What does it mean that Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness?

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Credited to him as righteousness

Paul, in his letter to the Romans explains the kind of faith that can be counted as righteousness. He wrote: “Yet he (Abraham) did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.  This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:20-22).

The meaning of Paul’s passage

Abraham believed God (Romans 4: 3, 17) that is, Abraham put his trust in God, not in something impersonal. His faith was not in a doctrine or a belief but in a Person. Thus, it was possible for Abraham to accept and obey whatever the Lord commanded, even when naturally it seemed impossible to believe that such promises could ever become a reality. Likewise, the Christian’s trust and confidence in God’s Word today must be similar to that of Abraham. And the believer’s life will openly show whether or not he has such a relationship.

Abraham’s steadfast faith that God could and would fulfill all that He had said was imputed to him for righteousness. Such faith means a willingness to receive with gladness whatever God may reveal and to do gladly whatever He may command. David declared, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). When the law, which is a revelation of God’s character, is written in the heart, obedience becomes a pleasure. For a believer will have a deep desire to copy the divine character (1 John 5:3).

Christ’s righteousness imputed to the believer

The law demands righteousness, which man is unable to fully give. But Jesus while on earth lived a righteous life and developed a perfect character. This character, He offers as a gift to those who seek it and submit to Him. Thus, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the sinner (Romans 4: 3, 5, 8; 3:25, 26, 28).

Christ’s perfect life is offered to all that daily connect themselves to Him. Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (John 15:4). To abide in Christ means that the believer must be in a daily, relationship with Jesus Christ (through prayer and study of the Word) and must live His life (Galatians 2:20). Thus, salvation is conditional upon a person’s abiding in Christ.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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