Summary: What shall we say then, is it by works or by faith in Jesus?
Righteous by Faith
RO 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about--but not before God. 3 What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." 4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him." 9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
It’s been said that more Americans are in debt these days than ever before. Many blame credit cards as the culprit. It is easier than ever for people to spend and it’s easier than ever to put off paying the bill. “Buy now! Pay later!” That seems to be the basis of our economy these days.
It’s no wonder people rack up astronomical debt, and with the current credit system (interest rates, payment schedules, etc.) it can take someone an average of 20 years to pay off just one credit card debt. It’s also not surprising that many lending agencies have sprung up, which are devoted to decreasing one’s debt. Some offer to consolidate your bills for you. Others might suggest a “low interest loan” to help pay off your bills (get into further debt to pay your debt). And then others encourage you to tap into your home’s equity to pay off those pesky bills.
God handles a lending agency of his own. Only he doesn’t merely take care of high spending on credit cards or home improvement projects. God takes care of the ultimate debt.
GOD OFFERS US THE ULTIMATE CREDIT ADVANCE!
Abraham was the Father of the Jewish nation. Yet in God’s eyes Abraham was faithful. And God credited Abraham with righteousness. Abraham had peace that comes from knowing our sins are forgiven. Abraham knew this even though there was no law in written form, and Jesus had not yet come. Abraham knew that God was faithful in keeping his promises. God rewarded Abraham’s faithfulness with righteousness.
Abraham was not considered righteous by forms of law or creeds or dogmas. God blessed Abraham before he was circumcised. God rewards faithfulness.
RO 4:13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. RO 4:16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed 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. 17 As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed--the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
Our Lord 1) absorbs the debt of the law,
God, through Jesus Christ absorbed the debt. The debt we could not pay. Instead of foreclosing, instead of renegotiating the contract, He paid it all.
This section of Scripture ought to hit us right between the eyes! It’s as if the apostle is giving all of us a wake up call. He’s reminded us that we are in dire straits spiritually. We have all racked up an exorbitant debt before God. The apostle Paul reminds us of this fact in Romans 3: “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3: 23). This is a debt that is common to all people. Every person is born owing God. And this debt increases throughout our lives, as sin increases more and more.