“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Romans 4:1-12 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Justification by Faith Evidenced in Old Testament
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless
deeds have been forgiven,
And whose sins have been covered.
8 “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”
9 Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “Faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.” 10 How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; 11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.
In today’s text it says: What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” … Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “Faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.” How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. The promise to Abraham, that all nations would be blessed through him, was given before the law. The text says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” What did Abraham believe? Genesis 18:9-14 says: “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “There, in the tent.”He said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him.Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing.Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Abraham believed that God would fulfill His promise to give him a son even though it looked as though the circumstances were hopeless. But it was more than that. In Genesis 22:1-18 it says: Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, And he said, “Abraham!” “Here I am.” He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together. Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.” Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Abraham believed God, that He would provide the sacrifice. He trusted God to the point of offering up his son, “his only son” Isaac. God not only provided the ram to spare Isaac, but also, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. The righteousness which was credited to Abraham by faith, believing that God would provide the sacrifice, is a precursor to the righteousness we receive, when we believe in the sacrifice that God provided in Jesus, His only begotten Son.
Abraham’s journey of faith was not without some missteps. There were times that he tried to take the fulfillment of God’s promises upon himself. But it was not Abraham’s actions, either good or bad, which made him righteous in God’s sight. “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” We too, may have some missteps along the way in our journey of faith. There are times that we may believe more in the circumstances we see than in the promise of God. In the end we will not be judged by every step we have taken, but rather by whether we believed in the sacrifice that God provided. The text says: David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven,And whose sins have been covered. “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will nottake into account.” In Psalm 139:15-16 David says: My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. Nothing we have done or will do takes God by surprise. God doesn’t want to discredit us for the missteps we might take. Rather, like Abraham, if we believe God, if we believe in the sacrifice He provided and the promises He made, our sins will be forgiven and we will be credited with the righteousness of Christ. We will be children of the promise and receive the inheritance of the Father, through the Son.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, may I have faith like Abraham to believe that You will provide. May I journey in faith, keeping my focus on the destination. May I walk in righteousness because of faith. I believe in the sacrifice You provided and trust that as I walk in faithfulness, You will do all that You have promised. Amen.