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Romans 4:22

When Abraham believed God, he was counted as righteous in God’s sight. It is the same with us, when we believe God we are counted as righteous.

Abraham believed God could do something that seemed impossible to a human. Abraham believed this because he believed God is God, and God is faithful and true to His word. This is why Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. The Greek word translated “credited” means to reason and decide something. Paul has already declared that Scripture clearly says not a single person is righteous from their own merit, not even Paul (Romans 3:9-18). What God does do is decide that we are righteous when we believe His promise. Some people believe they are too bad for God to forgive them, but the example of Abraham should demonstrate that God is in the business of doing things we consider impossible.

After believing, we tend to ask, “but how can we know for sure that God has counted us as righteous?” The answer Paul gives is, “The same way as Abraham: believe God is God and will be true to His promise.” We as humans tend to prefer something tangible over faith. It is tempting to succumb to the argument of the competing Jewish “authorities” whom Paul battles in this letter to the Romans, to trust in our keeping of religious rules to give us assurance we are righteous before God. This does a lot of things, including making us feel we are in control, and giving us a basis to compare ourselves to others and judge them inferior to ourselves. This appeals to us, but keeping rules does not make us righteous before God. In fact, this behavior might make us righteous in our own eyes, but it will not fool all people all the time. The only answer to becoming righteous before God is to believe God, and the only way to glorify God on earth is to walk in faith.

Biblical Text

22 Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness.