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Tuesday 03 September 2019 – Risky Living

Romans 4:13  For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14  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, neither is there violation. 16  For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 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  Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” 19  He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20  No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21  being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22  Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 23  Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, 24  but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25  who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

Paul rejects a rigid adherence to law as the secret to a fulfilled life. Instead he advocates faith as the one essential in life “in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants”.  This is living life in a way that trusts the Spirit of God to lead us into each day, rather than an unthinking adherence to religious rules as the place of redemption.

Put differently, this is an invitation to what Jamie Buckingham helpfully termed “Risky Living”. The challenge of each day is to risk living under God’s guidance rather than trusting the religious rules we use to help us feel safe.    

Courage, brother, do not stumble,
Though thy path be dark as night;
There’s a star to guide the humble:
Trust in God and do the right.
Let the road be rough and dreary,
And its end far out of sight,
Foot it bravely; strong or weary,


            Trust in God, trust in God,
Trust in God and do the right

Words: Nor­man Mac­le­od, 1857; first ap­peared as a po­em in The Ed­in­burgh Christ­ian Mag­a­zine.

Ordinary 19

41 Prayers and Promises

The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 255.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)