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January 21, 2013

Don’t Try Harder

Romans 4

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but (B)not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

This is a very controversial verse for those who think believing in Jesus is not enough. We think that to be a Christian we need to do better and try harder. If we want to be more righteous, we need to read 5 chapters every day, wake up really early in the morning to pray, try as hard as we can to be Proverbs 31 woman.

But the Scripture tells us that Abraham BELIEVED and it was credited to him as righteousness. Instead of behaving better, the gospel tells us to believe better on what Christ has done for us.

Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.

And the reason we do good works is because of what Christ has done and not because we want God to love us more.

And to the one who does not work but believes inhim who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
    and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

In light of our sinfulness and ability to do evil, Christ’s death on the cross was the only solution for us to be transformed – it is not by our human will or power. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.

Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.