Wages due

Honestly, I cannot remember my first job.

For many of you, that’s no surprise because you know that I have a terrible memory for all things past, but for others of you, you cannot imagine someone having such a poor memory.

But, anyway, I did have many jobs as a young person. First off, I was raised with a variety of simple chores and I received an allowance.

I was a saver. (In fact, I still am a saver.) It brought me great joy to accumulate money in my savings account. When I finished high school, I had built up quite a pot from my many jobs, working as a secretary at my dad’s law office, working summers as a camp counselor, working my way up to a manager at Arby’s. Any and every which way, I loved to earn money.

Maybe you have never really thought about this as it relates to salvation, but when I read Romans 4:4 last week, the words literally jumped off the page and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

Read Romans 4:4 with me:
“Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.”

Isn’t this how many of us are living?

We are working, doing our good works, expecting to be rewarded with salvation because, well, we’ve earned it. We think we deserve salvation because we have done so many good things. Just as I was working hard to save up money, expecting that future reward, we are doing good deeds, expecting God to let us into His presence because of them.

Now read with me the verses on either side:
Romans 4:3-5
3 “For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,”

How do we earn righteousness? How do we earn the righteousness that God requires?

By faith.

How about you?
How do you struggle with living by faith?
Have you had some recent victories in your faith walk?

Stay tuned for Wages Due, part two. God willing, tomorrow.

TWIG

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No Natural Children – Part Two

After finishing in Romans 8 yesterday, I turned the page to begin Romans 9 and was like, “Wow! No natural children, part TWO.”

Look with me at Romans 9:3-5.

Paul is expressing his compassion for his brothers in the flesh, the Jews. He writes, “They are Israelites and to them BELONG the adoption…” They were the CHOSEN children according to the flesh. And yet, God had chosen to bring in the Gentiles and God was not bringing in all of the Israelites. “What is going on here,” Paul is wondering.

Now move on to Romans 9:6-8

“6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,
7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”
8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.”

Do you see why I was like, “WOW. No children of the flesh!?”

But now is where it gets really tricky. Remember what I was writing about yesterday? That it is up to the parent to choose to adopt that child and that adoption is not based on their merit or worth.

Look at Romans 9:10-12

“10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac,
11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—
12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.””

God had a purpose. He always has a purpose. And His purposes are always good. He chooses, not because of our works, but because of His good purposes.

Which brings us to Romans 9:22-24:

“22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—
24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?”

I, for one, am thankful that He chooses to have mercy on any of us. Truly, we have all like sheep gone astray. Truly, none of us are without sin. Truly, all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

I sincerely pray that all four of my children, both my biological ones and my adopted one, will seek the Lord with their whole hearts and find Him. I pray that they will be among those standing with me before the throne in Heaven. But when it all comes down to it, it is my job to train them up in the way they should go and my job to teach them the ways of the Lord, but it is ultimately between God and them. And not me. I cannot bear children into the kingdom by my own strength.

Which brings me to the end of Romans 9. Look at verses 30-32.

“30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith;
31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law.
32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone,”

It is not by our works or our worth that we are saved, but by our faith. It has always been by faith and it will always be by faith. Abraham believed and it was counted to him as righteousness. Unfortunately, just as the Jews were pursuing a righteousness based on the law, many, many of us who bear the name of Christ today are attempting to attain righteousness by our works.

Brothers and sisters, this has never worked and it will never work. You will never be good enough. You will never do enough good needs to merit the favor of God.

God willing, my post tomorrow will be titled Wages Due and we will explore this together in more depth.

I’d love to hear from you. How do you struggle with this idea of No Natural Children? How has this impacted your upbringing? How does it impact how you bring up your own children?

TWIG

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No Natural Children

Romans 8:15 (ESV)
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Ephesians 1:3-6
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”

“Receive” – lambano
To take, to receive what is offered, to receive what is given.

“Adoption as sons” – huiothesia
Outline of Biblical Usage:
1) adoption, adoption as sons
a) that relationship which God was pleased to establish between himself and the Israelites in preference to all other nations
b) the nature and condition of the true disciples in Christ, who by receiving the Spirit of God into their souls become sons of God
c) the blessed state looked for in the future life after the visible return of Christ from heaven
— a compound of huios (a son) + tithemi (to set, put, place, make)

My thoughts –
Have you considered that no one can choose adoption for themselves?

If my son Nick had WANTED us to adopt him, he could not adopt himself. He could not force us to adopt him. He could only to receive what was given, to take what was offered. He was adopted as a son because we chose him and caused him to be our son. He has only to RECEIVE what is given.

And he was not chosen because he deserved it or earned it. He was not somehow better than all the others. No. He was adopted because his parents chose him because we wanted to.

My three biological children grew in my womb, but in God’s kingdom there are no ‘natural children.’ Every single one of us must be adopted. Every single one. Whether Jew or Gentile, whether first generation Christian or fifteenth, we must each receive adoption. None of us can ride our parent’s coat tails into the kingdom.

Praise God that He saw my need. He saw me, a slave, and yet He set His favor on me, choosing me as His daughter. Thank you, Lord, that You showed Your love for me in that while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me. Thank you, Father, for calling me out of the dark and putting Your name on me that I can now call myself daughter and so I am. Wow!

Let me not fall back into fear when I have received the spirit of adoption, that I can cry out Abba, Father, as your daughter.

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Happy Birthday, Bill

Proverbs 31:11-12
“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.”

1 Peter 3:5-6
“For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.”

We had a great time celebrating Bill’s birthday including an amazing 3-hour dinner at Melting Pot. Yum! Emily baked a delicious cake shaped like a giant coffee mug. How cool is that?

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Happy Birthday, honey! You are a blessing from The Lord to me. I praise His name for giving me you to be my husband. You make me more than I would be without you.