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The apostle Paul wrote, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3). The account of Abraham’s faith (Genesis 15:6) provides an example of righteousness. His rightoussness was “without the law” and yet “witnessed by the law” (Romans 3:21). The patriarch had this experience before he was even circumcised (Romans 4:10). He recognized himself as “ungodly,” unworthy, and unable to justify himself by his own works. Therefore, he fully trusted in God’s mercy to justify him.
Abraham knew the gospel of salvation. He knew that his justification relied on the sacrifice of the Savior of the world (Galatians 3:8; John 8:56). At the time of the making of the covenant, the plan of salvation was revealed to him. He saw in the death of Christ, the great sacrifice. So, he believed in the promise of the Messiah.
It was Abraham’s thankful and confident acceptance of the atonement that saved him. He trusted in the righteousness of Christ in place of his own unrighteousness, which was accounted to him for righteousness. And this is the same experience of justification by faith that all true believers should experience. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
Faith – A Relationship With God
The fact that Abraham’s faith was counted to him as righteousness does not mean that faith has in itself some merit that can earn justification. Rather, such faith is a daily connection of the believer with God. It means a willingness to receive with gladness whatever God may reveal. Then, do with gratitude whatever God may ask. Abraham loved, trusted and obeyed God because he knew Him and was His friend (James 2:21–23). His faith was a sincere daily relationship of love and surrender.
Thus, the word “faith” means, not only a legal modification, but the start of a new life of love, obedience, and change. The righteousness of Christ shown in His perfect life and sacrificial death has made it possible for God to be just and the justifier of everyone. That is everyone who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26).
Justification Leads to Sanctification
Receiving of the righteousness of Christ by faith makes it first, possible for the sinner’s evil past to be instantly wiped (after confession) from the heavenly record (Ephesians 2:8-9). Then, Justification leads to Sanctification, which is a life process of gaining victory over sin and every weakness in the life also by faith in the merits of the blood of Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
As the believer abides in Christ daily through the study of His Word and prayer, his life will be changed into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4).
In His service,