Be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.
–Galatians 3:7

In Romans 2, Paul revealed that everyone needs salvation that comes only through faith in Christ. Starting in verse 17, Paul named several excuses that religious people often use to say, “I do not need Jesus Christ.”

One excuse that religious people say is this: “Examine my religious heritage.” Romans 2:17 is addressed to those who “bear the name ‘Jew’ and rely upon the Law and boast in God.” The Jew said, “Look at me, I am a Jew. I do not need Jesus Christ.” The Jew thought because he was a descendant of Abraham that he ought to be okay with God. There are many Jews who think that today. They think it is their special relationship to Abraham that ensures their salvation. Now, in biblical times, there were benefits to being a Jew and belonging to God’s covenant people. In Genesis 12:3, God said to Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” Being a Jew meant that you got to share in some of God’s national blessings to Israel. But being a Jew did not automatically make you a believer. Being a physical descendant of Abraham did not ensure that everything was okay between you and God. Over and over again, the New Testament teaches that it is not a Jew’s physical relationship to Abraham but his spiritual relationship to Abraham that makes an eternal difference.

Paul said in Galatians 3:7-9, “Be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations will be blessed in you.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.” Salvation is not a result of a Jew’s physical relationship to Abraham but a result of his spiritual relationship to Abraham. Yet, as is still true today, many people thought that being an ethnic Jew, a religious Jew, made you right with God.

There are many people who believe that same thing today, not just about Judaism but about Christianity as well. Many people have the idea, “If you are born in a Christian home, then that makes you a Christian.” There are many Christians who embrace the idea that being in a Christian family makes you a Christian. But being in a Christian family does not make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car. Jesus said in John 3:3, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” You have to have an individual faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what saves you.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How to Be a Christian without Being Religious” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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