All of us that are saved were amazed by God’s grace. When we heard that Jesus, the Son of God died for us and all of our sins were forgiven and we can get to heaven, because we believed, we thought, “That’s amazing!” But are you still amazed by His grace?
The enemy over time tries to get us to move from grace into works. We read our Bible, maybe work in the church, and just don’t sin as much as we used to before being saved. We are doing the Christian things that we think are required of us. So do some think that just maybe they don’t need as much grace now as they did back when they were first saved? We all should still be just as amazed with saving grace as we should be with sustaining grace!
Romans 4:1 – What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? (Verse 2) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something of which to boast, but not before God. (Verse 3) For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (Verse 4) Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. (Verse 5) But to him who does not work but believes Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,…
The world, those who don’t know Christ, know nothing about this. They don’t understand this, because if they did, they would accept Christ. They don’t understand that you believe in Jesus and sin is taken out of your account and righteousness is put in your account. Is that not amazing?
If you ask a lost person how do they get to heaven, most will say that the good they do has to be more than the bad. The only problem with that thinking though is God’s standards are not just “good,” they have to be perfect. In order to be perfect, they would have to keep every one of God’s laws perfect and no one can.
James 2:10 – For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
How many of us have made one little slip of God’s law? All of us have. So if God’s standard is perfect and none of us has been perfect, how can any of us go to heaven? We believe in the Perfect One – Jesus! We believe in the One who did keep the law perfectly.
Romans 4:3 – For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
What is righteousness?
If someone tells you that a person is righteous, what would you think about that person? We would have a tendency to think that person “lives righteously.” He does righteous things. They might be a good husband; a good father; a good employee; a good and kind person. He’s in general, a good guy. He lives to the best of his ability to be righteous.
That would be a good assumption, but not the only assumption. But is this person righteous because he does righteous things, or does he do righteous things because he is righteous? This is the whole difference between grace and works. Is he righteous in God’s sight because he does righteous things? So is he right with God because he does right things, or does he do right things because God by His grace makes him right with God?
When we fully understand grace, it will change everything about our Christian life! The way we understand grace will affect the way we see God and relate to Him. It will also affect the way we see others and the way we relate to others. It will affect mainly the way we see ourselves. It will affect how we react when we stumble.
Righteousness is right standing with God. That’s the easiest definition of righteousness. Next question: Can a righteous person do an unrighteous deed? Yes. Can an unrighteous person do a righteous deed? Yes. But, does the righteous deed that the unrighteous person does make them righteous? No.
Does an unrighteous deed done by a righteous Christian, believer, make that person unrighteous? No. Why? Because believers are righteous because of their position not by performance. It’s still wrong to do unrighteous things being a believer and there will be consequences, but their right standing with God is by the blood of Jesus. It doesn’t change a believers position.
Did Abraham earn his righteousness?
Romans 4:2 – For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something of which to boast, but not before God. (Verse 3) For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (Verse 4) Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace, but as debt.
Accounted – keeping records of credits and debts – accounting. This doesn’t mean that it’s bad to do good works, because we are saved to do good works. We’re not saved by good works but to do them. These verses in Romans are saying that if Abraham had done good works to obtain righteousness, God would have owed him a debt.
Before we were saved, all of our accounts were full of sin with maybe a few right acts. However, there are some that were right with good deeds more than others. But if the righteous deeds are done before coming to Christ then this next verse says it all: Isaiah 64:6 – all our righteousness are like filthy rags. People need to remember that verse is referring to us before you are saved. Our accounts were full of sin before we came to Christ not after we are saved, so stop saying your righteousness is as filthy rags after you are saved. That’s as if to say you didn’t receive Christ’s righteousness when you were saved.
But here’s the good news: God took the righteousness out of His own Son’s account and put the sins of the whole world in His account.
2 Corinthians 5: 21 – For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
So when Jesus died for our sins and shed His blood, the blood of Jesus erased our sins. People don’t realize that He took the sins of the whole world. However, everyone is not saved because everyone has a free will and it is up to each individual to choose to receive what Christ did.
Keep in mind: People don’t go to hell for their sin. That sin was paid for by Christ. People go to hell for unbelief!
However, when a person believes in Christ, righteousness is put in their account. We didn’t earn it. When Abraham believed, he put works to his belief by moving when God said move. Faith without works is dead. It’s not enough o believe with just your mind. When a person really believes, they start following Jesus Christ. A lot of people believe with their mind but continue to live the way they want.
What did Abraham have to do?
He had to believe! John 6:28, 29 – Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (Verse 29) Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
This belief has to be in our hearts, not just our mind. Remember before Abraham believed God, there were no people of God, no Jews, no laws. Abraham was a “heathen” just like everyone else. There was no nation of Israel. Don’t blend it altogether. Moses didn’t come until 500 years later. After Abraham believed, he went into a city with his pretty wife and lied about his wife being his sister. The king then could take his wife and put her in with other concubines. Abraham did this twice. Abraham did this after he believes in God. Abraham also sleeps with a handmaid in order to have a son.
If Abraham did all this after he believed, what was he like before he believed? He wasn’t a good guy. So don’t think that this righteous man found God and just became better. It was not so. But one day God shows up to talk to him and this is what He says: “Abraham, this is going to be hard for you to believe, but I didn’t come today to judge you. I came today for one reason, to bless you.” You can read what God said in Genesis 12. And then Abraham believed God and God accounted it to Abraham as righteousness! Romans 4 says that’s what God does for us. He removes the sin in our accounts and places the righteousness of Christ in there when people believe.
Do you want your account of sin wiped out and replaced with the righteousness of Christ? It’s your choice, ready and waiting to receive Him.