How was Abraham Justified?—Romans 4:1-2

How was Abraham Justified?—Romans 4:1-2

"What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God" (Romans 4:1-2)

What a shocking statement!

Imagine for a moment that you just read a mind-blowing essay that was turning everything you thought about God upside down. And if that wasn’t enough, the very pillars of the foundation that you clinged to were being used to prove the other side of that argument?


So what made Abraham extraordinary?Simple. He believed God. That’s it! He believed everything God said to him.
 

Would you be reeling?

If that wasn’t enough, the next question after Paul described the righteousness that comes through faith in the previous chapter is: What good was Abraham’s works?

This is Abraham we’re talking about, the father of the Jewish nation and the patriarch of the entire race. The Apostle Paul is using his example to prove the statement in the previous chapter, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law” (Rom. 3:28).

Here’s why it’s shocking. The Jews claimed that to be in right standing with God, you must be circumcised and follow the Law. They were relying these things so that they would be acceptable before God.

However, Paul is saying that Abraham could not boast before God by either of these things and yet he was declared righteous by God (Gen. 15:6).

Did you know that the Law wasn’t even around at the time of Abraham? It was given to Moses 430 years later (Gal. 3:17). So clearly Abraham’s behavior had nothing to do it. (What a good thing too, have you read his account in Genesis?).

And let’s talk about circumcision? Did you know that God declared Abraham righteous because of his faith long before he was circumcised (Rom. 4:10)? So that had nothing to do with it either.


What would it mean for you today to accept God’s gift of righteousness through faith and simply believe it at face value without trying to earn it?
 

So what made Abraham extraordinary?

Simple. He believed God. That’s it! He believed everything God said to him. He believed God when circumstances were contrary to God’s promises. He believed God at face value without questioning God’s character or ability to deliver. And He believed God decade after decade until he saw God’s promises unfold before him.

This is what made Abraham extraordinary!

God declared Abraham righteous (in right-standing with Him) because Abraham simply believed Him, period! No wonder the Apostle Paul was quick to prove his case based on Abraham’s example.

I wonder if we, too, should take a page right out of Abraham’s book and start believing it when God says, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom. 3:22a).

What would it mean for you today to accept God’s gift of righteousness through faith and simply believe it at face value without trying to earn it?

Previous: Romans 3:29-31  Next: Romans 4:3

Original article published June 29, 2009.

Juli Camarin

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