“After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”2 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” 4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:1-6 (NIV)
God made a covenant with Abraham that his descendants would outnumber the stars. God told him that salvation would come to His people through Abraham’s lineage; that all people would be blessed through him. In Genesis 15, we find where God was confirming that what He said would come to pass. This was a little confusing to Abraham since he did not yet have children.
By this point in Abraham and Sarah’s life, they believed they would never have children. Abraham obviously had that fact on his mind since he had already figured out who his inheritance would go to. (vs. 2)
The start of verses 4 and 5 got my attention. In verse 4 it says, “Then the word of the LORD came…” and verse 5, “He took him…”
When we are facing things that causes us to doubt and fret, it seems we cannot let those things go until the, “Then God,” moment happens. When God speaks, and when God takes us out, out of ourselves, then we can start trusting. We can trust whatever God says and whatever God does. His word contains the promises and instructions that should cause us to pause and stop thinking about all the impossibilities and trust the truth that all things are possible with God.
Abraham had that moment. Verse 6 says, “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
Abraham became esteemed and was referred to often as an example of faith. Galations 3:6 and Romans 4:3 are direct quotes of this verse in Genesis. I, myself, have often wished that description could be made of my life. Would it not be wonderful, that of all the things people may be able to say about us, that the one thing that would stick out in their mind would be that our faith was credited to us as righteousness before our God?
But wait. Before we think that our faith would never equal that of Abraham’s, let’s look at some other verses.
“So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” Galatians 3:9 (NIV)
In the Old Testament, people were taught that they had to obey the laws of God in order to be considered righteous. Moses was addressing the people of Israel when he made this statement: “The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. 25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.” Deuteronomy 6: 24-25 (NIV)
But then God, (there it is), came to us. Just like the word of the Lord came to Abraham, the Word of the Lord came to us, in the flesh. And when He came, He came to draw us to Himself, to call us to come to Him.
The Apostle Paul wrote a lot about the difference between trusting in the works of our flesh, the Law, and trusting in God. Galations 3 and Romans chapters 3 and 4 are wonderful to read. We cannot obtain righteousness through our works but only in our faith in God and in what Christ did for us on the cross. Abraham did not perform any works. He simply believed.
Paul writes this in Romans:
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Romans 4:18-25 (NIV)
So there it is in verse 24: “but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.”
We can be credited for our righteousness. But we have to believe wholly on God. We need to believe in Christ. Not in ourselves, our works. Not on anyone or anything else. We have to hold on to the promises of God. We need to praise Him for all He has done and will do. We have to have faith in Him.
But, do we live that faith outwardly? Do we allow others to know and see how strong our faith is? Abraham proved his belief and trust in God’s promises by the way he lived. And because of how he lived, others could see outwardly the faith he had inwardly for God. That’s how people were able to say God credited that to him as righteousness.
I hope we can all say we believe in God. We believe in Christ, His birth, death, burial and resurrection. We believe so God does credit that to us as our righteousness. The question is, can others see it?