I don't believe I have ever met a Christian that has not, at one time or another, willingly or by provocation, participated in the kid-song Father Abraham had many sons. It is our Christian version of the Hokey Pokey.

Do you remember when the religious leaders got in an argument with Jesus? They claimed special credentials because they were from the lineage of Abraham. I can just hear the dripping arrogance as they retort, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said in essence, "I know you're from the line of Abraham, but if you were really his children you would recognize me and love me." It was then he leveled the most severe indictment. "Your father is the devil." (John 8:41-46).

Yikes! Here they are, very religious individuals, trained classically in Judaism, observers of Torah and reciters of the prophets, wearing wide phylacteries, touted as Rabbis, respected and looked up to - and Jesus has the nerve to say to them, "Your daddy is the devil." So we learn that Jesus has something more in mind than just being from Abraham's bloodline. You must have faith.

It could be that the apostle Paul had this exchange in mind as he penned his Magna Carta, the letter to the Romans. In chapter 4, after having proved that all have sinned (Rom 3:23) with scathing remarks of the poor condition of humanity, he proceeds to dismantle any hope that we can somehow be good enough to earn salvation. In fact, our paycheck for our sinful actions is death (Rom 6:23). Paul has words of help in chapter four. "God becomes angry when his law is broken. But where there isn't a law, it cannot be broken. Everything depends on having faith in God, so that God's promise is assured by his gift of undeserved grace. The promise isn't only for Abraham's descendants who have the law, it is for all who are Abraham's descendants because they have faith, just as he did. Abraham is the ancestor of us all" (Rom 4:15, 16).

So this is what faith looks like! Not being goody-two-shoes. Not performing flawlessly on the balance beam. Not being squeaky clean. Not churning out ridiculous results on the treadmill. Rather, we are free to believe and hope and trust.

Everything depends on faith. I am one of them. And so are you. So let's just praise the Lord!