Bible Society of South Africa

Bible Reading Plan – Day 313

Bible text(s)

The Example of Abraham

1What shall we say, then, of Abraham, the father of our race? What was his experience? 2If he was put right with God by the things he did, he would have something to boast about — but not in God's sight. 3The scripture says, “Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.” 4Those who work are paid wages, but they are not regarded as a gift; they are something that has been earned. 5But those who depend on faith, not on deeds, and who believe in the God who declares the guilty to be innocent, it is this faith that God takes into account in order to put them right with himself. 6This is what David meant when he spoke of the happiness of the person whom God accepts as righteous, apart from anything that person does:

7“Happy are those whose wrongs are forgiven,

whose sins are pardoned!

8Happy is the person whose sins the Lord will not keep account of!”

9Does this happiness that David spoke of belong only to those who are circumcised? No indeed! It belongs also to those who are not circumcised. For we have quoted the scripture, “Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.” 10When did this take place? Was it before or after Abraham was circumcised? It was before, not after. 11He was circumcised later, and his circumcision was a sign to show that because of his faith God had accepted him as righteous before he had been circumcised. And so Abraham is the spiritual father of all who believe in God and are accepted as righteous by him, even though they are not circumcised. 12He is also the father of those who are circumcised, that is, of those who, in addition to being circumcised, also live the same life of faith that our father Abraham lived before he was circumcised.

God's Promise is Received through Faith

13When 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. 14For if what God promises is to be given to those who obey the Law, then faith means nothing and God's promise is worthless. 15The Law brings down God's anger; but where there is no law, there is no disobeying of the law.

16And 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; 17as 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. 18Abraham 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.” 19He was then almost 100 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. 20His 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. 21He was absolutely sure that God would be able to do what he had promised. 22That is why Abraham, through faith, “was accepted as righteous by God”. 23The words “he was accepted as righteous” were not written for him alone. 24They were written also for us who are to be accepted as righteous, who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from death. 25Because of our sins he was handed over to die, and he was raised to life in order to put us right with God.

Right with God

1Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2He has brought us by faith into this experience of God's grace, in which we now live. And so we boast of the hope we have of sharing God's glory! 3We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, 4endurance brings God's approval, and his approval creates hope. 5This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us.

6For when we were still helpless, Christ died for the wicked at the time that God chose. 7It is a difficult thing for someone to die for a righteous person. It may even be that someone might dare to die for a good person. 8But God has shown us how much he loves us — it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! 9By his blood we are now put right with God; how much more, then, will we be saved by him from God's anger! 10We were God's enemies, but he made us his friends through the death of his Son. Now that we are God's friends, how much more will we be saved by Christ's life! 11But that is not all; we rejoice because of what God has done through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has now made us God's friends.

Adam and Christ

12Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it. As a result, death has spread to the whole human race because everyone has sinned. 13There was sin in the world before the Law was given; but where there is no law, no account is kept of sins. 14But from the time of Adam to the time of Moses death ruled over the whole human race, even over those who did not sin in the same way that Adam did when he disobeyed God's command.

Adam was a figure of the one who was to come. 15But the two are not the same, because God's free gift is not like Adam's sin. It is true that many people died because of the sin of that one man. But God's grace is much greater, and so is his free gift to so many people through the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ. 16And there is a difference between God's gift and the sin of one man. After the one sin, came the judgement of “Guilty”; but after so many sins, comes the undeserved gift of “Not guilty!” 17It is true that through the sin of one man death began to rule because of that one man. But how much greater is the result of what was done by the one man, Jesus Christ! All who receive God's abundant grace and are freely put right with him will rule in life through Christ.

18So then, as the one sin condemned all people, in the same way the one righteous act sets all people free and gives them life. 19And just as the mass of people were made sinners as the result of the disobedience of one man, in the same way the mass of people will all be put right with God as the result of the obedience of the one man.

20Law was introduced in order to increase wrongdoing; but where sin increased, God's grace increased much more. 21So then, just as sin ruled by means of death, so also God's grace rules by means of righteousness, leading us to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Dead to Sin but Alive in Union with Christ

1What shall we say, then? Should we continue to live in sin so that God's grace will increase? 2Certainly not! We have died to sin — how then can we go on living in it? 3For surely you know that when we were baptized into union with Christ Jesus, we were baptized into union with his death. 4By our baptism, then, we were buried with him and shared his death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from death by the glorious power of the Father, so also we might live a new life.

