Summary: Some thoughts about trust and friendship as it relates to our relationship with God.
Friendship and Promises
Intro: Last week we looked at Romans 4:1-8 and talked about the fact that We cannot cover our own tab! Justice requires payment for our sin, but we can no more pay for our own sins than our nation can pay off the national debt! We also considered the fact that God owes us nothing! Yet, because He loves us, He picked up the tab for us – if we trust Him.
-Today we plan to finish the rest of the chapter. In the next several verses we come across the word “promise” 5 times. A promise is an announcement of what a person will do. However, there is strength in this announcement because it comes with a commitment to actually carry the intended action out. There are certain things that I do not make promises about. I often promise to do my best to remember something. However, my memory has let me down a time or two. I don’t like to make promises that I cannot keep.
-However, the important things in life call for promises and commitments. Ladies, how would you like it if during your wedding, your husband responded to the vows by saying, “I’ll try.” Or “We’ll see how things play out”? No! A promise is very appropriate when two people come together in marriage. They may not know what they are getting into, but love isn’t love without commitment.
-The same goes for our relationship with God! He already knows us and loves us and did so before we ever responded to Him. So, He gave us some great and precious promises, and if we believe Him, our relationship with Him will grow and flourish. Now, today’s focus isn’t on our promises we make to God, but let me just say that is an important area as well. We can make a bunch of lofty promises to God, but the main ones He is after is that we promise to love, trust, and obey Him. So let’s take a look at some thoughts about trust and friendship as it relates to our relationship with God.
1. There is a relationship worth having (9-12)
9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
-There are a lot of relationships a person can have, but the single most important relationship we can have is the one we have with our Creator! Did you know that everybody has a relationship with God? They may not know it, but everybody does! Unfortunately, not everyone has a right relationship with God. Romans 5:10 speaks of the fact that we were all enemies with God. That is a relationship, but not one that you would want! The kind of relationship God wants us to have with Him is the kind Abraham found. James 2:23 says, “‘ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,’ and he was called the friend of God.” In John 15:15 Jesus called His disciples His “friends” because He had shared the Father’s love with them.
-So, there is a friendship worth having! This is the blessedness David is describing in Psalms 32, which Paul quotes back in vv.7-8. It is possible to be friends with our Creator! And one thing I’ve noticed about friendships – they don’t work too well without interaction and trust. In fact, I think the more interaction friends have, the more they are able to trust each other. The more interaction you have with God, the more you will be able to trust Him. So even if you haven’t made a commitment to follow Jesus yet, I would encourage you to start interacting with Him. Talk to Him. Ask Him the questions that are bothering you! Listen for Him to speak to your heart and mind. Read His book, the Bible. Get to know what He loves and what He hates and how He treats people so much better than they deserve! Get to know Him and you will begin to trust Him because He is very trustworthy!
-Friendship with God is worth having because it opens you up to His righteousness. It doesn’t matter if you are Jewish or not! Abraham became God’s friend some 13 years before He was circumcised. Paul says circumcision was only a sign of the righteousness that was already on Abraham’s account. When you become a friend of God by getting to know Him, and trust Him, He declares you righteous. He does this based on the friendship you share with Him, not based on your good behavior or clean record, or your Jewish ancestry. And friendship with God is only possible because of what Jesus did on the cross for you and me! Even Abraham’s friendship with God was based on what Jesus would do on the cross over 2000 years later.