The Promise Granted Through Faith
13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, 15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, ‘I have made you a father of many nations’) in the presence of Him whom he believedóGod, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarahís womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness.’
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.
Building on yesterday’s post, today continues stating that our salvation comes not by our heritage, nor by the law itself. The law (the moral law of God – the ten commandments) brings only condemnation. It’s like the stick that they use at amusement parks before you get on the roller coaster. I remember when I lived in Denver, that there was a wooden roller coaster called the Twister at Elitches Amusement Park. We’d go on special occasions or school trips and every year I’d run up to that line to see if I was tall enough to get on the ride. Year after year I’d be too short to ride until finally when I was 12 years old I was able to get on that ride. I got really sick and I’m pretty sure that my back is still in need of adjustment from the ride, but it was a thrill to finally be able to reach that goal of my youth. The ten commandements, however, is like that same stick the amusement park used, but it’s saying that you must be THIS righteous to get into Heaven. The problem is that no one is capable reaching that goal. Everyone lies. A recent statistic (that I can’t remember) states that 91% of American adults admit to lying on a daily basis. The other 9% obviously lied when they were asked. Everyone steals – even minor things like post-it notes and pens at work or downloading music – it’s still taking things that don’t belong to you for your own purposes. Everyone commits adultery – not outright (mostly) but when compared with Jesus’ explanation in Matthew 5:27-28, “whoever looks at a someone to lust for them has already committed adultery with them in their heart” – no one can escape that judgment. Do we need to take this further? Has God always been first in your life? Has He always been the subject of all your affection? Have you ever use His name in a low or derogatory manner? No one can stand up to that bar and say that they are capable of getting in on their own merits.
Since our righteousness isn’t enough to get us into Heaven, we need the righteousness of another who IS truly righteous to be applied to our lives so we can be justified by God. We are, as Abraham was, justified by our faith in God. Abraham’s faith was in God to do what He has said, our faith is in what God has already done. Through our faith in Jesus, who has already paid the price for our sins on the cross where He took all of the wrath which God was storing up for us upon Himself, our “righteous acts” are stripped from us and applied to Him and His righteousness is applied to us. That transaction is called propitiation.