“What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about-but not before God. What does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.'” (Romans 4:1-3, NIV2)
Bankcards can be quite handy, especially when you are strolling through an outdoor market in France, you find just the perfect gift, and then you realize you don’t have any more cash! No problem! Just go to the nearest bank and get some!
But did you know that ATMS can all be linked to different networks? PLUS, Cirrus, Maestro, etc., and a bankcard is only good at an ATM connected with your bank’s own network!
We found ourselves in exactly this situation while visiting the open air market in Dinan, France. There were so many nice things, and the prices were so reasonable that we quickly ran out of cash.
No problem! We had our bankcard, and there was a bank right there in the square!
The only problem was, when I inserted my bankcard in the ATM, I received the message of doom: “Funds denied!” Though no explanation was given, the ATM was clearly not connected with the PLUS network, the network associated with our card.
But if we wished to continue to enjoy ourselves in the street market, we needed that cash. We located a tourism bureau nearby, and they gave us a map indicating the location of every bank in the area. Unfortunately, none of these carried the PLUS logo on their ATMs either! We were in for many more messages of doom: “Funds denied!”
We finally found a bank just outside the old city of Dinan that displayed the PLUS sign at their ATM. Our persistence paid off. And it was a good thing, because if we hadn’t found that bank, we would have had but two choices: Abandon the outdoor market; or hold out a hat while I serenaded the town. My wife wouldn’t have been very happy with me if I had taken the first choice, and I might have received a few rotten tomatoes in the face if I had chosen the second! Yup, my voice is that bad! Just ask my kids! So all in all, it was good we found the bank!
This made me think . . . We too have a spiritual bankcard. It’s also known as “the Bible”. The only problem is, we often tend to try to bank at the wrong establishments. The “popular” establishment, the one that is well known among the people, does not let us withdraw any spiritual funds! Its name? Works.
The problem with works is that we invest a lot of time, but we get nothing in return. Why “works” isn’t even insured by the key Financer in heaven!
Others bank at an institution called “indifference”. They invest on the assumption that the spiritual bank in heaven is generous enough, and whenever needed, salvation funds will be forthcoming. But just like any bank, no funds, no cash.
Abraham was right to bank on faith. After all, our spiritual bank is not based on monetary funds, but on trusting our God with all of our hearts, souls and minds. Our relationship with Him not only manifests an abundance of love towards mankind, but assures us an abundance of funds available to us, ones that are rightly named “righteousness”.
We may be banking with the wrong bankcard. We better take some time and assure ourselves that our spiritual funds are invested according to the Master Financer. After all, He is the One who made salvation possible. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, NIV2)
Banking anywhere else is insulting to the Master Financer. He is the One who invested in us, and not the other way around!
What will you do about it?
(To access the entire “Radical Grace From the Book of Romans” devotional series, please click here.)