What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather 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 counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
Abraham as an Example to Jewish People
The key example of Abraham was that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. Does this mean that Abraham’s actions resulted in him earning salvation? Not at all. What this means is that Abraham received faith from God and this faith was placed as a deposit by God in his life. This deposited faith, shown to be authentic by his actions, was considered by God as credit in his account. His faith, which was real enough to cause him to almost sacrifice his son, shows that he was not guilty before God. Was he not guilty because of his obedience? He was already not guilty and so he obeyed.
We do not earn God’s good favour. We do not toil for God’s acceptance. We receive the blessing of God as a gift. Abraham was told he would be the father of a mighty nation. He was told that his children would bless many people. Was this a reward for Abraham’s obedience? No. He received all these things because he accepted by faith what God had in store for him. It is even in spite of Abraham’s foolish behaviour that God blesses him, not because of his uncommon obedience. God has chosen to not count sin against those who believe. Have you believed this?
My sin comes to mind very quickly and I know that I have deserved nothing but your estrangement and rejection. However, you have welcomed me into your arms and you work through me in spite of my emotional mood swings, my behavioral inconsistencies, and and my physical frailty.
- What does the scripture say about Abraham?
- What is the role of faith in Abraham’s life?
- How does this passage build on previous passages?
- How do you know you have faith like Abraham?
- Does God gift us our faith? Why would that matter?