How Are We Saved? The Importance of the Words We Use (Wed. June 22)

The word of the day is “imputed.” How can we put the meaning of our salvation into words? As God’s mercy is infinite, so his work of salvation is beyond human comprehension. Today in our reading of Romans 4:13-25, we find Paul’s understanding of what the Lord has done for our salvation. He writes, Abraham’s faith was “accounted to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead…” (OSB vs. 22-24). Today, we will study the words Paul uses to describe how we become righteous before God. We…

God’s Mercy Surpasses His Justice (Tues. June 21)

The word of the day is “accounted.”   When we hear that God “accounts” faith as righteousness, we are likely to think of our salvation in terms of a law court. And if we use this metaphor for understanding the work of Christ for our justification, we may think of it as a legal acquittal of the debt we owe God for our sins.  Today we reconsider what Paul means when he says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness” (OSB 4:3).  We will present a contrasting view to the usual emphasis on justice.  This perspective stresses the mercy of God, His active benevolence that brings us into a restored relationship with Him. In today’s reading of…

God Is Not to Blame for Human Fault (Mon. June 20)

The word of the day is “blame.” Today’s reading from Romans 2:28-3:18 involves us in Paul’s complex discussion about the rejection of many Jews to the Gospel. The question is who is to blame for the unfaithfulness of the Jews? God had given them his “oracles,” that is, His words (Strong’s 3051, 152). In these messages, the Almighty had shown them special favor. St. John Chrysostom says that “the honor that God treated them was so great that even when He saw what would come thereof, He withheld not His goodwill toward them” (NfPf1:11, 373). Thus, God’s forbearance demonstrated His faithfulness. Unbelief Does not Nullify the Faithfulness of God Yet, according to Chrysostom, the Jews “made the honors bestowed on…

Wondrous In His Saints (Sun. June 19)

The word for today is “wondrous.” Today on All Saints Sunday we commemorate the saints who have gone before us. And during Matins (Morning Prayer), we sing “God is wondrous in His saints.”[i] From a worldly viewpoint, we might ask what is “wondrous” about the trials of the saints? What is so glorious about the suffering that we read about in today’s reading of Hebrews 11:33-12:2? Our commentary will explain how the saints are wonderful as they give glory to God. The Glories of the Saints In this well-known passage from Hebrews 11, the apostle recounts the astounding examples of the saints of the Old Testament. Through faith these holy ones subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths…

Blessings Multiplied by Meeting Together (June 18)

The word of the day is “mutual.” It is hard to explain to non-church goers how much of a privilege it is to worship together with our fellow members of the Body of Christ. Perhaps, Paul’s example can help us explain. In today’s reading of Romans 1:7-12, Paul expresses his eager hope to meet in person with the believers in Rome. We learn from him that mutual encouragement is one of the most precious blessings of joining with others in worship, study, and fellowship. Today’s passage takes us back to the beginning of the Epistle to the Romans. To begin his letter, St. Paul introduces himself as a servant of Christ and an apostle. Then he addresses the faithful in…

God Shows No Favoritism (Fri. June 17)

The word for today is “alike.” Justice is blind. It does not discriminate but treats all alike. That is our ideal. But does it apply to the judgments of God? In today’s reading of Romans 2:14-24, Paul answers the Jews who “rest on the law.” They boast that they “know His will” and are “instructed out of the law” (OSB vs. 18). Therefore, they think that the Almighty Creator of the world treats them differently. His promises are for them and not others who are outside the covenant. If the Gentiles want a share in these promises, they must be circumcised and become Jews. Then they would be qualified to be part of God’s Chosen People to whom God sent…

God Does not Accept Excuses: He Desires Repentance (Thurs. June 16)

The word of the day is “repentance.”  It is the nature of sin that it not only committed transgressions but excuses them. Humans have many ways of rationalizing, overlooking, and trivializing their sins even while they judge others who do the same things.  But in our reading of Romans 1:28-2:9 today, Paul declares unequivocally, “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself” (OSB vs. 2:1). Today we find that Paul cuts through all the ways that humans dismiss the seriousness of their sins and disregard the inevitable divine judgment against them. We learn that if we have escaped the anger of God for our transgressions, it is only…

All Believers Called To Be Priests Wed. June 15)

The word of the day is “worship.”  What is sin?  What is so wrong in God’s sight that it merits His judgment, even His wrath.  Some might answer killing, stealing, sexual immorality, lying, and coveting.  Others might say it is  hate, prejudice, and injustice.  Still others might answer sloth, lust, despair, and idle talk.  But note what St. Paul says in our reading of Romans 1:18-27, [They] exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. All People Are Called to Be Priests The sins that deserve the judgment of God have to do with worship.  They are not sins against our neighbor but sins against what…

The Difference Between Preaching with Weakness and Proclaiming with Power (Tues. June 14)

The word of the day is “ashamed.”  In this time of cynicism, we are tempted to stifle our witness to our faith because we fear it would not be understood or even ridiculed.  If we face such a temptation, we should pay attention to St. Paul’s words in our reading of Romans 1:1-7; 13-17.  Paul begins his epistle with the bold statement, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel” (OSB vs. 16).  Today, as we start reading the book of Romans, we find that if the Gospel is proclaimed with boldness, it has power.  But if it is preached with conformity to the world, it is weak. Glorying in the Gospel St. Paul’s letter to the Romans is the…

Making Good Out of Evil Days (Mon. June 13)

The word of the day is “days.”  As our world staggers from one crisis to another, we are tempted to despair.  We might say to ourselves that there is nothing that we can do about the turmoil of our times.  Yet, our reading of Ephesians 5:9-19 encourages us that we can respond faithfully to the chaos surrounding us.  Thus, Paul exhorts us “to walk circumspectly… redeeming the time because the days are evil” (vs. 15).  Today we consider what it means to “redeem” what otherwise is an evil time. The Day is Not Evil by Nature Why does Paul call the day in which we live “evil”?  Are things that bad?  The Greek term “evil” refers to the effect or…