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By Grace Alone through Faith Alone

2nd Sunday in Lent

By Grace Alone through Faith Alone

Text: Romans 4:1-5, 13-17


I was 15 years old.  It was the summer after my freshman year of high school.  My parents told me, “You need to get a job.”  I thought I might as well apply at Subway.  It was two blocks from my house and I loved the food at this newer restaurant.  At the time, competition was a little fierce for jobs though.  I remember bringing in my application and the owner was conducting a number of formal interviews.  I was one of a bunch of applicants.  But I was hired.

I started at the very bottom of the fast food chain that year.  Just another employee.  But over time they realized it wasn’t such a bad deal to have a pastor’s son who goes to a Christian high school working for you.  So they trained me to work on the cash register.  Then to take deposits to the bank.  Then to work by myself at times opening the store and closing the store, which meant I had keys to the building.  Then I became an assistant manager.  Then I ran the entire Subway booth at the Wisconsin State Fair.  At one point when I was in college, the owner, who owned nine Subways and three Taco Bells, asked me to be his regional manager with a full salary and a company car.  But I told him I was studying to be a pastor and couldn’t.

Finally after 10 years of work I had to quit to go off to my vicar year at the Seminary.  By that point I was a lead manager, I worked any time I wanted, and I made some pretty decent money for a fast food employee.

A lot of you have very similar stories.  You started at the bottom and worked your way to the top.  You started doing grunt work or hard labor at first but worked your way up the ladder.  Some of you were in the military and worked your way up the rankings through the years.  Some of you had nothing for many years but worked and saved and wound up able to have a nice retirement. Read the rest of this entry

Daily Devotion on Genesis 15:1-6

Text:  Genesis 15:1-6

What does your credit score look like?

Most Americans would likely respond, “Don’t ask!!”

Your credit score can often say a lot about you. It can show whether you have over-extended yourself financially. It can show how much debt you have. It can show how well you pay back that debt. It can also show whom you owe. Your credit score can say a lot, and for many Americans, it says “This person is in trouble!”

What do you think your spiritual credit score looks like?

The answer is actually very simple. It’s awful. For everyone. The Bible reminds us that, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and that, “The wages of sin is death.” All of us owe God–big time. We have a huge debt to pay. We owe God perfection, and if we can’t pay that, then we must pay the wages of sin–death. (Some may be reminded of one translation of the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”)

But we learn something incredible from Scripture about our God. It is good news bursts forth from many stories and many pages of God’s Word. It’s the best spiritual/economic news imaginable. God gives us a good spiritual credit score!

One such example from the Bible is the story of Abram/Abraham. God made many promises to Abraham. Some of them were nearly unbelievable, like the promise that he would have a son at an old age with his barren wife. But Abraham believed God’s promises. So, through that faith, “God credited it to him as righteousness.”

Note how it doesn’t say that Abraham earned righteousness or worked his way toward righteousness. God simply gave it to him.

This is the good news of Scripture for all of us! God has erased our debt of sins with the blood of Jesus and he has credited the perfection of Jesus to our accounts. We don’t just have a good spiritual credit score–we have a perfect and clean spiritual credit score!

Trust God’s incredible promises, especially the most important promise of forgiveness and life through Jesus. Then thank and praise God for crediting Christ’s work to your account!

Prayer: Lord God, in your great grace and mercy you have credited your Son’s righteousness to my account. I am not worthy of this spiritual reckoning, but you have given it to me by grace alone. Lead me to thank and praise you for this gift every day. I pray in the name of my gracious Savior and by faith alone. Amen.