"Righteousness - By Faith"
"What saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:3-5).
Why belief? Why is faith so central in God's purposes and the human heart that He accounts us as righteous when we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ? The answer involves the primary reason God made us, namely, for personal relationship whereby He knows us, we know Him, and we glorify the Lord Jesus by the Heart to heart bond of His grace and our trust. "Faith worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6). Righteousness involves being that which our Heavenly Father designed us to be. This involves relationship, and as His dependent creatures, faith necessarily constitutes our primary role in walking with God. How could it be otherwise? He made us, gives to us "life and breath and all things," and declares to us in His Word that "Christ… is our life" (Acts 17:25; Colossians 3:4). Only the belief, trust, and confidence that constitutes faith could originate and sustain genuine rightness in our hearts and the subsequent life that leads to "the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ" (Phillipians 1:11).
We entered into the righteousness of relationship with God by trusting the Lord Jesus. "With the heart, man believeth unto righteousness" (Romans 10:10). We experience and practice our righteousness of relationship by the same trust: "as ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith" (Colossians 2:6-7). Thus, our Heavenly Father works in us by the Holy Spirit to strengthen our confidence in Himself and His Word. The blessings, challenges, and everyday moments of life all come to us as His means of revealing His faithfulness and bolstering our faith. Thereby we relate to Him rightly - or righteously - and thereby the Lord Jesus is honored by both His Father and His faithful. "Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thessalonians 1:11-12).
We can be sure that this day involves the holy process of God working in us to strengthen our faith in Him, and thus to lead us in the living personal relationship for which He made us. Indeed, the more we trust Him, the more we will seek Him in His Word. The more we trust Him, the better we will pray. The more we trust Him, the more consistently we will obey His commands. The more we trust Him, the more faithfully we will love people, be they friend or foe. And the more we trust Him, the more we will glorify the Lord Jesus, as empowered by the Holy Spirit. Little wonder that the Bible declares in both Old Testament and New, "the just shall live by faith" (Habakuk 2:4; Romans 1:17). Why belief? Why faith? How could it be otherwise?
"I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."
Weekly Memory Verse
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
(I John 3:16)