Saving Faith Trusts in Christ Alone
These are the readings for the Second Sunday in Lent.
(This Worship Help aligns with the lectionary readings from Christian Worship 1993 and Christian Worship: Supplement.)
God’s Word for This Week
We cannot see into other people’s hearts, but we can discern Christian faith by its fruits in words and actions. God tells us that love, joy, peace, patience, and more make up the fruit of faith. (See Galatians 5:22,23.) If we truly have crossed over from death to life, it will show in love for others, as James has written: “I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:18).
Traditional First Lesson – Deuteronomy 30:9-14
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.
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 a 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”? (See 12:7) Why does he not appear visibly to us today?
We’re not sure of the exact appearance, but it seems to be visible. 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”? (See 4:22.)
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.