It is said about Abraham that faith was counted to him as righteousness (Rom 4:22). Abraham saw beyond his impotency and Sarah’s dead womb to the One who gives and whose Divinity finds its ground in abundant giving. Abraham beholding his dead body and seeing it as completely dead to any self-initiated efforts or endeavors could nothing but receive, and that was counted him as righteousness. “So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith” (Gal 3:9). This verse might as well have read: Those who reckon themselves as dead are blessed since they can nothing but receive and lay hold of every good gift from above in the similitude of Abraham trusting God’s willingness to give.
Paul wrote: The righteous shall live by faith (Rom 1:17). In other words, they shall live by receiving. Receptivity stands in stark contrast to works. Hence Paul also wrote: “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law (Rom 3:28). To be human means an inherent and God-endowed faculty to receive. In a nutshell; our receptivity is our humanity. Every other imagined mean of sustaining life beyond receiving is a deception. When Lucifer declared: I am God, he not only became the first pantheist (believing everything is God), but he also crossed the threshold into an imaginary realm of self-sustenance and thus also became the first legalist.
God, the positive in the equation, is God because He can nothing but give to sustain life in diversity and abundance. These are the basics on how this universe is run by Him who loves us and whose love in manifested in abundant and benevolent giving, and who loved us from before the dawn of time. “God loved us before he made us; and his love has never diminished and never shall” (Julian of Norwich).
Through our impotency (death in Christ) our receptivity is made known to us and the seed (Christ) which is sown comes into fruition when the child of promise is born (our resurrection).
“Great faith merits great rewards. And wherever you set down the foot of hope among the goods of the Lord, they will be yours” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux).
“Grace is to be understood as the impartation not just of something from God but of God Himself. In Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit God freely gives to us in such a way that the Gift and the Giver are one and the same in the wholeness and indivisibility of His grace…” (Thomas F. Torrance)