JUSTIFIED BY FAITH
Pastor Gary Giddings
Sand Lake, MichiganRomans 4:1-3 1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Abraham was justified by faith when he put the weight of his trust, his confidence and his reliance upon God. God declared him RIGHTEOUS for all to learn how God brings any person into a right relationship with Him.
God called Abraham OUT OF idolatry and INTO a relationship with Him. God called him to leave the old land and to go into the land of Canaan, a land populated by idol worshipping people. This is where God would bless Abraham far above anything he could dream. God promised that He would make of him A GREAT NATION.
Abraham was 75 years old when he was called (Gen. 12:4). BY FAITH Abraham went into the land of Canaan BEFORE he had any children. Years passed by and Abraham and his wife still had no children. Perhaps he would have a progeny through his servant, Eliezer of Damascus?
Genesis 15:4-6 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.
Abraham BELIEVED God and so his faith was counted as Righteousness. There was no set of “works” that Abraham had to perform, no “standard” by which he had to attain. Abraham simply BELIEVED what God told him was true, and God declared him to be RIGHTEOUS. Abraham was RIGHT because he dared to believe God’s Word. God gave the land of Canaan to Abraham and to his seed FOREVER.
It is very interesting that God was willing to show Abraham the certainty of this blessing: God made a single-sided covenant with Abraham, saying what He was going to do for him.
Genesis 15:7-10 7 And He said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And He said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And He took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.
A sacrifice was made: it was the “cutting” or the making of a covenant. God made a BINDING covenant with Abraham. God is true and He cannot lie or go back on His promise. But this was done TO SHOW Abraham the certainty of God’s Word! Abraham’s part was to simply believe what God had said. Abraham’s faith was shown by his obedience to God.
Genesis 15:17-18 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.
Again, this covenant was a promise by God that HE would do something for Abraham. It was God saying that HE would make it happen, not that Abraham had to do anything to make it happen. The burden was on GOD, not on Abraham! God is ABLE and FAITHFUL to perform His Word.
Romans 4:4-5 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
There is a SPIRITUAL blessing to be found as we look at the EXAMPLE of Abraham’s FAITH. We’re not looking for a reward that comes from WORKS but A RIGHT STANDING with God that comes by FAITH. It is the exercise of FAITH by which God JUSTIFIES the ungodly. God CAN and WILL justify us, the ungodly, because FAITH IN GOD is counted as RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Romans 4:13 “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”
God’s righteousness was NEVER by keeping the Law of Moses. The Law was given to show everyone how much they failed to meet God’s standard of righteousness. Whether BEFORE the Law, DURING the Age of Law or AFTER the Law, it was and is always “THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
Romans 4:23-25 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Jesus was DELIVERED FOR OUR OFFENCES. He took our place and died on the Cross to purify us and to cleanse us from all our sins. This is so important because it is SIN that hinders our relationship with Him.
Just as God “cut” or made a covenant with Abraham, declaring what He was going to do for Abraham, God has made a NEW COVENANT with us, declaring that He will forgive us if we will put our trust in Him.
Jesus was RAISED AGAIN for our JUSTIFICATION. According to the Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, JUSTIFICATION is “the act of pronouncing righteous.” Jesus death was not the end of the story! He rose again the third day so that we could LIVE in His RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Because we have been JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, we have peace with God and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God! (Romans 5:1-2)