“We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! And he received circumcision as a sign, 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. And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.” (Romans 4:9b-12, NIV2)
I have been called many names throughout my life. Some very flattering, and some, equally well-deserved, not so complimentary. While teaching in Haiti some called me Teacher. I liked this title. At least I liked it much better than the alternative, because for some reason, many in Haiti called me Master. Why? For the sole reason that I had a Master’s degree in Theology! To me the title wasn’t important, but it seemed important to these people to respect the position that had been bestowed on me.
The title that touches me the most though is “daddy”. Many in Africa consider me to be their spiritual father, based on 1 Cor. 4:14-15: “I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.” After all, our ministry is a ministry of hope, and hope is always welcomed with open arms. Still, I don’t consider that I deserve such a title, for I am truly nothing but a messenger. The One who deserves the full title of Father is God Himself, the One who pursues us with His everlasting love and nurtures us through His Holy Spirit.
Abraham received a well-deserved title from God Himself, and no one else can claim that title. It belongs only to Abraham: “father of all who believe”, “circumcised” and “uncircumcised”. Faith is placed completely in the only deserving One, Our Father in heaven, who is the One who can literally move mountains.
And faith to move mountains Abraham did possess. It’s true that at one time he erred a bit, under the suggestion of his wife, but he never doubted that God’s promise of an heir would be forthcoming! He was quite up in years when this promise was fulfilled. That’s real faith! He also didn’t hesitate to sacrifice his promised son on Mount Moriah, trusting God completely and knowing that He could raise him back up. That’s true faith, so exemplary that Abraham became “the father of all who believe”. We can have such a faith as well, when we depend solely on God. Any other kind of faith falls short and will leave us wanting.
The name I like beyond anything else is the name “son”. This has been provided to me and you as well, by God Himself who is our real Father, “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father’.” (Galatians 4:6, NIV2)
What title do we really deserve? A flattering one? Or one we prefer to hide from? It’s up to us to determine in which direction we are heading. No better title can be given than “My son”, especially when it comes from God Himself. This is a title we truly don’t deserve, but one procured through the sacrifice from the Son of God Himself. Wow! We truly have someone who cares for us: Our real Daddy!
Thank you Lord for loving us so much that you consider us your very own sons and daughters. Thank you for Your sacrifice on the cross and for planning our bright futures with You. You are the hope of our generation! We love you!
(To access the entire “Radical Grace From the Book of Romans” devotional series, please click here.)