What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift 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.
The Need for Faith
You might think that God likes people who do good things. God is definitely in favor of good things. He is the one who tells us what is good and what is bad, and he also clearly tells us that he wants us to do the good things and refrain from doing the bad things.
But you are missing something very important if you think that your reward is heaven because you do good things. Good things do deserve a reward, but for the reward to be heaven, you have to do the good things perfectly every moment of your life.
Only Jesus has done that. He did all the good things and refrained from doing all the bad things every moment of his life. But rather than taking the reward of heaven, he suffered the punishment of hell and then declared that the righteous life he lived would be the ticket to heaven for everyone who believes in him.
In the Bible reference for today, we hear that Abraham did good things. He went to heaven, but not because of those good things. Abraham believed in the promised Savior, and even before that Savior arrived, God said that Abraham was righteous and could go to heaven, not because of what he did, but through faith in Jesus.
It works the same way for you. God doesn’t try to figure out whether you have done enough good things to be called godly or ungodly. He knows that his Son, Jesus, has done enough, and when you believe in Jesus, that faith is credited to you as righteousness.
Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me your righteousness. Amen.