5For since we have become one with him in dying as he did, in the same way we shall be one with him by being raised to life as he was. 6And we know that our old being has been put to death with Christ on his cross, in order that the power of the sinful self might be destroyed, so that we should no longer be the slaves of sin. 7For when people die, they are set free from the power of sin. 8Since we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that Christ has been raised from death and will never die again — death will no longer rule over him. 10And so, because he died, sin has no power over him; and now he lives his life in fellowship with God. 11In the same way you are to think of yourselves as dead, so far as sin is concerned, but living in fellowship with God through Christ Jesus.

12Sin must no longer rule in your mortal bodies, so that you obey the desires of your natural self. 13Nor must you surrender any part of yourselves to sin to be used for wicked purposes. Instead, give yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life, and surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes. 14Sin must not be your master; for you do not live under law but under God's grace.

Slaves of Righteousness

15What, then? Shall we sin, because we are not under law but under God's grace? By no means! 16Surely you know that when you surrender yourselves as slaves to obey someone, you are in fact the slaves of the master you obey — either of sin, which results in death, or of obedience, which results in being put right with God. 17But thanks be to God! For though at one time you were slaves to sin, you have obeyed with all your heart the truths found in the teaching you received. 18You were set free from sin and became the slaves of righteousness. 19(I use everyday language because of the weakness of your natural selves.) At one time you surrendered yourselves entirely as slaves to impurity and wickedness for wicked purposes. In the same way you must now surrender yourselves entirely as slaves of righteousness for holy purposes.

20When you were the slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. 21What did you gain from doing the things that you are now ashamed of? The result of those things is death! 22But now you have been set free from sin and are the slaves of God. Your gain is a life fully dedicated to him, and the result is eternal life. 23For sin pays its wage — death; but God's free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.

An Illustration from Marriage

1Certainly you will understand what I am about to say, my brothers and sisters, because all of you know about law. The law rules over people only as long as they live. 2A married woman, for example, is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives; but if he dies, then she is free from the law that bound her to him. 3So then, if she lives with another man while her husband is alive, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is legally a free woman and does not commit adultery if she marries another man. 4That is how it is with you, my sisters and brothers. As far as the Law is concerned, you also have died because you are part of the body of Christ; and now you belong to him who was raised from death in order that we might be useful in the service of God. 5For when we lived according to our human nature, the sinful desires stirred up by the Law were at work in our bodies, and all we did ended in death. 6Now, however, we are free from the Law, because we died to that which once held us prisoners. No longer do we serve in the old way of a written law, but in the new way of the Spirit.

Law and Sin

7Shall we say, then, that the Law itself is sinful? Of course not! But it was the Law that made me know what sin is. If the Law had not said, “Do not desire what belongs to someone else,” I would not have known such a desire. 8But by means of that commandment sin found its chance to stir up all kinds of selfish desires in me. Apart from law, sin is a dead thing. 9I myself was once alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life, 10and I died. And the commandment which was meant to bring life, in my case brought death. 11Sin found its chance, and by means of the commandment it deceived me and killed me.

12So then, the Law itself is holy, and the commandment is holy, right, and good. 13But does this mean that what is good caused my death? By no means! It was sin that did it; by using what is good, sin brought death to me, in order that its true nature as sin might be revealed. And so, by means of the commandment sin is shown to be even more terribly sinful.

The Conflict within Us

14We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do; for I don't do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate. 16Since what I do is what I don't want to do, this shows that I agree that the Law is right. 17So I am not really the one who does this thing; rather it is the sin that lives in me. 18I know that good does not live in me — that is, in my human nature. For even though the desire to do good is in me, I am not able to do it. 19I don't do the good I want to do; instead, I do the evil that I do not want to do. 20If I do what I don't want to do, this means that I am no longer the one who does it; instead, it is the sin that lives in me.

21So I find that this law is at work: when I want to do what is good, what is evil is the only choice I have. 22My inner being delights in the law of God. 23But I see a different law at work in my body — a law that fights against the law which my mind approves of. It makes me a prisoner to the law of sin which is at work in my body. 24What an unhappy man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is taking me to death? 25Thanks be to God, who does this through our Lord Jesus Christ!

This, then, is my condition: on my own I can serve God's law only with my mind, while my human nature serves the law of sin.

Romans 4:1-7:25GNBOpen in Bible reader
Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.15
Find us on