The Gift of God
And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:5, 6)
On his deathbed, King Philip II of Spain sent this word to his confessor: “Father Confessor, …I protest to you that I will do everything you shall say to be necessary for my being saved, so that what I admit doing will be placed to your account, as I am ready to acquit myself of all that shall be ordered to me.” And one writer says, “He did everything he could for salvation.”
Our promise text for today shows God’s answer, the only answer, to earth’s great problem–how to be righteous, how to be good. This is never accomplished by human effort. It is the gift of God, and faith is the hand by which we accept it. “The just shall live by faith” (Galatians 3:11). Sinners are made righteous by faith, not by works.
Notice here the law of first mention. In our text three great salvation words–“believed,” “counted,” “righteousness”–are found for the first time in the Bible, and all together. Abraham believed in the Lord, and God did the rest. Surely we can believe God when in His Word He promises to forgive our sins and count us righteous through Christ’s atoning sacrifice. “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22-24). Will you believe in the Lord?
“Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.”
MEDITATION PRAYER: “Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness” (Psalm 5:8).
from The Promises of God
H.M.S. Richards | Review & Herald (2004)
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