22 October 2011
Extracted from Isaiah, Chapter 45:
Oracle in favour of Cyrus
1 Thus says Yahweh to his anointed one, to Cyrus whom, he says, I have grasped by his right hand, to make the nations bow before him and to disarm kings, to open gateways before him so that their gates be closed no more:
2 I myself shall go before you, I shall level the heights, I shall shatter the bronze gateways, I shall smash the iron bars.
3 I shall give you secret treasures and hidden hoards of wealth, so that you will know that I am Yahweh, who call you by your name, the God of Israel.
4 It is for the sake of my servant Jacob and of Israel my chosen one, that I have called you by your name, have given you a title though you do not know me.
5 I am Yahweh, and there is no other, there is no other God except me. Though you do not know me, I have armed you
6 so that it may be known from east to west that there is no one except me. I am Yahweh, and there is no other,
Oracle of Salvation
7 I form the light and I create the darkness, I make well-being, and I create disaster, I, Yahweh, do all these things.
8 Rain down, you heavens, from above, and let the clouds pour down saving justice, let the earth open up and blossom with salvation, and let justice sprout with it; I, Yahweh, have created it!
9 Woe to anyone who argues with his Maker, one earthenware pot among many! Does the clay say to its potter, 'What are you doing? Your work has no hands!'
The Supreme Power of Yahweh
10 Woe to anyone who asks a father, 'Why are you begetting?' and a woman, 'Why are you giving birth?'
11 Thus says Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel and his Maker: I am asked for signs regarding my sons, I am given orders about the work I do.
12 It was I who made the earth and I created human beings on it, mine were the hands that spread out the heavens and I have given the orders to all their array.
13 I myself have raised him in saving justice and I shall make all paths level for him. He will rebuild my city and bring my exiles home without ransom or indemnity, says Yahweh Sabaoth.
The heathen will rally to Yahweh
14 Thus says Yahweh: The produce of Egypt, the commerce of Cush and the men of Seba, tall of stature, will come over to you and belong to you. They will follow you, walking in chains, they will bow before you, they will pray to you, 'With you alone is God, and there is no other! The gods do not exist.'
15 Truly, you are a God who conceals himself, God of Israel, Saviour!
16 They are shamed and humbled, every one of them, humiliated they go, the makers of idols.
17 Israel will be saved by Yahweh, saved everlastingly. You will never be ashamed or humiliated for ever and ever.
Evidence of the Work of Yahweh
18 For thus says Yahweh, the Creator of the heavens - he is God, who shaped the earth and made it, who set it firm; he did not create it to be chaos, he formed it to be lived in: I am Yahweh, and there is no other.
19 I have not spoken in secret, in some dark corner of the underworld. I did not say, 'Offspring of Jacob, search for me in chaos!' I am Yahweh: I proclaim saving justice, I say what is true.
Yahweh is God of All
20 Assemble, come, all of you gather round, survivors of the nations. They have no knowledge, those who parade their wooden idols and pray to a god that cannot save.
21 Speak up, present your case, let them put their heads together! Who foretold this in the past, who revealed it long ago? Was it not I, Yahweh? There is no other god except me, no saving God, no Saviour except me!
22 Turn to me and you will be saved, all you ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is no other.
23 By my own self I swear it; what comes from my mouth is saving justice, it is an irrevocable word: All shall bend the knee to me, by me every tongue shall swear,
24 saying, 'In Yahweh alone are saving justice and strength,' until all those who used to rage at him come to him in shame.
25 In Yahweh the whole race of Israel finds justice and glory.
22 October 2011
29 October 2011
Our justification is by living a life of righteousness which consists in faith – Extracted from Romans, Chapter 4:
1 Then what do we say about Abraham, the ancestor from whom we are descended physically?
2 If Abraham had been justified because of what he had done, then he would have had something to boast about. But not before God:
3 does not scripture say: Abraham put his faith in God and this was reckoned to him as uprightness?
4 Now, when someone works, the wages for this are not considered as a favour but as due;
5 however, when someone, without working, puts faith in the one who justifies the godless, it is this faith that is reckoned as uprightness.
6 David, too, says the same: he calls someone blessed if God attributes uprightness to that person, apart from any action undertaken:
7 How blessed are those whose offence is forgiven, whose sin is blotted out.
8 How blessed are those to whom the Lord imputes no guilt.
13 For the promise to Abraham and his descendants that he should inherit the world was not through the Law, but through the uprightness of faith.
14 For if it is those who live by the Law who will gain the inheritance, faith is worthless and the promise is without force;
15 for the Law produces nothing but God's retribution, and it is only where there is no Law that it is possible to live without breaking the Law.
16 That is why the promise is to faith, so that it comes as a free gift and is secure for all the descendants, not only those who rely on the Law but all those others who rely on the faith of Abraham, the ancestor of us all
17 (as scripture says: I have made you the father of many nations). Abraham is our father in the eyes of God, in whom he put his faith, and who brings the dead to life and calls into existence what does not yet exist.
18 Though there seemed no hope, he hoped and believed that he was to become father of many nations in fulfillment of the promise: Just so will your descendants be.
19 Even the thought that his body was as good as dead - he was about a 100 years old - and that Sarah's womb was dead too did not shake his faith.
20 Counting on the promise of God, he did not doubt or disbelieve, but drew strength from faith and gave glory to God,
21 fully convinced that whatever God promised he has the power to perform.
22 This is the faith that was reckoned to him as uprightness.
23 And the word 'reckoned' in scripture applies not only to him;
24 it is there for our sake too - our faith, too, will be 'reckoned'
25 because we believe in him who raised from the dead our Lord Jesus who was handed over to death for our sins and raised to life for our justification.
29 October 2011