He died for our sins
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter?If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about–but not before God. What does the Scripture say?”Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”–Romans 5:1-3.
A young man, after graduating from school, wanted to go into business. He spoke to his uncle who advised him to put together a business plan and then go to see his banker.
After doing what his uncle had suggested, the young man visited the banker and subsequently got the loan. Immediately, he began to boast to his friends about his success and his ability. He did it all by himself, he thought.
The young man did not know, he had nothing to do with it. His uncle, a prominent client of the bank, had done it all. He had instructed the banker to give his nephew the loan, but to keep his involvement a secret. He had also guaranteed the loan.
In the text, the apostle Paul proves that Abraham was not justified by his good works but by his faith. The Jews had a belief that they could share in righteousness because of the privilege they enjoyed, being descendents of Abraham, and the works they performed, particularly keeping the law. Paul says no, Abraham was a sinner like all humans who are descendents of Adam.
Had Abraham been justified by works, then he would have had room to boast. Before God, we have nothing about which to gloat. Even though Abraham was a good and great man, he could not boast. Paul puts to rest the argument that Abraham received the promise from God because he was such a righteous man.
Scripture tells us that God called Abraham from among his people and instructed him
to go into a distant land which he would give to him. He also told him that he would be the father of a great nation. Through that nation the Messiah would come.
In human terms, the promise to Abraham about being the father of a great nation was absurd because Abraham was a very old man with no children. Furthermore, his wife was barren, and beyond the age of child bearing.
Yet, Abraham believed God. Abraham took God at his word. So Abraham’s faith was the instrument of his justification, not his works. God gave him credit as if he had kept the whole Law. This he called righteousness.
What is justification?Justification is the righteousness, which comes to the Christian through faith in Jesus Christ. It is a gift from God, not because of what we have done but because of Christ’s vicarious act at Calvary.
What Abraham received from God was a gift because of his faith in God’s promise to him. He did nothing to deserve anything from God. Abraham was a sinner because, like all humans, he was of the seed of Adam. Scripture tells us,”For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”–Romans 3:23.
Like Abraham, we receive the gift of righteousness from God because of our faith in Jesus Christ. No one can make God a debtor. In the eyes of God, we are not good enough, no matter how good we think we are. His grace comes to us through faith in Jesus Christ.
Often, like the young man in the illustration, we believe that our salvation is a result of what we have done. No, not what we have done, but what Jesus did for us on the cross at Calvary. He died for our sins. He undertook our debt. With His death, He guaranteed for us life eternal. We are all just ransomed souls. Amen
Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas or telephone 323-4107; or e-mail: [email protected]: Website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.