Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
Faith Credited As Righteousness
“For what does the Scripture say? ‘ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.’ Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited to him as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Romans 4:3-5). Paul’s letter to the Romans has been rightly called The Constitution of Christianity. Indeed, it is the greatest of all the letters of Paul. Its theology is, on the one hand, profound beyond comprehension. But on the other hand, the Holy Spirit gladly guides the believer into the truth that is Romans. The entire letter can be summed up with the phrase, “Righteousness from Heaven.” Paul meticulously demonstrates the utter sinfulness of mankind concluding beyond any doubt, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE” (Rom. 3:10). Such a universal condition results in the need for divine righteousness. In other words, if I want to see God I must have the righteousness of Christ credited to my account. Such is only possible through faith.
“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to Him as righteousness” (Rom. 4:3). Romans 4 is a pivotal chapter in establishing righteousness through faith alone in Christ alone. There is a mystery here. This should not be taken as something unusual, as elsewhere Paul describes the entire body of revealed doctrine as, “the mystery of faith” (1 Tim. 3:9). Paul is not saying that our faith is recognized to be righteous. If that were the case one would have reason to boast before God. Righteousness credited to us happens outside of us. The phrase, “it was credited to him,” is in the passive voice meaning God does the work, not me. In other words, this righteousness is imputed not imparted. Remember, imputed means to set to one’s account. God has imputed, or set to my account, the righteousness of God. There is no works-righteousness here, as it is totally the work of God brought about through faith in Christ alone. This is the method for obtaining this righteousness—believe God! Otherwise, we receive what is due: “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23a). But if we come through faith, we receive “the free gift of God” (Rom. 6:23b), which is the righteousness of Christ. This is the miracle of faith that results in certain blessings bestowed on the one who believes. First of all, our sins are forgiven—they are sent away. Secondly, they are covered. In fact, they are covered so completely there’s no chance of their ever being uncovered. Finally, miracle of miracle of miracles, the righteousness of Christ is credited to the account of the one believing the Gospel.
So, this raises an important question. Do you possess, by way of imputation, the righteousness of Christ? Your answer to this question is crucial as it concerns matters of eternity—where you will spend it. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). It doesn’t matter how good one might be or think they are as the Bible also teaches even the good things we do are marred by sin. Isaiah wrote, “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Is. 64:6). Remember, Paul has already demonstrated the utter sinfulness of all mankind—you included. This is why we need righteousness from heaven. And the amazing thing is this: although it cost God everything to make this possible, for you and me, it is free! This is what Christ came to do—to fulfill a righteousness and die a death that would remove all your sins and my sins and become for us a perfect righteousness. He offers you this righteousness today as a free gift. It is yours for the asking—simply believe the Gospel. “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT” (Rom. 4:8).
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