A resurrection in terms of having a child, a resurrection in terms of God making it clear that the promise would be through Isaac and Isaac’s children and yet asking Abraham to send Isaac (the child called laughter) ‘up in smoke’ on the alter, but Abraham believed in a God who can raise the dead (even if never before done). Abraham would even live long enough to tell the stories of his hope to his grandsons Esau and Jacob who would be about 16 when he died.

Michael Scaman 9 months ago

God told Abraham that his descendants would suffer in Egypt but He would bring them out with power and God did down to the day… and yet… most seemed to have forgotten by that time. God remained faithful.

Often you hear of sin cycles in the book of judges with sin, discipline, crying and deliverance/ The cycles keep sliding down and down and down and in the last ‘cycle’ at rock bottom the Philistines rules 40 years and there was no cry to God. God still sent the deliverance (through Samson) anyway.

So regarding Q1, don’t limit God by yourself or people.

Lindsey Driscoll 9 months ago

Savannah great devo today, good job tying your family in just like Abraham. I’m reflecting on 4:13 this morning grateful that we do not receive promises through keeping the law. Oh how we could never keep up, and never see the good of God’s promises if we were left up to keeping the law.

Hugh Stephenson 9 months ago

Today I am reflecting on God’s promise to Abraham.

In the discipleship ministries I learn that God is who He says He is and that He keeps His promises. Unlike me, He is able to make and keep one-way promises. Yet, there are some relationships where God shows me how to live out my faithfulness:

Marriage - Eph 5:25 calls me to love Amy as Christ loved the church. There is no “unless” listed.

Children - Hebrews 12 calls me to parent them as He parents me, with love and discipline, (Heb 12).

Community - The “59 one anothers” of the NT call me into loving relationship.

Work team and clients. - The shepherd model calls me to guide them and guard them sacrificially.

Mentors and Protégées. - The disciples model how learn and Jesus models how to teach.

I pray that I be ever mindful of Abraham’s example.

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