The Primary Thing – by Desmond Ford

Nov 17, 2015 1834

crossAbout a dozen times Romans 4 uses the Greek word logizomai which means to credit, to account, to impute. This chapter tells us the law and the prophets illustrate the Gospel. The law meant the Pentateuch.

Remember Abraham, father of the faithful? He also lied to Abimelech; he also took Hagar but in the story of Abraham we read in chapter 16, verse 6, that Abraham believed God, trusted God and it was counted to him for righteousness.

This is the first time you find the word believe, the first time you find the word righteousness. Abraham trusted God and that was put to his credit as righteousness.

Faith is not a work, something you have to gear up. Faith is God’s gift when you hear that God loves sinners; he gives it to everyone who will not resist it.

The Bible never teaches justification because of faith, it teaches justification through faith.

Faith is just the channel. It does not earn anything. You give an apple to a young child, the boy’s hand does not make the apple, does not deserve the apple, but it can take the apple.

To as many as received Him, them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe.

Receiving is believing; believing is receiving.

But I cannot have true faith in Jesus until I have learned to have unfaith in myself. I cannot trust Him until I have learned to distrust myself.

So in Romans 4 it says, remember Abraham, the father of the faithful, who was a sinner but justified by faith. And this was before the law was given as a covenant. So he didn’t get it by being a goodie, goodie.

Abraham lived hundreds of years before Sinai. He was not declared righteous because he made a showing with the covenantal law.

The law existed back there. You find all the commandments in Genesis, but as a covenant it was not established until long after Abraham.

And then it says he was declared righteous before he was circumcised. Circumcision stands for all the outward things of religion: going to church, singing hymns, all the other things. They are all good, they are all essential to the Christian walk but none of them are primary.

Throwing yourself on Jesus in all you emptiness, all your neediness, that is what is primary. Forgiveness of sins, that is primary.

For in many things we all offend ­– James 3:2.

Whenever ye pray, say ‘forgive us.’

We have not loved as we ought. We have not trusted as we ought. We have not been the salt of the earth. There have not been rivers of living water from us. We have not been the light of the world.

God forgive us our blasphemous lives of self-contentment whereby we dodge the cross with being content with a splinter of it. God forgive us.

Abraham was declared righteous before circumcision so it is not the ceremonies of the church that save.

In the end of the chapter it says that God gave him that wonderful gift, that miraculous gift of a child when Abraham was about 90 years of age and Sarah’s womb was absolutely dead. When there was no strength, then God gave the blessing.

When you and I confess we have no strength, then the blessing comes.

– Des Ford. Rom 8:27–32. Adapted from, “The News That Shook The World – Part 2.”

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