Today’s Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 26:12-27:34; Romans 4:13-5:5; Psalm 14:1-7; Proverbs 19:17
Continuing on from yesterday’s passages in 1 Chronicles wherein David appointed priests and Levites to work in the yet-to-be-built Temple, the gatekeepers are organized in 1 Chronicles 26:1-11. Gatekeepers were responsible for ensuring that only those who were coming to worship God were allowed in the Temple. The Temple was not a tourist attraction. It was God’s house. And like any house, it had security measures to prevent unlawful entry, in both a spiritual and practical sense.
Its all very interesting that David appointed all these people considering that the Temple wouldn’t be built until years later by his son Solomon. This shows David’s great faith in God that things would come to pass just as He had said.
Paul continues to show that it was always God’s intention that a right relationship with Him comes not by keeping a bunch of rules – because we are unable to keep them – but by faith (Romans 4:15). Paul cleverly states that the only way not to break the law is to not have a law.
There are many people who won’t admit that they are sinners. They thing they are “good” and haven’t broken any of God’s laws. Clearly this isn’t true. It is simply human pride that makes people think that. What they are really saying is that they are accountable to no law.
But God’s promise of salvation is received by faith (Romans 4:16). It is freely given by God – it is not something we need to work for.
I like to say that no word in the Bible is there for no reason and the word “certain” in Romans 4:16 is a great example. If salvation is based on works then no one can be certain of receiving it. How would anyone know if they measured up? But here in this verse God tells us that we can be 100% sure – without a shadow of doubt – that we are saved if we have faith like Abraham. That is, if we receive God’s offer of salvation through faith that He raised Christ from the dead as payment for our sins.
What kind of faith did Abraham have? Well, God had promised Abraham that he and his wife Sarah would have a child – by natural events – even though they were 100 and 90 years old, respectively (Romans 4:19). From this promise Abraham never wavered. In fact, his faith grew stronger and he was convinced that God would do what He said He would do. Abraham didn’t just sit around and wait for Sarah to miraculously get pregnant. Instead, at 100 years old, he continued to have sex with his wife knowing that one day she would get pregnant even though both their bodies were as good as dead. That is faith.
In Romans 5 Paul begins to tell us what the benefits are of having a right relationship with God that can only come through faith. First, we have peace with God (Romans 5:1). Notice that we don’t have peace with the world, or our boss, or neighbors. We don’t have peace from insecurity or financial difficulty. We still have battles. But these are earthly battles that will soon pass.
Second, we have continuing grace from God (Romans 5:2). Grace saved us. But grace, which is undeserved favor, continues to bless our lives even after we are saved.
Third, we have standing before God (Romans 5:2) which allows us to be confident and filled with joy knowing that we will be raised in glory when we die or at the Rapture, whichever comes first.
Having a right relationship with God also allows us to rejoice in times of trouble because such circumstances develop patience (Romans 5:3). Once we are saved we are always saved. God will not lose us. So when we go through hard-times (and we will) we can remain confident that God is still there and our salvation is still secure. When we do that we can take advantage of the difficulties by letting them develop our character and hope (Romans 5:4).
A foolish person convinces himself that there is no God so they can do all kinds of evil things (Psalm 14:1-2). It never even crosses their mind to have a relationship with God (Psalm 14:4). They may enjoy their lives now, but someday they will come face-to-face with Jesus and will then be gripped with terror (Psalm 14:5). They may get away with things for now, and those of us who are their victims may suffer now… but someday God will refresh us (Psalm 14:7). We need to remember something we learned a few days ago – God allows people to continue to sin to give them time to come to Him. So we need to be patient knowing that our suffering is really for their own good.
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