Today’s Bible readings can be found at this link: Amos 7:10-17 and Romans 4:13-25.

Romans 4:23-24 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for Abraham alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. (NIV)

            My parents were working-class people who raised a large family of six in Glasgow, Scotland. We went through some hard times, but at Christmas, they both did their utmost to ensure that all us kids were given the special gifts we hoped for from Santa. I guess like every other parent in our neighborhood, they borrowed money at a high-interest rate and paid it all back throughout the New Year, only to begin the debt cycle again when December came around. When I look back, I don’t know how they did it, but I’m thankful they loved us deeply enough to make certain that our Christmases were wonderful times.

            There were no credit cards in those days, so each Friday evening a credit agent came to our house for the weekly payment that my folks had to make. The ritual was usually the same – my Dad would give his pay packet to my Mom – who would take out the amount owed and hand it to the credit man. He would then plow through a whole host of cards, write in the payment and initial it. I don’t ever remember my folks missing a payment, even though the interest rate would have been very high. Over the years, they must have paid back thousands of pounds, but they did it, not just for Christmas, also to keep us six kids fed, clothed, and sheltered.

            In today’s passage from Romans, Paul writes about how God credits us with righteousness when we believe in His Son Jesus and that He was raised from the dead. Because of sin, we are completely indebted to God and have no way of paying back what we owe, not even on a weekly basis when we go to church on Sundays. However, the great thing is that God does not leave us destitute of His love and care. He allows us to be restored to His favor through the death of Jesus, who paid in full our outstanding debt to God. In other words, Jesus becomes both our creditor and guarantor, so that when we fall into sin, God credits us with Christ’s righteousness and permits us to be fully pardoned. This is why we call the Gospel ‘Good News.’

Point to ponder:  How much do I owe Christ? How does His forgiveness help me to renew my faith each day?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, may we be eternally grateful for the salvation that You have obtained for our souls. We know that we do not deserve such love and mercy, but we are truly thankful for Your sacrifice and grace. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.

Today’s image is one of John’s latest Nativity drawings called ‘City of David.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click here.  If you would like to offer some feedback on today’s message, please send him an email to