The enemy tries to get believers to move from grace into works: 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 on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.
Wouldn’t it be great if the whole world understood this? We are sinners; we believe in Christ and the sin is taken out of our account and righteousness is put in it. Too many believe that in order to go to heaven, they need to just be a good person. They think the good, will out-weigh the bad. The only problem with this is that God’s standard is not just being “good,” it is “perfection.” We are not accepted by our standards.
James 2:10 – For whoever shall keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
Do yo know of anyone other than Jesus, that can keep the Ten Commandments perfectly? Even if they have broken a part of one law they are guilty of all the laws. That is one reason why it is so hard to get the lost to listen to the gospel sometimes, because everyone thinks they are a good person.
If God’s standard is perfection then how do we go to heaven? By believing in the One that was and is perfect – Jesus Christ. Romans 4:3 – For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
What Is Righteousness?
Is a person righteous because they do righteous things, or do they do righteous things because they are righteous? That’s the whole difference between grace and works. Is the person righteous in God’s eyes because they do righteous things? Does a person do right things because God’s grace made them right with Him?
Our understanding of grace changes everything about life. The way we understand grace will affect how we see God and relate to Him. It will also affect the way we see others and the way we relate to them. It will affect mainly, the way we see ourselves.
So, righteousness is right standing with God. Can a righteous person do an unrighteous deed? Yes, because all of us have done unrighteous things and we are not perfect. We don’t always do what’s right, even since we have believed in Jesus. Now, can an unrighteous person do a righteous deed? Yes, a person who hasn’t been saved can do right things. However, does the righteous deed that the unrighteous do, make them righteous? No. It is not accounted to them, because they don’t believe and have faith in Jesus Christ. The unrighteous person doing the righteous deed is “working” to be called righteous. Believers are righteous by their position, not by performance. We are put in the state of right standing with God by the blood of Jesus!
Did Abraham Earn His Righteousness?
Romans 4:2 – For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. (Verse 3) …Abraham believed God…(Verse 4) Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
Accounting – Keeping records of credits and debts. So, here’s what it’s saying: To him who works, it is not accounting to him as grace, but a debt. Those that are unsaved think when they “work”, doing good deeds, it is counted to their credit before God. Not so, it is counted as a debt.
If Abraham had done good works to be in right standing with God, then God would have owed him. God did not owe Abraham and God doesn’t owe us because :Isaiah 64:6, says, “All our righteousness are like filthy rags.” That is the way our righteousness is before we come to Christ. We have no righteousness. No matter how good we try to be, it is still not good enough.
Keep in mind: Abraham was not sinless, and neither were we before Christ. So, here’s what happened over 2,000 years ago: God took Christ’s righteousness out of His account and God put the sins of the whole world in Jesus account. That’s why God’s Son was condemned to death, for the wages of sin is death. The Bible says God took the One who knew no sin and made Him sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God. The blood of Jesus erased our sins. Not only our sins, but the sins of the whole world. However, it is up to us, as an individual, to choose if we are going to receive what Jesus did or not. That is why not everyone is saved, some chose not to believe.
People don’t go to hell because of their sin, because sin was already paid for by Jesus. They go to hell because of their unbelief. It’s not enough to just say, “I believe,” and then still live like a heathen, even the devil believes. One has to believe and follow Jesus teachings and those teachings will transform a person’s life when the Holy Spirit comes to reside in them.
So What Did Abraham Do To Obtain Righteousness?
He believed what God said to him and obeyed. 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.” Belief comes first from the heart, not just the mind. We must believe that God sent Jesus; that He died on a cross for our sins; that He rose again; and is seated at the right hand of God Almighty!
Do you believe?