The problem facing our young builder could happen to anyone. If you’ve ever collected a handful of rulers manufactured by several different companies you know what I mean. None of them ever seem to have the exact same measurements. So how do you know which one is right? And when you do decide on one, how can you be sure you’ve actually selected the right one? What criteria do you use? What do you base your decision on? In a nutshell, that is the pressing question in the book of Romans concerning righteousness. How is it determined or measured? What criteria should be used? And how do you know your measurement of righteousness is right? The book of Romans states there is only one accurate measuring stick when it comes to righteousness, and that is faith in the Gospel and God Himself. As Romans 1:17 states, "For in it (the Gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "But the righteous man shall live by faith."
Romans emphasizes God is righteous in the way He acts. What He does and provides is in keeping with His righteous nature. God's activity in righteousness stresses divine provision. He gives righteousness to those who believe in Him and in turn those who believe live by faith. Paul, the author of Romans, links this activity to a quote from Habakkuk 2:4 to defend his conclusion. God's righteousness is a moral standard that only He can attain, but as part of His righteous nature He declares a person righteous when they place their faith in Him.
Romans 4:24 tells us that Abraham's story is recorded for our benefit. Abraham's faith is a wonderful reminder of God's grace because, like us, he had moments of weakness which led to some failure on his part. In spite of the conflicts which were a result of his weaknesses, God worked through Abraham and Abraham believed God would fulfill His promises. Because Abraham believed that God was able to give him descendants when offspring was physically impossible, Abraham was "reckoned as righteous". When we respond to the Gospel in faith, we become Abraham's spiritual offspring (Rom. 4:16). God says that our faith in Him measures up and He counts us as righteous just as He counted Abraham as righteous. I don’t know about you but I find that very reassuring because like Abraham, I too, have moments of great weakness! Abraham believed God had the power to give him a child. We believe God had the power to raise Jesus from the dead and His resurrection gives us victory over sin (Rom. 4:25), which is the essence of the Gospel. Our faith in the power of the Resurrection reckons us as righteous.
The faith that results in righteousness does not look at circumstances. It does not look at the logical or predictable. It resists focusing on obstacles that others see, instead it trusts God to fulfill the promises that He has made. Its ruler is true and accurate because its standard is The Ruler. Is your faith measured by the Righteous Ruler?
Ann LeFevre, M. Div.
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