Counted to You for Righteousness
Thursday of Pentecost 7
7 July 2016
Abram received His Isaac as promised by the Lord God, but can you name one thing that Isaac did that was memorable? Isaac was a bit of a disappointment in spite of the build up! He was a mama's boy and a gourmand. So which offspring was God promising to Abram in Genesis 15? None other than our Lord Jesus Christ, the very Son of God and Son of Mary. God tends to disappoint our faulty human expectations for the purpose of gaining His glory in the midst of weakness. He has come using preachers with their weaknesses and foibles. He has come in His preached Word, mere speech. He has come through baptizing our children in the death and resurrection of Christ. He has come under bread and wine with His body and blood for us Christians to eat and to drink.

A bit of bread and a little wine don't look like much, do they? Neither did Isaac. Neither did Elizabeth. Neither did Mary. Nor Mary's Son. Yet, because Christ says that the bread and wine are His body and blood, great things will happen here in this place. The promise to Abram is a promise fulfilled in Christ and yours to inherit. You cannot see the stars now, but they are all around you in the great cloud of witnesses you can't see (Heb 12:1); created by God's counting. God promises. And you can't get better than that.

One town doesn't seem like much. One little parish is not that big of a deal. One little boy is promised to a Bedouin father. One little Child is born to a peasant mother in a tiny Judean village. You don't look like much, but all this God considers great and counts it to you for righteousness. God's doing is the basis for His counting you righteous.
Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther

"How, then, did Abraham obtain righteousness? In this way: God speaks, and Abraham believes what God is saying. Moreover, the Holy Spirit comes as a trustworthy witness and declares that this very believing or this very faith is righteousness or is imputed by God Himself as righteousness and is regarded by Him as such.

"But because the words which the Lord is speaking relate especially to Christ, the spiritual Seed, Paul unfolds this mystery and declares clearly that righteousness comes through faith in Christ (Gal 2:16). Let us, then, accept this statement and not allow ourselves to be dislodged from it by the ragings of Satan and the popes." 

Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis, 15.6
Galatians 2:15-21

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not!  For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (ESV)
Lord Jesus, You are our righteousness. Send Your Spirit that we might believe all that You have said to us on the lips of the prophets and apostles. Amen.

For William Crofford, that the Lord Jesus would grant him the peace that surpasses all human understanding

For all those workers providing domestic service, that they might find joy in their vocation and rejoice in the help and support it gives to those whom it serves

For all those who are shut in, that they would have the joy that comes from knowing the Savior who comes to them
Art: Durer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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