GOD’S WORDS BRING LIFE
How to Be Right with God
Separated by 3,500 years and radically different circumstances, two great men of faith reached the same conclusion about how to be “right” before God. Standing midway between them was the apostle Paul, whose story about the first man became an object lesson for the second man.
First in line was Abraham, the father of faith. Around 2000 BC, God told Abraham that he would be the father of a nation as numerous as the sand on the seashore and the stars in the sky. God made a covenant with Abraham that guaranteed the fulfillment of this promise. Although Abraham did not even have any children when the promise was made, he took God at His word. When he “believed the Lord” (Gen. 15:6), his faith secured his righteousness before God, and he became the father of all who believe God’s word (Rom. 4:11). Abraham did nothing to earn his acceptance by God; he simply believed what God said.
Now fast-forward to AD 57, when the apostle Paul, in Romans 4, used Abraham’s story to illustrate the profound truth that he had proclaimed in Romans 1:16–17. The gospel of Jesus Christ reveals a righteousness that can come only by faith—the same faith that Abraham exercised.
Fast-forward again to 1519, when a German Augustinian monk named Martin Luther agonized over how to attain the righteousness before God that he had read about in Romans. He meditated on Romans 1:17 continually until he finally saw that righteousness is a gift from God that comes by faith. God’s Word, the gospel, reveals the gift of righteousness. “Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered into paradise itself through open gates,” Luther wrote. The light and life of the Word had dawned in his heart.
The word of God was the same for Abraham, for Paul, and for Martin Luther. Has that same faith, by which the righteous live, become your faith as well?
New life requires only one thing: faith in God’s promises.