|Create Date||November 1, 2019|
|Last Updated||November 1, 2019|
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Credit Where Credit Is Not Due
(I OWE, I OWE SO IT’S OFF TO WORK I GO?)
Redhill. 27 October 2019. Presented by Gordon Green
Did you know that you have a heavenly bank account?
In the first few chapters of Romans Paul describes the world as a place of darkness, deceit, depravity, hypocrisy, ignorance, despair - and its where no one can make themselves right with God. But God has intervened. Because of his great love, his compassion, his mercy something astonishing has happened. God has stepped into this situation and made people right with him – righteous.
Romans answers the question; how can a sinful person look God in the eye and know and know that he knows that he is right with God? The answer is found in Romans. God himself has reached out to us with the gift of his own righteousness – and pronounces us not guilty. Because Jesus Christ has taken upon himself all of our sins and we receive righteousness.
What? Surely if I want to be right before God I must be a good person, I must keep his laws, his commandments. Is there another way? A new way by faith in what God has done? Paul says no. This is not a new way. It’s been around from the very beginning. So Paul gives the example of Abraham. He begins by going back to Abraham because he as the father of the faithful. And he shows that this whole matter is faith in God (or the faith of God). It’s not about working for God. Walking with God is not doing something for God but it is resting in what he has done for you. Often you will hear Christians say “do a work for God.” That is not in the Bible. It is arrogant - as if God needs us to do a work for him. He has done the work. We rest in his work. Then he works in us and through us. It’s not doing something for God but it’s about working from God. It’s drawing out of him and letting him do it through us
So Paul sets out to prove from the life of Abraham that long before the law came God had already established how people would walk with him. It was the way of faith that made a person right with God through nothing he did but everything God did. Paul is not saying that God’s laws are unimportant but he is saying that it’s impossible to be righteous with God by obeying them.
Abraham was about 70 when God called him. Abraham walked out to follow God which was a tremendous step of faith. He followed the voice of God. God said you are going to have a child. God entered into a covenant with Abraham. But then you see these incredible words, probably some of the most important words in the Bible. These words tower above the Old and New Testaments “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Do you hear that? It was faith, not his works that made him right with God. He wasn’t perfect but he made one decision that changed his eternal life “he trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own (Rom 4:3). Abraham didn’t work for his right standing with God or earn it. What is credit? Paul will use it 10 times in Romans 4.What does it mean? To credit an account is to make a deposit. It has to do with putting something into somebody’s account. If i credit your account then I either increase your balance or lower your debt. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone credited your account? Jesus has credited your heavenly bank account.
The Passion Bible translates this verse: Because Abraham believed God’s words, his faith transferred God’s righteousness into his account.
Paul also uses the example of David to prove his point (Romans 4:5-8).When God forgives he never brings up that sin again. King David was guilty of terrible sins – adultery, murder, lying. He committed adultery with his best friend’s wife. She fell pregnant and David made sure that her husband Uriah died in battle. In the Old Testament there was no forgiveness for adultery or murder. The guilty were stoned to death. But what did God do? He continued to pursue after David. What did David do? He prayed that great prayer (Psalm 51) And God did it. But David didn’t deserve it. David didn’t do anything. How could he be treated like that? He’s broken all the laws. How did this come about? God credited to David righteousness. Shocking! But it’s in the bible. Here is a man who did all this and God credited it into his heavenly bank account. David stood before God as if he never sinned. Nothing he had done. Everything was against him. “God, in despair I rest my case on you” and righteousness was credited to him.
But don’t miss this verse: V23 Paul wrote that “the words it was credited for Abraham were not written for him alone but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness….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.
The story of Abraham (and David) are for us. Paul says this is exactly what has happened to you. Rom 15:4. Abraham and David are not unique in their experience of being justified by faith. Because this is God’s way of salvation for everybody. He has made us right with himself. He has fulfilled his promise to us. They believed. You are as helpless and hopeless to achieve righteousness with God as Abraham and Sarah were to produce a child and David was to be saved from being stoned. But you know what?
Until you have felt that hopelessness and helplessness you are not ready to hear the good news. When you know the despair that you cannot be right with God by yourself then you have to trust and rest in God who raises the dead. And he has done that when he included you in Jesus Christ. And when Jesus Christ died with your sins and rose again from the dead because you are declared right with God. As you rest your case there it is credited to you for righteousness. It’s credited in your heavenly account that you are right with God and you know it and therein is rest. No more struggle. Now we begin to live. Without even thinking or trying to be right with God to be accepted we know we are through nothing we have done.
So now Paul says triumphantly: “Do you see what I’m teaching is nothing new. It’s been here from the very beginning. So celebrate who you are. You are justified, made right with God because he who worked in Abraham and David, works in you. Celebrate this, praise God for this. Thank him for his mercy, his goodness, his compassion. Walk through life with your head held high. Not because of anything we have done but that God has chosen to do something for us.
5 No one earns God’s righteousness. It can only be transferred when we no longer rely on our own works, but believe in the one who powerfully declares the ungodly to be righteous] in his eyes. It is faith that transfers God’s righteousness into your account! 22 Abraham’s faith was credited to his account as righteousness before God. 23 and this declaration was not just spoken over Abraham, 24 but also over us. For when we believe and embrace the one who brought our Lord Jesus back to life, perfect righteousness will be credited to our account as well. 25 Jesus was handed over to be crucified for the forgiveness of our sins and was raised back to life to prove that he had made us right with God!