I am Your Father! (Lent 12-2013)

Vader: No, I am your father!

 Luke: No! No! That’s not true. That’s impossible!

Iconic dialogue from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, it is often quoted as “Luke, I am your father!” because the plot’s twist was so meme-able, not to mention memorable.  Even so, it fails to capture the suspense we encountered when the sequel film was released (1980),  as we endured three long years–griping about its ending and waiting for Return of the Jedi (1983) to find out whether it was a Darth Vader trick or true fatherhood, fictionally speaking.

Today’s passage Romans 4:16-25 is kind of like that…it’s all about Abraham’s fatherhood and the role of fatherhood in Abraham’s faith being credited as righteousness.

In a surprising plot twist, Paul argues that Abraham was not only the father of the chosen people, the father of the promised seed (Isaac), but also the father of all those who would receive the promise in the same way Abraham did: by faith! 

For the Jewish people today, Abraham is their father—the great patriarch of the Jewish people—but also their father in terms of faith, if they believe God like Abraham did.

Romans 4:16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.

For any Jewish people who felt that salvation was their inheritance alone—their right because of their Jewish heritage—Paul pulls together his closing argument on the case for grace.

Grace isn’t earned. 

Grace resides not in heritage, club, or church membership. 

Grace cannot be bought or extorted. 

Grace is a gift.

It is unmerited favor.  It comes by faith in the promise God made to Abraham and his offspring to send a Deliverer–the Seed promised all the way back in Genesis–a Redeemer, a Messiah!

Grace invites all to hear the Gospel, to respond by faith in God and in His Promised Messiah.  Whether Jewish or Gentile believers, Abraham is our father.

* * *

Give it up for Lent: Trust in heritage and Unbelief

* * *

For futher study, read also Galatians 3:14-28

  1. How is Paul saying the same thing in today’s passage as in Galatians?
  2. Going back to the concept of rights and privileges,  how does family heritage create the perception of exclusivity and keep us from seeing the need to share this grace with others?
  3. If you’re Jewish, how do you feel about Gentiles claiming Abraham as their father, too?  If you’re a Gentile, how will you respond to the privilege of sharing the Messiah with others?
  4. Read John 8:25-47.  Jesus takes this idea of fatherhood and faith to a shocking step farther.  How would you describe the listener reactions to the truth as Jesus presents it?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on February 26, 2013

Social Networks: RSS Facebook Twitter Google del.icio.us Stumble Upon Digg Reddit

Leave a Reply