JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH

Scripture Reading: Genesis 15:1-6

“And he believed the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)

This is one of the most important verses found in the Bible. It is the first time the Bible tells us how sinful men and women can become right with God. We are told that Abram believed the Lord. What did Abram believe? Galatians 3:6,7 tells us — “The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” Abram believed the gospel!

Abram believed that salvation was by grace through faith (Galatians 3:6-9). He look forward in faith to the redemption that was to be accomplished by Christ — “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say ‘and to seeds,’ referring to many, but ‘and to your seed,’ meaning one person, who is Christ” (Galatians 3:16).

Through Abram’s faith, God acted. He counted it to Abram as righteousness. Abram was given righteousness by God Himself. He was declared righteous by God. For the first time in Scripture God lays out the doctrine of justification by faith. Now the theme of the entire Bible is set before us.

It is absolutely necessary for us to understand clearly the importance of the doctrine of justification by faith. The Westminster Shorter Catechism defines justification for us — “Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein He pardons all our sins and accepts us as righteous in His sight only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone” (Westminster Shorter Catechism #33).

Justification is an act of God’s free grace. It happens only once in a believer’s life. The two aspects of justification are: God pardons us of all our sins, and He accepts us as righteous in His sight. The righteousness we receive in an alien righteousness; it comes from outside us. It is the righteousness of Christ that is imputed (credited) to us. The instrument through which we are justified is faith.

Lord Jesus, You made my justification possible through Your sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. You paid for my sins so that I could be pardoned for them. And Your provided the complete and perfect righteousness that has been imputed to me. Thank You for the gift of salvation and for the glorious hope I have because of it.

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