We know from what we have been reading that the law has a purpose, but that purpose is not to save or make anyone righteous. The law reveals God and His righteousness to us and it proves our inability to be righteous, it exposes our sin (Leviticus 20:22-26, Romans 3:20). The law demonstrates God’s grace because God knows we cannot keep it but promises to put the law in our hearts and give us new hearts and spirits (Deuteronomy 6:5, Ezekiel 36:26). God said, “You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine” (Leviticus 20:26). But how can we be holy as He is holy when we are incapable of keeping the law? It is because when God writes the law on our hearts and that moves us to trust in Him to give us new hearts and spirits, it is called faith. He makes us righteous not because of the law but because of the faith, the relationship with Him because we want to know more about who Holy God is.
Being righteous doesn’t mean being pious or good. Being righteous means we are forgiven of our sins, it means God no longer counts our sin against us because it no longer exists. Paul explained it by using Abraham as an example for us. Verses 1-8 read,
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 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,6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
Abraham was not counted as righteous because he did anything. He was counted as righteous because he believed God. The Lord saved Abraham as a gift, not because he obeyed God and went where He told him to go, but because he believed God. Abraham’s belief manifested in obedience to go where He was told, but it was his faith which was counted as righteousness, not the obedience. The obedience was the product of Abraham’s faith. Verses 9-12 explain it using the example of circumcision.
Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
Circumcision and uncircumcision mean nothing. It is our new hearts, our new spirits, our new selves which show our faith and God’s perfect Righteousness and Grace. Galatians 6:15-16 reads,
For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
Faith is not something we sit in, it is not invisible or fruitless. Faith is something we walk in, it shows, and it has results. Faith results in obedience. Faith compels us to obey God, obedience proves faith. The law does not result in our transformation, it is the faith we exhibit in God to keep His promises which allows Him to change us. The Law makes us aware of God and our inability to be who He created us to be. We were created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). That means we were made for eternity, for holiness, with the desire to be in a relationship with the Eternal God, though most of us mistook it for a desire for our own divinity. When God made His covenant with Abraham, He made the way for all of us to live in relationship with Him as Abraham lived in relationship with Him. Verses 13-16 read,
For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,
Do you imagine that what Abraham believed was easier than what you or I are asked to believe? I mean Abraham audibly heard God speak, who wouldn’t have faith in God after that? God spoke audibly to many people who didn’t have faith. He spoke to face to face to Adam and Eve but they didn’t believe Him and their disbelief resulted in their disobedience (Genesis 3:1-7). When God spoke to Abraham there were not a ton of people around who followed God, prayed, or even acknowledged Him. For most people the God of the Universe was a legend or a myth but at least one family line had continued to teach the Truth; they were the exception and not the rule. God told Abraham he would be the father of many nations. That was not an easy promise to believe. Abraham was an old man, closer to death than the prime of life but he believed. Faith is rarely easy.
What has God promised you? How long have you waited? I have waited years and I am still waiting, not with hope that maybe it will be, but with assurance that it will be because God has already made it so. It isn’t easy. Sometimes I am so sick, I can’t gather the strength to walk to the bathroom. Sometimes the pain makes me so weary I wonder if I can bear it one more day. Sometimes I feel so inadequate for my lack of health that I want to give up. But God reminds me of His promise. Brothers and Sisters encourage me with His word and love. Abraham didn’t have the body of Christ surrounding him. He didn’t have the wonderful Holy Spirit within him strengthening him. He was the one who had to speak God’s word to the people around him like Sarah and Lot. He had to exhibit his faith for them and he only had God. Of course God is enough. God is able. That is faith. Verses 17-25 read,
as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Abraham’s faith was counted to him as righteousness. That means God called Him righteous because He believed. That is for us too! All we have to do is believe God that He gave us Jesus Christ who laid down His life to pay the price for our sin and raised Him from death to save us.
Are you trying to earn salvation by being good enough? Are you hoping your good deeds outweigh the mistakes you’ve made? How unfair would it be if the way to Heaven, the way to know God was based on some secret scorecard? How wrong would it be for us to have to stand on a scale after we die and hope that our charity and kindness outweighed our self-indulgence and malice? God is love! He loves you! He doesn’t base salvation on being good and never has. It has always been faith in Him that causes Him to say “You are forgiven, You are mine.”
If you want to know how to be saved, if you have questions you want answered to make understanding this easier, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will gladly talk to you honestly and without judgement. You can also click on this link for more information. There are not many roads to God, there is only one way; He is Jesus. John 14:6-11 reads,
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.