Genesis 15:6. And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
We come now to what is possibly the most comforting, hope filled verse in the Old Testament. It explains our relationship with God. It defines our salvation. It clarifies our justification. It removes all doubts as to how we obtain God’s good life.
But let’s back up a minute shall we?
In Genesis 12, following the Tower of Babel debacle, God called a man named Abraham to leave his home and everything he once knew behind, and go to a new “Promised Land.” And in that calling God made promises to Abraham, including the promise that he would be a great nation and that all nations would be blessed through him.
It was all of God’s grace, and Abraham obeyed by faith.
But by time we get to Genesis 15 we have seen Abraham experience all kinds of ups and downs in his relationship with God. If we were keeping score of Abraham’s “good and evil” it might look like this:
+1: Abraham goes to the Promised Land.
-1: Abraham lies in Egypt.
+1: Abraham shares land with Lot.
And if we keep scoring Abraham after Genesis 15 it would look the same:
-1: Abraham sleeps with his slave Hagar.
+1: Abraham circumcises his son Isaac.
-1: Abraham lies about Sarah (again).
+2: Abraham offers Isaac to God on Mount Moriah.
But here’s the glorious truth of Genesis 15:6 – GOD DOESN’T KEEP SCORE.
(warning: strong language) Whiplash: the destructive power of a score keeping life.
When Abraham believed God, his score instantly went from 0 to 100. In that moment his faith was counted as righteousness (Rom. 4:3). He who was imperfect was credited with a perfect score. Which means God is offering us a whole new way to live. A life of freedom beyond score keeping. A life that comes through the promised son.
Genesis 15:1-4. “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless… 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.”
In the midst of Abraham’s fear and doubt God offered him God – I am your shield and reward. God himself is the reward of faith. His gracious gift of righteousness is truly the only thing that protects our hearts in the darkest of days.
But the struggling Abraham needs to hear more – God, what will you give me?
Compassionately, God responds with the promised son – your very own son will be your heir.
The promised son reveals the heart of God. It is clear that God will not relate to us by score keeping. Just grace. Just faith. He believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. Period.
Looking backwards from the cross we can see that God’s answer, the promised son, was actually the promise of our Savior, Jesus. We know that God could have said to Abraham “MY very own son will be your heir.” Jesus is the ultimate promised son of Abraham. He is the blessing for the nations. He is our shield and our great reward. He is our credited righteousness.
He is the end of all score keeping.
When you fear the future, when you doubt what God is up to, what do you ask for? When you say, “God, what will you give me?” what response do you expect to hear? How do you score God? If things are going great God gets an A? But if things turn difficult, if temptation grows, if the trials thwart your plans, if God’s response is slow…D+? Maybe C-?
What if today we accepted God’s ancient answer to Abraham? What if the answer to “what will you give me?” is simply the promised Son, Jesus? His life, death, resurrection. His righteousness as our righteousness. What if that was answer enough? What if the life of Christ credits you with a perfect score, and it credits God with a perfect score? What if we could live in the freedom of a life free from score keeping and simply walk with God by faith in his never ending grace and love?
What if to live was Christ?
How have you been score keeping yourself? How have you been score keeping God?
You in Christ
Do you believe that in Christ you have the righteousness of God? What makes this difficult? Easy?
Christ in you
How can you live FROM your righteousness today instead of living FOR righteousness?