Genesis 15:6 NLT
And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.
The US Marine Corp was established in 1775 and has served in the majority of American wars and armed conflicts. It is distinguished by its ability to rapidly respond on short notice to expeditionary crises (1). Their motto, ‘Semper Fi’, is a Latin phrase meaning 'always faithful'. The Marine Corps have a 240 year history and they're known for laying down their lives to keep America safe. We have faith in the Marines and their cause because their reputation has proven them faithful.
Abram had come to the point in his life where he had faith in God and in His cause. How did God bring Abram to this point?
He reminded Abram of their history, Genesis 15:7, “Then the LORD told him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.”
Abram flashbacks to Genesis 12
God gave Abram a directive to leave Ur and his family behind. 'If' he followed through God would give him descendants that would multiply into a great nation, bless him, and make his godly reputation famous. Not only that, but God would make Abram a blessing to others, curse those who curse him, and make all of the families of the earth blessed through him.
At the end of chapter 12, Abram made the mistake of traveling to Egypt. In His great mercy, God protected and delivered him and Sarai from Pharaoh, the most powerful ruler in the world at that time, even though the situation was their fault.
When trouble arose between Abram and Lot, there was a peaceable solution and war didn’t break out among the neighboring tribes against them. God had given Abram wisdom and rewarded him with the promise of a land that countless of his descendants would inhabit forever.
Lot was captured along with his family, possessions, and the citizens of Sodom. Abram defeated the enemy and Lot was returned to him by the hand of God. Melchizedek made covenant with Abram, declaring him an equal with the leaders and kings of the surrounding tribes.
All this happened to an aging old man who came from a seemingly obscure life in a city that worshiped the moon. Over an over again, God proved Himself faithful to Abram. He was certain of God’s good character and His cause because of His faultless reputation.
This has been the struggle since Genesis 1, taking God at His Word and perpetuating His cause to the next generation.
Faith in God counted Abram as righteous. 'Counted' is an accounting term (2). Abram’s faith was weighed in a balance and tallied righteous. Righteous means 'virtuous, ethical, in good and right standing with God' (3).
Can you imagine the thrill God must have felt? Through the ages, He could only find a few people who would believe what He said. He found a faithful and righteous man in Abram.
Let’s not confuse religious "self" righteousness with God’s righteousness. There’s a great example of this in the New Testament. Jesus asked this question in Luke 18:8, 'when the Son of Man returns in The Second Coming, how many will He find on the earth who have faith?’
Luke 18:9-14 NLT, “Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
It would behoove us to remember that we were sinners before we were saints. God’s righteousness (virtue, ethics) stands alone. We become righteous when we place our total faith in Him. FAITH is believing in God’s Word and character to follow through on His promises to us. It is not our religious lifestyle that makes us righteous. Our lifestyle is patterned after and in compliance with our love, faith, trust, and respect for God and His Word.
Be like Abram. Believe God’s Word and place your faith in His person and character. Let God recognize your faith as righteous. Believe in every promise He has given you!
when I believed that Jesus died in my place, took away my sins, and rose from the dead, You judged me as righteous, period. You are always faithful and I decide to believe every promise in the Bible concerning my life. I want to be like Abram and believe for every blessing You so graciously entitled to me. Jesus is my righteousness and I praise You forever. In Jesus Name, Amen.