Our Righteousness

Romans 4:1–12

Paul calls Abraham “our forefather according to the flesh”

(v. 1). Abraham, from whom the Jewish people trace their

lineage, was believed to have obeyed the law before it was

given. When Abraham entered into a covenant with God, he was

told to circumcise, “every male among you” (Gen. 17:9–10).

Yet Paul points out that this came after “Abraham’s faith was

credited to him as righteousness” (Rom. 4:9). The order

indicates that Abraham obtained righteousness by faith before

action. Circumcision and obedience followed his faith. Paul’s

opponents had it backward. They taught that righteous

standing before God was attained by first being circumcised

and keeping the law of Moses.

Paul cites Psalm 32, where David speaks of the blessedness of

forgiveness (vv. 7–8). These two examples are connected by

the use of the word “count” in Psalm 32:2. Together, Abraham

and David show the two sides of God’s action toward believers

in justification. The Father counts our sin as forgiven and

considers us to be righteous because of Jesus’ death and

resurrection. The cross is the only payment that satisfies

the debt of sin. Christ’s righteousness is the only

righteousness that God will accept. Still today, many people

believe they must complete a checklist in order to earn God’s

approval. They try to become good enough for God. Paul

reminds us that our journey begins with the simple act of

faith.

Today’s word is “righteousness.” Have you followed

Abraham’s example by trusting God to make you righteous

through Jesus Christ? Take the next step by sharing that

decision with your pastor or another believer today! They

will be happy to welcome you into the family of God.