Romans 4:3 What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Abraham was not a Jew or Israelite when he obeyed God’s call to leave his homeland of Ur. He was not a man of great accomplishment, nothing in Scripture shows him having done anything special prior to God’s call. He was a man like any other of his day but with one exception. He was a man willing to believe God and obey His leading.
Abraham was accepted as righteous by God because of his faith in God. His acceptance by God implied that he was upright, good and clean in God’s eyes, despite the occasions in Scripture where he is seen to have sinned. His life was not perfect in any way. He was not a great moral or spiritual person. Only because he heard God and obeyed God do we see that God credited to him as righteousness.
How often do we compete with other Christians to be the most pious, orthodox or pastoral? These small attempts are to create a righteousness that is not of God but of man. God sees through these efforts and turns the other way. The righteousness that he declares for us is based on the same standard that He used for Abraham. He sees us as we really are and is not fooled by our performances.
As we submit ourselves to God’s commandments we find our lives changing. Our spiritual development is not something we create for ourselves but is something God works in us to conform to His Son. The Holy Spirit, Christ in us, brings true change to our hearts and minds. Already righteous by God’s decree in us, we should boast in God’s loving goodness and glorify Him for what he has done in spite of us.