This morning I read a portion of Genesis as part of my daily reading plan. In Genesis 15, Abram (Abraham) is having a discussion with God about his heir. God tells him that although is old and has no children, he will have a son and will have descendants as numerous as the stars (15:5). Then verse 6 simply says, “And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” (ESV). Notice what it doesn’t say. It does not say that Abraham did something awesome to prove to God that he was righteous. He did some incredible things as a result of his belief, but at this point in the story he apparently just believed.
Sometimes I feel like believing the Lord is not enough. I feel the need to somehow prove that I am righteous or “good enough.” Theologians call this idea works-oriented salvation or something along those lines. This has been a struggle for me and I’m positive that I am not the only one. Please don’t misunderstand, I am not saying that because Jesus died for you and me we don’t have to try to behave righteously. We absolutely are called to obey the Lord and do good works. It is just that our behavior is not the basis for our righteousness and justification before the Lord. Jesus died on the cross and rose again three days later to overcome the power of sin and death in our lives. He was the ultimate sacrifice needed to redeem the broken relationship between God and sinful humans. The work of our salvation has been done. So what do we need to do to be considered righteous before the Lord? Believe.