Monday, March 12, 2007


Romans 4:1-12

I recall the days when my parents had in place a system where I would receive a monetary award for every good grade I got on a major exam. Naturally, getting an ‘A’ back in my primary school days seemed so much easier than getting an ‘A’ now in university. Nevertheless, my prize money soon turned into a goal I ended up setting for myself come every exam – instead of doing well in exams for a million other better reasons (God; Mom and Dad; for the betterment of society), it was only for the ‘moola’ that would finds its way into my bank account. Over time, I found myself sitting on my laurels when I thought I had more than enough money to work with; and because I did not see the need to strive for any more money, I grew weary of studying and found it a chore to earn that next batch of Alpha digits.

This is exactly the case with faith.

“Consider Abraham”, says Paul. Christian Jews in Paul’s time had to realise the difference between only ‘obeying the law’ and only ‘having faith’. Paul explains that we cannot boast in our works because it is not our works that will save us – it is our faith in response to God’s promise that saves us. Ephesians 2:8-9 further explains this concept: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.

One of the common questions that follow from this is why then do we need to serve in church; or, even feel obligated to do good deeds? This is summed up in Hebrews 10:19-25. If we say we have faith, then our faith will spur us to good deeds and to service. Perhaps the only reason why they tend to turn into tiresome obligations is because there are other incentives for us at hand. Take the example of my studying for the sake of money; if I studied because I stand to gain something that is of this world – I am bound to be tired of it. However, if I studied because I stand to gain something more than what this world has to offer – something eternal, then that will spur me to never tire from a lifetime of knowledge! This applies in our service to our friends and in church.

So to paraphrase Paul, consider Abraham. Reflect on the things that you have been involved in since you have turned to Christ and think about whether you have turned your level faith into an obligation that is dictated by the amount that you do in church or in your fellowship. If you find yourself boasting only in your repertoire of service: remember Abraham – you don’t have faith because you do the Lord’s work; you do the Lord’s work because you have faith. Ask God to teach you to act in response to the faith that led you to believe in Christ; the faith that led you to believe that because God could not stand sin, He gave His only Son that you might have life eternal.

1. What helps you to serve God? What hinders you to serve Him?

No comments: