We’re continuing to go through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. He’s laid a foundation by explaining the righteousness that comes by faith in Jesus Christ. He now gives us an example of how this works.
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about — but not before God.
Paul brings us back to the start of a legacy of faith. Even though people like Noah believed and obeyed God, Abraham was considered the father of God’s family on earth.
It seems clear that Abraham was the first to trust God and walk that faith out in a way to bring others along with him. In that sense you could say that Abraham discovered the faith-walk. Each new day seemed to bring him a new discovery about walking with God as a friend.
So, in his walk with the Lord, how was Abraham justified before God? Was it because he worked hard at being good? Not according to Scripture.
He did have some incredible works. By faith, he left his ancestral home. He even offered up his firstborn son. But, even in all of that, he would have only been able to boast about it to other human beings. God would not have been impressed.
What was it about Abraham that got God’s attention?
What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
To explain it, Paul quotes a verse from Genesis 15:6. This should be the foundation for all that we understand about walking with the Lord. Everything else is further along the path.
In Genesis, the Hebrew word used for credited means to think about or regard. Immediately, when Abraham decided to trust what God spoke to him, God regarded that as righteousness. That happened even before Abraham did anything to walk in it.
I like the way Paul translates that word (credited) for us in the Greek. He uses a word that means to estimate or take an inventory.
I see it like this. When we have faith, it’s directed towards God. So Abraham sent his faith off in God’s direction. When He received it, God listed it, in Abraham’s heavenly inventory, as righteousness.
This is an awesome truth. When we have faith towards the Lord, He takes it and converts it into righteousness which He then places in our account.
Too many believers spend their lives trying very hard to purchase righteousness to send to God. The unfortunate thing is that God will never accept that kind of righteousness. We’re only spinning our wheels trying to please God in that way.
The only righteousness that God accepts is that which is found in Him. The only way to purchase this righteousness is to direct our faith toward Jesus Christ. There’s no other way.
Our good works are only a basis for boasting toward each other. They hold no attraction with God. We need the righteousness that can only come by faith.
Don’t spend all of your time chasing a losing cause. Place your hope fully in the completed work of Christ on the cross.
Question: Why is righteousness by faith the best road to change in your life?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi