Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
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.’ 4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 ’Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.’”
In verses 3-8 the Greek word “logizomai” is used five times. It’s translated credit or count. This is important because any time we see words repeated, it is a strong indication that we should pay attention.
But what does “crediting” Abraham’s faith “as righteousness” mean? The word used for “credited” was used in financial or commercial contexts. It meant “to put something to someone’s account.” You could do this in several ways: first, it could be paid or credited as a wage or an earning because of something done, something that is owed; second, to have money given as a gift, something that is free and unearned.
The contrast between these two kinds of ‘crediting’ should now be clear. In the context of business, those who work have their wages credited to them as a right, a debt, an obligation; they have earned them. In the context of justification, however, to those who do not work and therefore have no right to payment, but who instead put their trust in God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited to them as righteousness. That is, they are given righteousness as a free and unearned gift of grace by faith.
Paul wanted his readers to see that God put righteousness to Abraham’s account; Abraham didn’t earn it. In other words, Abraham was justified by faith. It was as simple as that. Works had nothing to do with it. They aren’t even mentioned.
Go back when you have a chance and read Genesis 15. You’ll notice that scripture clearly says that Abraham believed in the LORD and it was “counted” to him as righteousness. That’s all it says. He doesn’t come with the plea that he tried his best, that he lived by the Golden Rule, that he has not been as bad as others. No, he came as an ungodly, guilty sinner and throws himself on the mercy of God. And what is the result? His faith is accounted to him for righteousness. Because he came believing instead of working, God put righteousness to his account.
The same is true for you and me. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor. That’s the beauty of the gospel; we don’t have too! God Himself has paid our debt; all we have to do is simply believe! Yes, for those who believe in Him, in Jesus Christ’s work on the cross, God credits righteousness. In God’s grace, through faith, we are saved! What great news, news that a dying world needs to desperately hear, news that you and I need to constantly preach to ourselves. So what do we do with this great news? I like what Paul said in 2 Cor. 5:18-21, “It is all from God. He brought us back to Himself through Christ’s death on the cross. And He has given us the task of bringing others back to Him through Christ. 19 God was bringing the world back to Himself through Christ. He did not hold people’s sins against them. God has trusted us with the message that people may be brought back to Him. 20 So we are Christ’s official messengers. It is as if God were making His appeal through us. Here is what Christ wants us to beg you to do. Come back to God! 21 Christ didn’t have any sin. But God made Him become sin for us. So we can be made right with God because of what Christ has done for us” (NIRV).
This is the Gospel! Let’s you and I be the gospel’s messengers. Let’s make it our mission to go and share the gospel with all who need it.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible; The Bible Readers Companion.