Romans chapter 4


You’ve seen the ads. They seem like they’re everywhere these days because of the downturn in the economy. Everyone is offering to check your credit for free, because bad credit can be bad news in an economy that thrives on credit. And as I read through chapter four of Romans this morning it was as if Paul was offering me a free credit check on my righteous standing before God. And the news was not only good, it was great!

Eleven times in this chapter Paul uses the Greek term logizomai which can be translated “to reckon, count, to pass to one’s account, or to impute.” It carries the idea that “a thing is reckoned as or to be something, i.e. as availing for or equivalent to something, as having the like force and weight” (NET Bible study notes). In Paul’s illustration, Abraham’s belief or faith was credited to his account as having the same value as righteousness. His belief was the equivalent of righteousness. This theme runs throughout the chapter as Paul stresses that our righteousness is not based on anything we do, any law we keep, any ritual we go through, or any works we may perform. Righteousness is credited to our account as a result of simple belief. Like Abraham, we “who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Vs 24) believe in a promise. We believe that what God has promised regarding His Son is true. We believe that Jesus was the Son of God and that He lived a sinless life, yet died a sinner’s death, and rose again three days later, having paid the penalty for our sins. We believe that His death satisfied the justice of God and allowed us to be restored in our relationship with God. We believe that Jesus is coming again some day and that He has prepared a place for us to live with Him for eternity. We believe all this based on the promise of God, having never seen any of it. Paul says, “In hope against hope” Abraham believed. In other words, when everything looked hopeless Abraham believed anyway. His faith didn’t weaken (Vs 19), it actually grew stronger over time (Vs 20). “He was fully convinced that what God promised he was also able to do” (Vs 21 NET). And that faith was credited to him as righteousness.

God doesn’t look at all my efforts. He doesn’t weigh out the relative value of my works. He isn’t impressed with all that I do for Him. Those things carry no value and have no credit with God. No, “faith is the key! God’s promise is given to us as a free gift” (Vs 16 NLT). We simply have to believe in the promise. We just have to keep hoping even when things look hopeless. The law showed we could never earn righteousness. It is a free gift provided to us by God and paid for by Jesus Christ on the cross. When I believe that, righteousness gets credited to my account. It is as good as mine. It’s a done deal! When God looks at me, he doesn’t see a deadbeat, spiritually broke and morally bankrupt. He sees me as overflowing with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Like David, I am blessed because God has credited righteousness to my account apart from any effort on my part. I stand before God as one of those “whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered” (Vs 7 NASB).”Yes, what joy for those whose sin is no longer counted against them by the Lord” (Vs 8 NLT). My credit is great!

Father, thank You for GIVING me great credit. Jesus settled all my debts when He died in my place on the cross. And because I believe in the promise of new life through Your Son, I have been credited with His righteousness. You look at my account and see it full, not empty. And I did nothing to deserve it. It was a gift. Not help me to continue to believe even when everything looks hopeless. Help me to keep believing the promise even when things look shaky. May You continue to strengthen my faith in the midst of the trials and difficulties of life.  Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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