Justification by Faith
by F. B. Meyer
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness" (Romans 4:2-3).
"Though justification costs us nothing but the sacrifice of our pride, it has cost Christ His blood," as F. B. Meyer reminds us. In Romans chapter four the doctrine of justification by faith is illustrated by the faith of Abraham. "It is evident that he was not justified because of his good works." Meyer continues:
No; he believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness (v. 3). The life of God in the soul of man is one and the same in every age. . . The attitude of the soul must always be the same.
From the earliest times men have been justified by faith, Heb. 11:4. Faith has two invariable elements: attitude and receptiveness; that is, the right position toward God, and the power of receiving the full inflow of the divine nature. We are made "partakers of the divine nature," 2 Peter 1:4. . .
In Abraham's case it is clear that he was justified when he was still a Gentile. The initial badge of Judaism was stamped upon him long after he had believed God. The apostle lays great stress on this order of time: first faith, then obedience, and afterwards circumcision, that made him the father and founder of the Jewish people. Justification is imputed to him in the first stage;--not in circumcision, not even in obedience, but in the simple act of believing God, as we have it in Gen. 15:6. We do not hear of circumcision till chapter 17.
Clearly, then, if we Gentiles have Abraham's faith, we may also claim the same justifying righteousness, though we have not received any outward rite. And also, we may be reckoned among his children. . . we may claim the promises made to him in uncircumcision. Count them up; they are yours. We, too, may become heirs of the world; in us also, because we are his seed, all mankind may be blessed (Through the Bible Day by Day, Vol. 6, pp. 80-81).
But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven,
And whose sins have been covered.
"Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account" (Romans 4:5-8).