Muy Interesante: Justification Leads to Obedience

*taken from today’s Sabbath School Lesson

Consider Paul’s quotation of Genesis 15:6. What does it mean when it says that Abraham’s faith was “counted . . . to him for righteousness”? (See also Rom. 4:3–6, 8–11, 22–24.)

Whereas justification was a metaphor taken from the legal world, the word counted or reckoned is a metaphor drawn from the domain of business. It can mean “to credit” or “to place something to one’s account.” Not only is it used of Abraham in Galatians 3:6, but it occurs another 11 times in connection with the patriarch. Some Bible versions translate it as counted, reckoned, or imputed.

According to Paul’s metaphor, what is placed to our accounts is righteousness. The question is, however, On what basis does God count us as righteous? It surely cannot be on the basis of obedience—despite what Paul’s opponents claimed. No matter what they said about Abraham’s obedience, Scripture says that it was because of Abraham’s faith that God counted him as righteous.

The Bible is clear: Abraham’s obedience was not the ground of his justification; it was, instead, the result. He didn’t do the things he did in order to be justified; he did them because he, already, was justified. Justification leads to obedience, not vice versa.

Dwell on what this means—that you are justified not by anything you do but only by what Christ has done for you. Why is that such good news? How can you learn to make that truth your own; that is, to believe it applies to you, personally, no matter your struggles, past and even present?

Love and God Bless,

– T

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