Summary: The difference between when Jesus died and the death of every martyr or every hero who ever died is this: Those people died and they are still dead. The thing about Jesus Christ is he died, he was buried, and he came back after three days.
Back in December I read a list of things you will never hear a good ‘ole boy in Texas say like, “I thought Graceland was tacky.” You’ll never hear, “You can’t feed that to the dog,” or “That deer head takes away from the decor of this room.”
People have been e-mailing me a lot of additions to that list. I have quite a collection now. Here are some more things you will never hear a good ‘ole boy say:
1) “Has anybody seen my sideburn trimmer?”
2) “That TV wrestling is all fake!”
3) “I just couldn’t find a thing to buy at Wal-Mart today.”
4) “Would you trim the fat off that steak before you bring it to me?”
5) “My fiancée, Paula Jo, is registered at Neiman Marcus.
6) “Hey, here’s an episode of ‘Hee Haw’ we haven’t seen yet!”
There are two things you will never hear God say. One is, “You are so good you don’t need my grace and forgiveness.” Another thing you will never hear God say, “You are so bad you are beyond the reach of my grace and forgiveness.” One thing we all have in common here on planet Earth is we are sinners by nature and by choice, and we all need a Savior.
In Romans chapters 1, 2 and 3, Paul has been just pounding in the fact we are all sinners. Then starting in chapter 4 he starts talking about how we can be made righteous before God through faith. Now, he’s going to use a word or phrase nine times in chapter 4. It is the word “credited” or “credited for righteousness.” We all know what credit lines are and today I’m going to be talking about a “Credit Line of Righteousness.”
Look in chapter 4 and let’s start at the top of the chapter. I just want to show you several of the times he uses that phrase. His first use is in the last part of verse 3. It says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” There down in the last part of verse 5, it says, “His faith is credited as righteousness.” In the last part of verse 6, it says, “To whom God credits righteousness apart from works. In other words, nine times in this chapter he uses that phrase, credited as righteousness. If you have a King James Version of the Bible, it says, “imputed for righteousness.” Actually, it is a financial word used in accounting meaning “to write something down in the asset side of the ledger.” So, God has credited to everyone who has faith, “righteousness +”
Let’s pick up with verse 16 and go to the end of the chapter as we talk about this credit line of righteousness. “Therefore, the promise, comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed.” that’s a word we are going to come back to “to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: ‘I have made you a father of many nations.’” That’s what the name Abraham means, “father of many people or nations.” “He is our father in the sight of God, in who he believed,” notice these two statements about God. “the God who gives life to the dead.” that’s the first thing it says about God. “and calls things that are not, as though they were.” Let’s talk about Abraham. “against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead— since he was about 100 years old.” now, that’s pretty accurate; actually he was 99. “and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.” now if you don’t know what that is talking about, Sarah and Abraham gave birth to a son, Isaac, when he was 99 and she was 90. “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why” here’s that phrase again. “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Now, you are saying, “Well, all that is about Abraham. What about me?” Well, this is for you. verse 23, the words “it was credited to him” were written not for him 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.” Then, verse 25 is a super verse about what Jesus did. “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.