The More Things Change…
The more they stay the same:
“What then can we say that Abraham found, our ancestor according to the flesh? Indeed, if Abraham was justified on the basis of his works, he has reason to boast; but this was not so in the sight of God. For what does the scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.'” -Romans 4:1-3 NAB
By now, if you have been following along as we go through the book of Romans, you have caught on to the recurring themes about faith versus works and the true path to righteousness. Today, we catch another glimpse of faith versus works, but Paul takes us all the way back to the time of Abraham to discuss it.
Yesterday, I spoke about the Law and how it has remained since the beginning. Today, we see how far back the Law truly stretches. Many people believe that the Jews of the Old Testament subscribed to a Law where they depended on works to be saved, but we quickly learn in Romans 4 quite the opposite. While all will be judged based on their works, if any one of us is to be called righteous, it is through our faith – even for Abraham.
For a long time, I incorrectly put a large gap between the Old and New Testaments. I felt that the Law from the Old Testament did not apply in the same way today. In some ways, that may be true. We are not under Levitical Law in quite the same way anymore, but the Ten Commandments are more than just a “guideline.” It can be difficult to sort through the Old Testament, and even the New Testament at times, to see how it applies to life today, but it is an important part of Scripture that we cannot ignore.
As confusing as things may seem to be, it has always been pretty simple. We often get tied up into beating ourselves over the head with theology, when the basic truths are pretty simple. If we want to find righteousness in God’s eyes, we can never achieve it through our works; however, through faith, we can find our way. This is true today, just as it was true for the early Christians two thousand years ago and for Abraham thousands of years before that. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Thousands of years have past, but the simple truth remains – give your heart to God, follow Him in complete faith, and trust in His will for your life, and you will surely find the path to righteousness.