Saving Faith Trusts in Christ Alone
These are the readings for the Second Sunday of Lent.
God’s Word for This Week
For most of us who have been acquainted with Christian teachings for many years, it’s an easy question. How are we saved? Answer: Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. But for thousands of years, people didn’t have the knowledge of Jesus Christ. They knew only of a Messiah to come. Nonetheless, their faith was placed in the promise of God to send a Savior, and that faith—a forward-looking faith—was credited to them as the righteousness that God demands to enter heaven.
The gift of God comes by faith to all nations. Not a holy life, not acts of obedience, but simple trust in the promise of God brings the gift of living water for thirsty souls. Abraham believed God’s promise and so became not only the father of a nation, but the forefather of the Promised Seed who would bless all peoples. He had faith in God who justifies the wicked, and so God credited it to him as righteousness. By this same faith, Christ gives righteousness to all who believe and enfolds sinful Samaritans and modern Gentiles like us into the family of God.
First Lesson – Genesis 12:1-8
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith. How is Abram (Abraham) a good example of a faith-filled man? (Compare Hebrews 11:8-19)
If faith is “being certain of what we do not see,” then Abraham is a prime example. He left home at God’s command to go to a destination he didn’t know; he believed without question in the incredible promise of child in his old age through whom the Savior would come; he proceeded unwaveringly when God asked him to sacrifice that very child. Oh, for the faith of Abraham!
How did God “appear to Abram”? (verse 7) Why does he not appear visibly to us today?
We’re not sure of the exact appearance, but it seems to be visibly. Today God reveals himself to us in his Word, though he could at any time reveal himself to us in another way.
Second Lesson – Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
According to Paul, how was Abraham justified? (Compare Galatians 3:6-9)
The Jews taught that Abraham was a model of good works and was justified through them. But Paul is clear that Abraham was justified in God’s sight by faith in God’s promises.
The promised Seed was intended for the children of Abraham. Are we included?
While we may not be “blood” descendants of Abraham (ethnic Jews), Scripture says we are all Abraham’s children through faith. The promises given to him are ensured for us.
Gospel – John 4:5-26
How was Samaritan woman a recipient of God’s grace?
As for all of us, she received God’s grace by faith in the Savior. Her background was as part of a people opposed to Jewish customs, especially those concerning worship, but Jesus tells her that ethnic background nor worship practices make any real difference. It is faith alone in the promised Savior, and Jesus declares, “I am he.”
Explain how “salvation is from the Jews”? (Verse 22)
The Jews were God’s chosen people in the Old Testament to be the physical ancestors of the Messiah. It was from their line that the Savior would come.