June 4 I Monday
2 Chronicles 21-22
“Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” —Genesis 15:6
In the early 16th century, Martin Luther wrestled with the issue of salvation for years. He practiced everything from penance to self-inflicted suffering in the hope of making himself acceptable to God, but he could not find true peace with God. It was not until he was teaching from the book of Romans and came across, “The righteous will live by faith” (Romans 1:17) that he suddenly understood our righteousness is not something to be earned, but is something to be received, a gift credited to us by God in response to our faith.
It is significant that Scripture uses the word “credited.” There are two columns to a bank statement: a credit column and a debit column. The credit column shows the money we take in, and the debit column the money we pay out. Now Abraham is standing before God and to him, it is all debit. “I am childless with no heir. How can I know I will gain possession of the land? I am out of resources. I am out of cash. It’s all debit, debit, debit.” If I may paraphrase again, God says to him, “Abram, you don’t need any cash in your account, and you don’t have to pay anything out. I am going to credit you with this. I am going to pay this.” Because Abraham believed God, his faith was credited as righteousness, and he discovered his account was already credited with everything God had promised.
Many people are under the misguided belief that if they can build up their credit column to where they have done enough, been good enough, disciplined enough and obedient enough, they will tip the scales in their favour, but this is not true of Scripture. Justification by faith alone is the essential doctrine of the New Testament and a primary focus in Paul’s letter to the Romans. He quotes Genesis 15:6 as the precedent for believers in Christ being justified by faith, not by works. He then explains, “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” (Romans 4:4-5).
Justification before God does not come from having earned it or paid for it and therefore, we receive it. We are not employees of God earning our keep. As Christians, the scales are already tipped in our favour, not by anything we have done, but what God has done for us through the death and resurrection of Christ. Because we believe in the Lord Jesus, we are justified by faith, and our accounts are already credited in full.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for paying the debt for my sin. May I not think my goodness or actions will earn Your favour but rejoice that You love and accept me as I am.