What then can we say that Abraham, our physical ancestor, has found? If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to brag about — but not before God. For what does the Scripture say?
“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.”
Now to the one who works, pay is not considered as a gift, but as something owed. But to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who declares the ungodly to be righteous, his faith is credited for righteousness.
Do you know yourself to be righteous or unrighteous?
If you think of salvation as some kind of weighting process where God places your good deeds on one side of a scale and your bad deeds on the other, then you may think being righteous means that your good deeds out weight your bad. But this is not the case; rather righteousness is perfect conformity to the law of God. If you have violated God’s law at one point, you are guilty of breaking all of it, and are therefore declared unrighteous.
If you decide this day that you are going to become righteous by conforming yourself entirely to the law of God; then will your obedience from this day forward be an occasion for God to declare you righteous on the last day? If this is the way of things, then God owes you heaven because of your obedience. You have worked for God and now he owes you the ultimate paycheck. But what does the Scripture say?
Paul’s question is the same question you and I must always ask to determine truth, what does the Scripture say? The Scripture says that Abraham believed God and his belief was credited to him for righteousness. See Abraham worked toward obedience to God because God had declared him righteous on account of faith. Abraham was not declared righteous on account of his obedience. Mix those two things up and you have the wrong gospel.
God declares the ungodly to be righteous. Do you believe this? If you know yourself to be ungodly and believe that God declares you to be righteous, you are saved. How can this be? This my dear child is the grace of the gospel. Your disobedience to God’s word has heaped up a mountain of wrath. God hates your sin and must punish it because he is just. But God so loved the world that he sent his perfect son Jesus on a rescue mission to earth. Jesus lived on this earth perfectly obeying all of God’s laws and rules. Jesus then was crucified on a cross to pay the penalty of death for you. Jesus was treated by God as if he committed every one of your sins. He then died. God accepted the sacrifice of Jesus as being sufficient to pay your debt. So God raised him from the dead to prove your justification. Do you believe this? You are ungodly. God declares the ungodly to be righteous through faith. Abraham believed God and it was credit to him as righteousness. If you believe, you have the same credit as Abraham.