#DailyDevotion Ungodly? Good News, God Declares Your Righteous!
Romans 4What should we say Abraham, our natural ancestor, found? 2If he was declared righteous by what he did, he had something to boast about. But he couldn’t boast before God. 3What does the Bible say? “Abraham believed God and so he was counted righteous.”
4If you work, your pay isn’t considered a gift but a debt. 5But if instead of working you believe in Him Who declares the ungodly righteous, your faith is counted as righteousness. 6So David calls the man blessed whom God counts righteous apart from what he does: 7“Blessed are you if your wrongs are forgiven and your sins are covered. 8Blessed are you if the Lord doesn’t count sins against you.”
This is something that often confuses people, “before God and before man.” Why the difference? Because God alone can read the heart and he alone knows all things. He could be declared righteous before men. That is something he could boast about (if he wanted to boast). Before the world Abraham was a good man, well except for that whole lying about Sarah being his sister to a couple of rulers. It caused those guys a whole lot of trouble. We look at most people and think they are basically good people. On a human scale you are right. But the LORD has a different scale. He’s on one end and you’re on the other. You are not going to measure up.
Thankfully, we have these words from Paul and him quoting Genesis, “Abraham believed God and so he was counted righteous.” Abraham could never measure up to God. God made promises to Abraham and Abraham believed those promises. God counts this faith (which is a gift of God Eph. 2) as righteousness, more specifically, his righteousness. This is a gift God gives to us. You can try working, obeying the law of God in order to be righteous before God, but you already know, at least you do now, that doing that won’t work. You could try to put God in your debt by your works, but you owe God your good works anyway and you don’t even do those correctly 100%. So even in your good works, you have built up a debt to God you cannot pay.
Yet we have this wonderful thing the LORD our God has set up. Instead of working for righteousness he gives it to us as a gift. He promises you that the righteousness that is Christ Jesus is credited to your account. He promises your debt to him has been paid by Jesus’ death on the cross. His promise is that Jesus declares you who are ungodly as righteous. If this is what you believe, your faith is counted as righteousness just as Abraham’s was counted righteous. Can you see Satan stomping his feet as the LORD Jesus Christ declares ungodly people as being righteous, having the righteousness of God? Yet that is what he does.
Paul then brings David into the argument. We are blessed if the LORD doesn’t count our sins against us. We are blessed because the LORD Jesus Christ counts us righteous apart from what we have done. We are counted righteous because of what He does and doesn’t do—covers our sins with his righteousness and doesn’t count our sins against us. You may think this isn’t fair. Do you really want what is fair? What is fair is you are condemned for all eternity because of just one of your sins. God’s fairness is He takes what you deserve and places it upon Jesus and treats Jesus as you deserve to be treated. Jesus does this willingly because he loves you and wants you to be saved. Salvation is a gift from God that cannot be earned or merited.
Heavenly Father, grant us faith in Jesus who declares us ungodly people as righteous so we may be credited with your righteousness and be saved. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.