David Macaulay has authored a popular series of books for children (and loved by many adults) that describe The Way Things Work. Using colorful and precisely detailed illustrations, he explains the inner workings of things we encounter every day, such as computers or light or sound waves.
In Romans 4, Paul explains the way justification works. Using Abraham as his model, the apostle shows us that righteousness cannot come through the law. If Abraham’s inheritance had been based on how perfectly he followed the law, it would have rendered God’s promise “worthless” (v. 14). Instead, God determined to justify Abraham by faith so that righteousness would be a gift instead of an earned wage. An additional reason for linking righteousness to faith was that the law is unable to produce what it demands. Instead of making us righteous, “the law brings wrath” (v. 15). The best the law can do is to reveal the standard and show that we have violated it.
Attempts to be justified through the law only heighten our separation from God because they prove that we have fallen short. The law highlights our inability or weakness. Abraham exemplified this weakness when he believed God’s promise to make him “a father of nations” because his body “was as good as dead” (v. 19). Abraham showed his faith by believing that God could do what he could not do for himself.
Abraham’s blessing was not meant for him alone. The promise is for us as well. God will count as righteous all who believe that Jesus was “delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (v. 25). That is indeed good news!
>> Let this truth about justification soak in! God has done for you what you could never do for yourself! Have you believed God’s promise to forgive your sins and credit Christ’s righteousness to your account? If you would like to talk to someone about this, call (800) DL MOODY.
As we meditate on your gift of justification, help us grasp the magnitude of your grace. May we embrace the knowledge that we are utterly dependent on you for every good and perfect thing.