Read: Romans 4:9-12
During certain times of the year, I travel around the country for work. The last time I was traveling, I was waiting for my flight to start boarding. While waiting, I saw a man at the airline desk trying to get on the same flight as me. We had the same destination, but his flight was a few hours later. The worker told him that he would be placed on standby; if a passenger was not present by the time of the flight, then he would be allowed on the flight. Eventually, they began allowing the passengers of my flight to board. Just before the cabin door was closed, the man who was on standby walked onto the plane. Apparently, one of the original passengers for this flight did not arrive. Because of that, the man who wasn’t originally part of the flight was included.
One of the things that Paul faced in his ministry was a conflict between Jewish and Gentile Christians. He spent his life teaching that one was not better than the other and that one did not have to give up or take on the customs of the other to be saved; both are saved by God’s grace alone. Jews were not better because Abraham was their ancestor; Gentiles were not second best to Jews just because they could not trace their family lineage back to Abraham.
In Romans 4:10, Paul points out that Abraham was declared righteous before he was circumcised, which marked him out as a follower of God. His righteousness was counted to him before he took on the outward sign of his new identity. In this way, Abraham is a father in the faith to both Jews and Gentiles. Those who aren’t Jews by birth aren’t “add-ons” to God’s chosen people. In verse eleven, Paul explains that even though the Messiah came through the line of Abraham, the righteousness made available through Him was originally meant to be available for all people. The blessing of the new life in Christ is for all men and women.
This new identity found in Christ is based not on lineage but on God’s grace. It is His gift to all men and women, in spite of the false identities they may have donned in the past, and apart from any of their works. It is a gift based on His good and perfect self and made possible only through Jesus Christ.
God has made a way for all people to be declared righteous. This gift of life in Christ was made available for you even before you realized you needed it. Praise God today that His gift is not contingent upon anything that you do and that He has shown both His righteousness and goodness to all the world!