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Faith: A look at Romans 4:13-25

A Lent Reflection for Sunday, February 25 by Jillian Evans

Lectionary reading for 2/25/2024: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16; Psalm 22:23-31; Romans 4:13-25  •  Mark 8:31-38 or Mark 9:2-9

Selected passage for reflection: Romans 4:13-25 NIV 


Romans 4:13-25 NIV

13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”[a] He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”[b] 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.


Here’s a true story: David grew up in a family that went to church every Sunday in their Sunday best. But outside of church, David’s parents were not living a life pleasing to God. As he grew, he rebelled against Godly teachings to the point that he found himself in trouble with the law. This led to him being grounded at home and there was only one place he was allowed to go other than school - to church with his grandma. Years of hard living showed on his body through scars and tattoos. David did not expect that his outer appearance would be accepted by churchgoers because of his earlier dealings with the church. Much to his surprise he was accepted by the church and nourished by the body of Christ. While a member of this church, David felt the call of ministry on his life. When he told the ministers of the call placed on his life he was once again rejected because of his outer appearance. He was told that tattoos were not acceptable in the pulpit. Through their faith in God, David and his wife kept the faith that David was called to ministry and remained open to finding a church home where he could live out his call. They eventually found a church where people are accepted for their faith and not their looks.

In chapter 14 of Romans, Paul is mainly addressing the Jews but the lesson is for everyone: Faith is more important than the law. Most Jewish people believe that in order to please stay in covenant with G-d, they must keep the Law. As Christians, we believe in salvation through our faith in the Holy Trinity. God’s covenant with Abraham was dependent upon his faith in God and not how well he kept the law. Despite the years that had gone past, Abraham kept the faith that God’s promises would come true. 

David’s family was more concerned with outward appearances than living out their faith in God's teaching, so much so that they pushed David away from God for a period of his life. Do you spend more time worrying about presenting as a perfect Christian versus planning your quiet time with God? Are you walking in faith or is your walk dependent upon how others see you? Are you more concerned with following the law than having faith in God’s Word for your life?

Let’s honor God with our walk and our faith. Seek God to order your steps in life and believe that He Will.


With Romans:4:13-25 in your mind, take about 10 minutes to do a visio divina using this abstract painting. Visio Divina — “sacred seeing” — is an ancient form of Christian prayer in which we allow our hearts and imaginations to enter into a sacred image, in silence, to see what God might have to say to us. In the past, many people used icons or other "sacred" pieces of art for this practice, but any art or image can be a space to meet with God.

Visio Divina

How to pray with Visio Divina

  • Prepare: Choose an image to contemplate.  (I have chosen an abstract for us.) Close your eyes, breathe, clear your mind

  • Lectio (read): Open your eyes and scan the image. Note what draws your interest, but continue to scan the whole image. Close your eyes and rest a minute.

  • Meditatio (meditate): Open your eyes and let your eyes be led. Focus on just one part of the image and name it. Close your eyes, seeing that piece of the image in your mind.

  • Oratio (pray): Open your eyes and look again at the pieve of the image that caught your eye. Allow it to bring forth a word, image or emotion. Close your eyes and rest.

  • Contemplatio (contemplation): Open your eyes and gaze at the image. What is God speaking to you today through this image? Write down or share your experience.


Dear God, 

Grant me the fortitude to live according to your Word and not earthly expectations. Help me to open my heart to receive your guidance. God help me to exercise faith in all that I do. I petition you for strength to live according to your Word in all my days. Amen

About the Author 

Jillian Evans resides in Chicago, Illinois with her husband. They have three young adult children. She is passionate about ministering to children, youth and their families. She spends her days traveling, doing spiritual direction and ministering to youth. Jillian holds degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and North Park Theological Seminary as well as a certificate in Spiritual Direction from C. John Weborg Center for Spiritual Direction at NPTS.

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1 commentaire

melanie myatt
melanie myatt
25 févr.

What a powerful image! Thank you for sharing it. You have given me a lot to think about.

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