Lenten Reader | Day 13

Credited as Righteousness

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

Romans 4:1-5
Belief credited as righteousness. This concept fascinates me. And it equally frustrates me. I am a worker. A do-er. One of my favorite people is my 101-year-old grandma who will often complain if she has “only baked 5 pies for the old people at church” in a day! Hard work has been part of my family culture forever, and it has become ingrained in my being. Sometimes after a long day at work when I go home to cook and clean and take care of my family, my husband will get upset at me and tell me to “sit down and rest already!”

And so to truly believe that just believing can make a person righteous in God’s sight is difficult to accept for someone like me, and I assume for many others in our achievement-driven American culture. This achievement mentality sometimes spills over into my faith. Because I am a worker and a do-er, I fall into the trap of trying to earn God’s love by doing good things. Thinking that the harder I work, the more I’ll deserve. I put my actions and works first and expect something positive in return, which according to Scripture is backward thinking. Instead, I should take the opposite approach and allow the things I do to come as a result of my faith.

It makes sense when I think about a perfect and all-powerful God. Nothing I can do, no matter how big or amazing or wonderful, can measure up to His perfection. Imagine trying to impress God enough to make Him feel like he owes me something! God knew we could never measure up to Him and in His goodness and love for us, allowed another way for us to approach Him. Faith alone. Realizing that our faith in Jesus is all that is necessary for us to be seen as righteous in God’s eyes is freeing, and for this my imperfect human self is thankful.

Erin Allsop