Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 20 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Genesis 15 today, and our focus is on one of the most profound sentences in the Bible, “Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to Him as righteousness.” Thank you for joining us for Bible 2021! We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Zambia, Africa, Malawi, Africa, Dayton, Ohio, New York, New York and Springfield, Illinois. Thanks for listening! Our focus this year is on DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our new web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more – Click here for our reading plan!
If you study the religions of the world, you will find that almost all of them have something in common – there are holy writings, and those holy writings focus on what to DO in order to succeed. Sometimes that success is to gain access to Heaven, sometimes the success is to enter into a nirvanic state, sometimes it is to attain to some sort of godhood, and sometimes it is to be reincarnated as a better being…but almost all religions have holy writings that show the way to whatever that religion defines as success. In Genesis 15:6, we are going to see something startlingly different. Just how different won’t become clear until we get to the cross of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus, but the amazing thing in Genesis 15:6 is still quite stunning. Abram BELIEVES, and God credits Him righteousness for that. Not for an action, but for faith – believing God That is why 15:6 is our Verse of the Day, “6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
So let’s read our passage, and see the beauty of belief counting as righteousness.
Paul uses this incident as a foundation for the great New Testament of truth of justification by grace alone through faith alone, and much of Romans is based on this one grand truth. Check out Romans 3 and 4:
22 The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe Romans 3:22
What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about—but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.4 Now to the one who works, pay is not credited as a gift, but as something owed. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited for righteousness. Romans 4:1-5
Salvation by belief in God and belief in Jesus and His sacrifice is the very core of Christianity, and if we are saved by Jesus, then Abraham is our forefather – even if we aren’t Jewish, because He was the first to believe God and have it counted as righteousness.
Here is Spurgeon on this momentous truth:
“Abram believed the LORD.” Oh, what a blessing to learn the way of simple faith in God! This is the saving quality in many a life. Look through Hebrews’ list of the heroes of faith; some of them are exceedingly imperfect characters. Some we would hardly have thought of mentioning. But they had faith; and, although men in their faulty judgment think faith to be an inferior virtue and often scarcely look on it as a virtue at all, yet in the judgment of God faith is the supreme virtue. “This,” said Christ, “is the work of God,” the greatest of all works, “that you believe on him whom he has sent.” To trust, to believe—this will be counted to us for righteousness even as it was to Abraham. If Abram, when full of good works, is not justified by them but by his faith, how much more we, being full of imperfections, must come unto the throne of the heavenly grace and ask that we may be justified by faith, which is in Christ Jesus, and saved by the free mercy of God.
Spurgeon, The Spurgeon Study Bible: Notes (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 20.
You see at the very end how Spurgeon ties Abram to us, just as Paul does in Romans. This is not just some event that happened thousands of years ago, but it is the same wonderful dynamic that opens the door to Heaven for you and I – belief being credited to sinful people as righteousness. Here is Spurgeon to help us understand this even more:
We see in the text the great truth, which Paul so clearly brings out in the fourth chapter of his epistle to the Romans, that Abram was not justified by his works. Many had been the good works of Abram. It was a good work to leave his country and his father’s house at God’s bidding; it was a good work to separate from Lot in so noble a spirit; it was a good work to follow after the robber-kings with undaunted courage; it was a grand work to refuse to take the spoils of Sodom, but to lift up his hand to God that he would not take from a thread even to a shoe latchet; it was a holy work to give to Melchisedec tithes of all that he possessed, and to worship the Most High God; yet none of these are mentioned in the text, nor is there a hint given of any other sacred duties as the ground or cause, or part cause of his justification before God. No, it is said, “He believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Surely, brethren, if Abram, after years of holy living, is not justified by his works, but is accepted before God on account of his faith, much more must this be the case with the ungodly sinner who, having lived in unrighteousness, yet believeth on Jesus and is saved. If there be salvation for the dying thief, and others like him, it cannot be of debt, but of grace, seeing they have no good works. If Abram, when full of good works, is not justified by them, but by his faith, how much more we, being full of imperfections, must come unto the throne of the heavenly grace and ask that we may be justified by faith which is in Christ Jesus, and saved by the free mercy of God!
C. H. Spurgeon, “Justification by Faith—Illustrated by Abram’s Righteousness,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 14 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1868), 675.
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for January: Mark 1:15 15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
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