Yesterday I looked at Romans 4:3-5. Let’s read that again.
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”
Wow. So Abraham BELIEVED God and what did he earn from that? He earned righteousness. How did he earn that? By BELIEVING God.
Here is one place where, as I see it, the ‘Christian world’ is really stumbling today. We are all mixed up about what ‘works’ are. We hear ‘faith without works is dead’ (James 2:17) and think we need to do something to earn, to deserve, to merit our salvation
That is not it at all.
Once again, we have got to study the whole context of a passage. Read on after that James 2:17 to the following verses.
18 “But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?
22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;
23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.
24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”
I think the root issue is that there is a confusion in our minds between “works of the law” and “works of faith.”
If I told you that you had to be circumcised, keep the Ten Commandments, and not eat anything unclean and you obeyed me to the best of your human ability, you might think that DOING these things would earn you entrance into Heaven. No!
You could help every orphan, every little old lady, every blind beggar, every disabled veteran, every single time for the rest of your life, and you would never be good enough to deserve God’s favor. Never.
Do any of you think of offering your son as a sacrifice to God as a *good deed*? No?
How about circumcision? Do any of you think of circumcision as a good work? No?
Me neither. No. Abraham offered Isaac up to God by faith. Circumcision, as well, was given as a work driven by faith. It was ‘faith with shoe leather.’ It was an outward symbol of an inward conversion of the heart. An outward symbol of inward faith.
Abraham believed God and it was credited Him as righteousness. His deeds were not what saved him, but they were evidence of his faith. If we copy his DEEDS, but not his FAITH, we are still lost.
If you say you have faith, but are not living and walking by faith, I would question the genuineness of that faith. Remember, Abraham’s faith was completed by his deeds.
Do you believe in Him who justifies the UNgodly?
What impact is that faith having on your everyday life?
What is God calling you to do by faith?
How are you living as though you can earn salvation by your works?
Part three – tomorrow, God willing. Stay tuned.