“A Favour” ( Romans 4: 4-5, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


Ever done a favor for someone; perhaps even for a stranger, someone who may have knocked at your window at a stoplight to ask for money? Paul says this is what God does for us, strangers, even enemies. God does a favor for us! He makes sinners “just men.” We are not due this favor; we do not earn it. In other words, our salvation is not a reward. Rather it is a favor.

The reward given to one who works to earn it is not reckoned as a favour, it is reckoned as his due. When a man’s faith is reckoned virtue in him, according to God’s gracious plan, it is not because of anything he does; it is because he has faith, faith in the God who makes a just man of the sinner.

We gain God’s favor by recognizing, if you will – by believing that it is a favor. We recognize and believe God does us this favor “according to [His] gracious plan.” Paul says that “it is not because of anything [we do].” Yes, it’s a favor.

 

“Born Again” ( 1 Peter 1: 22, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“Love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you are born again — not of perishable seed but of imperishable — through the living and enduring Word of God.”

If we are in Christ, then you and I are born again. Jesus tells Nicodemus that unless he “is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) “Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed”, says Jesus, “that I tell you that you must be born again.” (John 3:6)

Jesus says to the Samaritan woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks from this [well] water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water I give him will never get thirsty again — ever! In fact, the water I give him becomes a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

If we are in Christ, then you and I are born again of water and Spirit, and we have eternal life “springing up within [us].”

The seed we hold within — “the living and enduring Word” — germinates, grows, buds, blossoms. “For the Word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword.” (Hebrews 4:12) Given that the Word of God dwells within us, let us be fragrant to our Lord, “loving one another earnestly from a pure heart.”