February 28th 2021
When God promised Abraham and his descendants that the world would belong to him, he did so, not because Abraham obeyed the Law,
but because he believed and was accepted as righteous by God.
For if what God promises is to be given to those who obey the Law,
then faith means nothing and God's promise is worthless.
The Law brings down God's anger; but where there is no law,
there is no disobeying of the law.
And so the promise was based on faith,
in order that the promise should be guaranteed as God's free gift
to all of Abraham's descendants - not just to those who obey the Law,
but also to those who believe as Abraham did.
For Abraham is the spiritual father of us all; as the scripture says,
"I have made you father of many nations."
So the promise is good in the sight of God, in whom Abraham believed -
the God who brings the dead to life and whose command brings into being what did not exist.
Abraham believed and hoped, even when there was no reason for hoping,
and so became "the father of many nations." Just as the scripture says,
"Your descendants will be as many as the stars."
He was then almost one hundred years old;
but his faith did not weaken when he thought of his body,
which was already practically dead,
or of the fact that Sarah could not have children.
His faith did not leave him, and he did not doubt God's promise;
his faith filled him with power, and he gave praise to God.
He was absolutely sure that God would be able to do what he had promised.
That is why Abraham, through faith,
"was accepted as righteous by God."
The words "he was accepted as righteous" were not written for him alone.
They were written also for us who are to be accepted as righteous,
who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from death.
Because of our sins he was given over to die,
and he was raised to life in order to put us right with God.
Then Jesus began to teach his disciples:
"The Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected by the elders,
the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law.
He will be put to death, but three days later he will rise to life."
He made this very clear to them.
So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
But Jesus turned around, looked at his disciples, and rebuked Peter.
"Get away from me, Satan," he said.
"Your thoughts don't come from God but from human nature!"
Then Jesus called the crowd and his disciples to him.
"If any of you want to come with me," he told them,
"you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me.
For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it;
but if you lose your life for me and for the gospel, you will save it.
Do you gain anything if you win the whole world but lose your life?
Of course not!
There is nothing you can give to regain your life.
If you are ashamed of me and of my teaching in this godless and wicked day, then the Son of Man will be ashamed of you
when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."