February 09, 2021 – Tuesday
Romans 4:1-3 NIV
1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter?
2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God.
3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
The question is the first verse above arises from the concluding verses of chapter three, especially these (v28-30), For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.
Thus, we have the end of verse three above stating, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. This from Genesis 15:6 which states very similarly, Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. Perhaps this would be a good time to review something we stated near the beginning of this series of posts on belief and/or believing. Strong’s tells us the Greek word for believe is G4100 pisteuo, and the root word for believe is G4102 pistis, faith. In other words, in the New Testament, out of our faith comes our belief. Or, as our faith grows, we begin to believe. What about the Old Testament? It is actually the reverse! The Hebrew faith is from H530 emuna, which is from H529 emun faithful which is from H539 aman believe.
What does all of this tell us? As our faith grows our belief grows (New Testament) or as our belief grows our faith grows (Old Testament). Which is correct? Both. However, going back to our verses for the day, the key is there are no works that can justify us before God. We can only be justified by our faith or our belief. There is no other way. Abram’s righteousness came about because of his trust, his belief, his faith in God and what God had told him.
Paul explains this clearly in the next two verses (4-5), Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as grace but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. We might try to do works to create an obligation from God, but that denies grace which is unmerited favor. We cannot put God in our debt. Our sins make that impossible. Instead, it is through our faith that God will justify us in spite of our sin or ungodliness. Works acceptable to God come after our repentance and salvation. John said (Matthew 3:8), we are to Produce works in keeping with repentance.
God knows our hearts. He knows our sins. Sometimes we think our sins are too small for Him to care about. That is simply wrong and out of little sins, big sins grow. Then sometimes we think our sins are too great for Him to forgive, but His mercy and grace are greater than any sin except the refusal to accept His love for us on the cross. Knowing this we come to Him in great humility accepting the grace and mercy we did not deserve. It is then we can seek to truly serve Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Help us to serve You and Your Son. Lead us in ways that please You and glorify You. Thank You for Your incredible love and mercy. – In Jesus name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton