Romans 4:1 What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? 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 reckoned to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. 5 But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness.
The apostle Paul continues his teaching that Christians are no longer required to pursue righteousness by following the law of Moses. In this passage he uses Abraham as an example. Abraham, the ultimate Jewish patriarch, lived in a time before the law of Moses existed – yet he was considered “righteous” by the Jews. If there was no law to follow how can this be? V.3 answers the question:
Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
You will recall that Abraham and his wife Sarah, 80 years old and childless, had not known God when God called them to leave their home and their people for a two-fold promise:
1) Children – even at such an advanced age
2) A land of their own in which to settle
The fact they believed the Lord’s promises enough to act on them reflects a right relationship with God, what the bible refers to as “righteousness”. Even though there was no law to follow. In fact, the words “faith”, “believe”, and “trust” (all of which are present in our passage) stem from the same Greek root “πιστεύω” (pisteou). Hence, according to Paul, we are “righteous” before God by faith – which is expressed via belief and trust in the Lord. Not by works of the law.
This morning I’m thinking about faith/belief/trust, praying for the Lord to reveal to me where I am being challenged to deepen my trust of God. Lord give me grace to let go of my fears and follow after you. Amen.