I answered the phone and placed orders for Domino’s Pizza on Friday nights in high school—and then drove home caked in flour and smelling like pepperoni.
But the hundred bucks of pocket money every two weeks made the extra laundry loads worth it. Sometimes I bought a new pair of jeans—or went to the movies with friends and drank Coke through a Red Vine straw.
I liked the reward of punching the clock. I worked. I got paid.
Working for wages was as common in Jesus’ time as it is in ours. So, when Paul wrote to the Romans in the first century about the idea of receiving credit (payment) for work, it made sense (Romans 4:4).
Yet, he then flipped the coin.
He proclaimed that faith—not work—credits us (pays us) righteousness.
Faith From the Beginning
In Romans 4, Paul presents Abraham (the patriarch of the Jewish faith) as the first person credited with righteousness by faith. His faith was apart from works of the Jewish Law.
This matters for us—deeply.
Since Abraham did not earn his right standing before God (righteousness and justification) through the Jewish Law, that means Jesus’ sacrifice for sin is available for all people, Jew and non-Jew. You and me.
We are credited with righteousness by faith like Abraham was, no matter our religious background or religious perfection (Romans 4:13).
As David says, “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” (Romans 4:7).
Yes, we are blessed!
Slowly read the passage below two times.
Romans 4:2–8 (NIV)
If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
What did you notice?
Pray about what you noticed. Did it remind you of a truth? Prod your heart to do something?
Pray about this or whatever else is on your heart.
If you would like to read a prayer instead, here is one to follow:
Father, Son, Holy Spirit—One and Only true God, I worship You. Thank you for the blessing of being saved from the wrath to come by faith in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Thank You for His righteousness being credited to me—even though it is not my paycheck. I am grateful to You, God. Now, please empower me to follow the Spirit today as an act of worship, to live in a way that honors you. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.
The Lord be with you this Lent season,
Join us this Lent Season
5-Step Confession Guide
Join the Well Soul community as we reflect and repent this Lent season through the Ten Commandments and Jesus’ Greatest Commandments statement. Refresh your relationship with God in a deep and transforming way.
Need to catch-up on some episodes? Here’s your time to slow down and drink in God’s Word.
In Romans 4 we are reminded that we don’t need to count our sins or keep track of our shortcomings. The gift we have in Jesus frees us from the trap of living like our right standing with God depends all on us.
LAST WEEK we launched the Lent Series, “God I Need You: A Lenten Journey in the Book of Romans.” Our first episode looked at the gospel as revealed in Romans 3 and focused on the gift of God’s righteousness.
This easy to understand primer on prayer and fasting is a good reminder for the long-time Christian and a good start for those first exploring the spiritual discipline of fasting.
Podcast to Follow (besides the Well Soul)
Listen to the most recent episode on the Honestly, Though podcast where I discuss with the hosts about living ordinary life with extraordinary faith.