For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. If those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made empty and the promise is canceled. For the law produces wrath. And where there is no law, there is no transgression.
This is why the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace, to guarantee it to all the descendants — not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of Abraham’s faith. He is the father of us all in God’s sight. As it is written:I have made you the father of many nations. He believed in God, who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist. He believed, hoping against hope, so that he became the father of many nations according to what had been spoken:So will your descendants be. He considered his own body to be already dead (since he was about 100 years old) and also considered the deadness of Sarah’s womb, without weakening in the faith. He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, because he was fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. Therefore, it was credited to him for righteousness. Now it was credited to him was not written for Abraham alone, but also for us. It will be credited to us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Righteousness is what God requires of humanity. It is essentially the living of one’s life in obedience to covenantal requirements. Without righteousness, no one will see the Lord. The problem of course is that there is no one who is righteous, no not one. So how do we gain righteousness?
By looking at our passage of the day, we see that faith = righteousness. Either we can gain righteousness by obedience to all of God’s requirements given to us in the Scriptures; or we can have righteousness placed on credit for us in heaven through faith. One way produces pride, the other way produces humility. One way is a gift, the other way leaves a curse.
We are to walk in the faith of our father Abraham. He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise. When we hear this type of thing, we think that we have to now work really hard to not waver. The problem is that trying to not waver makes us waver. In the same way when we try not to sin, we only sin more. The law does this to us. Paul said that when he looked to the law which said, do not covet; it produced all kinds of covetousness inside of him. It was not the law that was bad, it was the law which showed Paul that he was bad. This is the purpose of the law; it reveals to us our sin. So what do we do? We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus! Jesus is our righteousness. Jesus is our hope. Jesus is our strength, Jesus is our obedience. Jesus is our righteousness. Jesus is our intercessor. Jesus is ours…
I learned from Pastor Jeff Noblit that when we try not to sin, we only sin more. When we look to Jesus, we will sin less.