Grace Extending

ivy and oak

As we talked about this past Sunday, what is striking about Paul's argument in Romans 4 is not simply the idea of being justified (right with God as one declared innocent) by faith, but that Paul goes on to describe the hope-inspiring, endurance-producing nature of this saving faith; the fact we can “grow strong” (4:20) in faith, no matter what is happening to us or around us. And Abraham's example, as detailed by Paul in Romans 4, reminds us how faith is connected to God's promises. This idea should drive each of us to pray for and pursue a strengthened faith in light of such promises.

Matthew Mead was an independent English pastor who lived from 1630 to 1699. Listen to how he describes walking by saving faith, in light of God's promises in Christ:

Believers have comfort to live upon that the world knows nothing about. We have the comfort of God's promises. And what do you think is best, to live upon earthly pleasures, or upon the promises of God? The earthly are yes and no, but the promises are yes and amen. The earthly are deceitful, but the promises are sure and faithful. The earthly feed but sense, but the promises fill the soul. He that lives upon the promises, lives by faith, and the life of faith is the only safe and true life in the world. As the weak ivy secures itself by twisting about the great oak, so we are secure by cleaving to the great God. The life of sense is full of disappointments like a deceitful brook. To live on the promises of God is the only quiet life. The life of sense is full of distracting cares and vexations, but the soul that lives by faith becomes a calm.... Sense drinks out of the muddy channel, but faith out of the fountainhead. Faith fixes the soul upon God, and is safe. We are free from the burdens of sin and trouble. Faith rests upon Christ's righteousness and takes off the burden of care by resting upon God's providence. Ah, my beloved, there is no comfort to be compared to the life of faith. The life of faith precedes from God and His never changing promises. Our comforts may change, but Christ never changes.” (from A Name in Heaven)


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