Summary: how God revealed to the world that it was forgiven trhough the resurrection of Christ
The Revelation of Justification
Romans 4: 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.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
God uses the word “credited” in today’s text. From that term I get the picture of banking. Every week I will check the internet to find out how our checking account is doing in an effort to balance the checkbook. When I do this, it sometimes happens that the bank account differs from mine. Somehow, Tristan or Rylee must secretly get into my checking account and write checks out that I have no idea where they came from. I don’t like it when those amounts are revealed to me - when my reconcile says 500 but the bank’s only says I have 300. Every once in a while it would be nice to find an extra thousand dollars in there - that would be a nice revelation - but it hasn’t happened yet.
In a spiritual way, you could look at this world as a system of credit and debits. The debits would be things that we owe God - and the credits would be the God has given us. What’s in your wallet? Are you in debt, or do you have good credit? It often feels that we are up to our eyeballs in debt. The law reveals that we owe God more time. We owe our children more time. We owe our school more homework. We owe our parents more patience. We owe our spouse more attention. It seems like a never ending line of duties. But there is hope, as today we look at -
The Revelation of Justification
This might seem like a peculiar text to pick for an Easter Sunrise service. Most of the time a direct passage from Matthew 28 on the resurrection of Christ will be used, or maybe Job’s statement - “I know that my Redeemer lives,” or perhaps the story of Jonah in the belly of the fish or the disciples on the way to Emmaus. Abraham is not a likely candidate to talk about the resurrection and Easter. However, Paul makes a connection between the two in this paragraph of Romans. What is the connection? Let’s see.
Paul says, 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.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
The story of Abraham gives us an illustration of what it means to bring life from death - which is what Easter is all about. Abraham’s situation was hopeless. There was no way that he or Sarah could have children, since Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah’s womb was actually “dead”. But God made Abraham a promise in Genesis 15 - He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” This impossible promise could have either caused Abraham to doubt and give up or to grow strong and hope. Instead of weakening in faith, it says that he was “strengthened in his faith” through this promise. The older he got, the more he looked forward to the miracle that was about to come. His faith not only survived, it grew and thrived! The promise of God breathed life into Abraham’s spirit and kept it alive and well.
God’s Word said that when he believed God’s promise of an offspring to come through him, “it was credited to him as righteousness.” Abraham’s spiritual bank account had a huge deposit put in it - called “righteousness.” When God looked into Abraham’s account - he only saw holiness and righteousness. Even though Abraham had not done one thing to deserve this kind of a record, at this point he hadn’t had a child, sacrificed Isaac, or anything. Yet his account was still given to him through faith. In God’s eyes Abraham was the richest of all men. He could be assured of eternal life, because righteousness was on his account.