Summary: What is the evidence for faith? Abraham was justified by faith & not by works; here is the logic of this.
1) Jews are proud of their heritage in Abraham.
• They have something to be proud of! I can only trace my family history a little way, but I am proud of my father & grandfather. But my pride says nothing about their worth before God.
• In point of fact, no one can be proud before God because of who they are or what they have done. Pride would lead us to think we are better than we are, morally superior, ethically better, ethnically greater. Not so.
• No one is able to glory before God. Stand next to Tiger Woods & boast about your golf; Michael Jordan & boast about your slam-dunks. Tiger & Mike have nothing to boast of before God.
2) The difference between work & grace.
• Work means debt. When you work, someone owes you wages. But God is self sufficient, & no one can put Him into their debt. Self-sufficient: Ps 50. We need God, God does not need us!
• It’s the “ungodly” who believe who are held righteous. The one who admits he is ungodly knows his need for God’s grace. He gives himself up & glorifies God alone, calling on His mercy.
• God will never turn away from a person who senses & confesses his ungodliness & who wishes to recognize & glorify God in their life. Grace cancels our debt to God, making way for righteousness.
3) David speaks of blessing.
• vv. 6-8; Ps 32:1-2. If God credits & counts a man righteous “without works,” then we know something: Man is not justified by works, but by faith. We are credited with this gift of righteousness.
• This is a blessing for us. We no longer need to be concerned about doing enough to win God’s favor: we can’t do it anyway. We are free from the labor of work to earn God’s favor, His love.
• Not of works, but by faith. Our sins are forgiven, our debt is covered. God loves us & so forgives us. If we worked & missed by a few pennies, God would blame us. Bail bond analogy.
4) Abraham demonstrated radical obedience to God.
• Circumcision of the male babies was no joke. But it was not enough. What if the child grew up denying the faith? And what about the girls & women? They were barely involved in the faith, except through their husbands and sons. Paul found it remarkable that women (led by Lydia) gathered by the river for prayer.
• Here is the problem, the Law brings wrath (v.15). Only faith brings exoneration & covenant love from God. Faith shows trust in the God who made promises. The Law promises only wrath. We are God’s children whom He loves, if you are his children.