The Greatest Bargain
Singing out of tune in North Carolina was once against the law. People once needed a doctor’s prescription to take a bath in Boston. These laws are funny and obsolete. Some people think the Old Testament laws are too. One thing hasn’t changed—in Old Testament times and today, faith remains the basis for right standing with God.
Abraham did things he shouldn’t have. He had nothing to boast about before God (verse 2). No one does. We’ve also done things we shouldn’t have. We’ve not done all we could and should have. We’re in no position to sing “How Great I Am” for all eternity.
“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:3). In Genesis 15, God told Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars he could count in the sky. Abraham believed that promise. He relied on God to fulfill it. Because of Abraham’s trust, God pronounced him righteous (Genesis 15:6). He looked forward in faith to what God would do. We look back in faith to what God has provided in Jesus Christ.
God doesn’t declare the godly just. He declares the ungodly just (verse 5). We all qualify. Ungodly describes those with no fear or reverence for God. They live as if God doesn’t exist. They serve themselves instead of Him. When the ungodly reach out to Jesus and believe God’s promise, He credits that belief as righteousness.
God blessed David by crediting righteousness to him apart from works—despite his adultery, lies, and murder. We must respond to our sins as David did to his. He admitted them to himself and God. He asked God’s forgiveness. He believed God had forgiven him. He let go of his guilt.
God didn’t make circumcision (ceremonies and rituals) or keeping the law a condition for salvation. God gave the law to Israel centuries after He credited Abraham with righteousness because of his faith.
Abraham’s confidence was in what God could do. By His grace, God credited that confidence as righteousness. That gave Abraham an honored position in God’s word. God’s promises are sure because no unforeseen circumstances can thwart them. He speaks surely of the future— as if it already happened.
Abraham was a model of faith for all his spiritual children. The instant they trust God’s promise of forgiveness through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, a great exchange takes place. God removes their sins. He credits Jesus’ righteousness to their account (2 Corinthians 5:21). That’s the greatest bargain of all time!
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