Years ago I attended two churches in the same community.
One congregation had about 3,000 members, while the
other boasted just over 300. Both congregations were having
celebrations of their ministries. When I attended the larger of
the two churches, the lead pastor proudly proclaimed, “Let us
celebrate together all the good and wonderful work we are doing
for God!” The lay leader of the smaller church framed it a little
differently. She said, “Friends, let us celebrate together all the
amazing things that God is doing through us!”

There is a significant difference between what we do for
God and what God does through us. Both may have multiple
benefits and make a positive impact, but they illustrate for us
the difference between justification through works and justification
by faith. Doing good work for God is great. We honor God
by taking actions that we believe please God. But we express a
completely different level of faith when we surrender our own
will to allow God to use us as God wills.

It is impossible to judge Abraham and other fathers and
mothers of the faith from Hebrew scriptures by works. So
much of what they did lies beyond our comprehension. Moses,
Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, and David, for example, undertook
challenges that make absolutely no sense apart from faith.
Opposing Pharaoh, leaving home and country, wrestling with
angels, taking on giants—these actions display foolishness and
recklessness apart from a deep and abiding faith. The works are
nothing more or less than expressions of the core beliefs and
trust of the individuals. By and through such faith we are justified
before God. What we do does not validate our belief; what
we believe allows God to do in us that which most needs doing.

Gracious God, may I remember that I can do little for you that will make a great difference; but working through me, you can do things that can change the world. Amen.

Rece las Escrituras usando Leccionario en Audio
Leer John 3:1-17

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Leccionario Semanal
March 6–12, 2017
Resumen de la Escritura

Faith in God and deliverance by God are themes that dominate these scriptures. Abraham casts aside all baser loyalties and in daring fashion entrusts life and well- being to God’s care. Abraham follows God’s initiatives into new realms of loyalty and purpose. Paul reminds us that while Abraham models good works, his righteousness results from his faith. Nicodemus models an Abraham who has yet to leave Ur of the Chaldees. Nicodemus’s comprehension of God’s initiatives is shallow and sterile. The psalm for this day greets with joy God’s invitation to renewal.

Preguntas para la reflexión

• Read Genesis 12:1-4a. How is God calling you to leave behind the familiar for some new opportunity?
• Read Psalm 121. What aspect of this psalm draws your attention? What offers you comfort and hope? To whom do you turn for help?
• Read Romans 4:1-5, 13-17. What distinction do you draw between your doing great things for God and God’s doing great things through you?
• Read John 3:1-17. What experience does the phrase born again bring to your mind? Does it foster positive notions? In what ways do you evidence your baptism in the Spirit?

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