January 29th, 2007
Work hard, get good academic results, do the right thing, and you’ll get a job, then you’ll get promoted, and you’ll succeed in life. That’s the message that we tend to absorb, subconsciously or consciously, from our teachers at school. But that’s not the whole story, and it’s maybe not even the most important part of the story. Most jobs involve people skills, and the degree of your success is more dependent on your people skills than on your intellectual or physical skills. If all you have to go on is your own skills, then you can’t hope to compete with someone else who is able to harness the skills of a whole range of different people.
Paulâ€™s Letter to the Romans — Chapter 4
4:1 What can we say that our ancestor Abraham discovered? 4:2 If Abraham was justified by his good deeds, he has something to boast about, but not as far as God is concerned. 4:3 What does the Scripture say? â€œAbraham believed God, and that was regarded as righteousness.â€ 4:4 When someone does a job, the salary is not regarded as a gift, but as something which has been earned. 4:5 But when someone does not work, but believes in God who justifies ungodly people, his belief is regarded as righteousness. 4:6 This is how David describes the good fortune of a person whom God regards as righteous without deserving it: 4:7 â€œBlessed are people whose sins are forgiven, whose sins are buried. 4:8 Blessed is the person whom the Lord will not accuse of sin.â€
4:9 Is this blessing only for the circumcised, or for the uncircumcised as well? For we say that belief was regarded as righteousness for Abraham. 4:10 How did this happen? When he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? It was before he was circumcised, not after. 4:11 He received the sign of circumcision to signify the righteousness of the belief which he had while he was uncircumcised. This made him the ancestor of all people who believe but are uncircumcised, so that they could also be regarded as righteous, 4:12 as well as the ancestor of circumcised people who are not only circumcised, but also follow the example of that belief of our ancestor Abraham, which he had before he was circumcised.
4:13 The promise given to Abraham and his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not to be fulfilled through complying with the law, but through the righteousness of believing. 4:14 If people who comply with the law are heirs, believing is useless and the promise is empty. 4:15 The law brings punishment, because in the absence of law, there can be no punishable disobedience. 4:16 This is why the promise is fulfilled by believing, so it can be a free gift, sure for all the descendants, not only those who comply with the law, but also those who share the belief of Abraham, who is the ancestor of us all. 4:17 As it is written, â€œI have made you a father of many nations.â€ Abrahamâ€™s belief was in the God who gives life to the dead, and summons things which do not exist into existence. 4:18 His belief was beyond all hope, that he would become a father of many nations, as had been said, â€œSo numerous will your descendants be.â€ 4:19 His belief was undiminished although his own body was as good as dead, being about a hundred years old, and Sarahâ€™s womb was barren. 4:20 He did not waver through unbelief concerning the promise of God, but strengthened his faith, praising God, 4:21 and being certain that what God had promised, he was able to deliver. 4:22 That is why it was â€œregarded as righteousness.â€ 4:23 Now these words were not written for his sake alone, 4:24 but for our sake as well, who will be regarded as righteous if we believe in God who raised Jesus, our Lord, from the dead, 4:25 after he had been condemned to pay for our sins, and resurrected for our justification.