What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” – Romans 4:3 NIV
In the fifteenth chapter of Genesis, God promises Abraham a son and descendants more numerous than the visible stars. In the sixth verse of that chapter we find Abraham’s response; he believed what God had told him. Abraham was likely around 86 years old, and childless, when God promised him this, so his belief was significant. And the writer of Genesis records that God credited Abraham’s belief as righteousness on Abraham’s part. God saw him as righteous, not because of what he did, but because he believed what God told him; so much so that he acted on it.
This passage seems to be central to Paul’s gospel, using it both here and in Galatians 3:6. We also see this passage used in James 2:23 where he argues that Abraham’s faith was an active rather than passive faith. There is nothing I can do to earn my salvation. What was true for Abraham 4000 years ago is just as true for me today. Will I believe God, entrusting my life and future into his hands? And, as James emphasizes, will that faith impact how I live my life; the way it did for Abraham? Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).