Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
20 February 2021
Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.
The date of OBU AGM, to be held at Bethel, has been changed from 19th Nov. to Saturday 12th November 2022 – please will you all put it in your diaries and try to attend, thanks.
“I think my feelings that night … were the most exalted I remember … suddenly my mind felt clothed with light, as with a garment and I felt silenced before God; I cried with the heavenly feeling of humility and repentance.”
Elizabeth Fry – Prison Reformer
Please read Romans 4.
Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.Rom 4:3
The heading to chapter 4 in the NIV is ‘Abraham justified by faith’. We have already seen the necessity of faith:
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,Rom 3:22
God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood – to be received by faith.Rom 3:25
He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.Rom 3:26
This faith is also a gift of God. Imagine a man who has collapsed from the heat and is dying of thirst out in the desert. A Bedouin, passing by, rushes to his aid giving him much needed water. The man opens his mouth to receive the life-giving water and is saved. Can the man boast later on that he opened his mouth to receive the water? Such is faith, it is simply the means we receive all that God has to give us in this matter of salvation.
The apostle has already reminded us that this gospel is no Plan B on God’s part:
… the gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding His SonRom. 1:2-3
… an after-thought to deal with the fact that Israel repeatedly failed to keep their side of the covenant. So, Paul refers to Abraham, and later David, to emphasise that justification is solely by faith – apart from works (Rom 4:1-8), apart from circumcision (Rom 4:9-12), and apart from law (Rom 4:13-17). Contrary to Abraham being justified, declared righteous by God, because of his good works:
Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.Rom. 4:3
He backs this up by quoting David, who says the same thing in a different way:
Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.Rom. 4:7-8
Abraham was declared righteous by God before he was circumcised:
We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!Rom. 4:9-10
Keep on reading this incredible chapter which was written for us as well (see Rom 4:23-24 below, Verse of the Week!). For us also faith comes first e.g. “Believe and be baptised,” (cf. Mk. 16:16), Amen!
Quote of the week
“No other system, ideology or religion proclaims a free forgiveness and a new life to those who have done nothing to deserve it”
Verse of the week
The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness – for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.Rom. 4:23-25
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your great love and for all You have done for us through Your Son, and through Your Spirit, in Jesus Christ our Lord, Saviour and Friend, Amen.