Are we saved…

By what WE do, as well? (part 8)

For Abraham’s belief in God and acting on what God told him to do he was credited with righteousness. “Credited” doesn’t meant “earned” or “deserved.” Abraham’s actions, no matter how good, could never make him righteous. But for his actions God “credited” him with righteousness. 

Like I’m credited with bonus points on my credit card. I don’t earn those points. I just use the card as intended, and the company bonuses me with points. Those points can then be put to something I get for free, credited to me as the company’s way of expressing “customer appreciation.” A poor analogy if we take that to mean “a way of keeping us hooked so they make money,” but hopefully a fitting example for describing “credited” as an unearned bonus gift from God in his deep appreciation for us trusting him. 

And what we receive for free in that bonus gift is “the crown of life,” James 1:12. Which James expands in question form in James 2:5 – “Has not God chosen (you/us) to be rich in faith and to inherit (or possess) the kingdom he promised to those who love him?” 

Rich in faith, for instance, is quite the bonus for us, knowing how little faith we had at the start of our Christian life. But, fortunately, it was enough for us to take God at his word, that he promises blessings for those who trust and obey him. Which is what got Abraham started too. God personally made a promise to him, and Abraham took God at his word. His belief was then sorely tested when God told him to sacrifice Isaac, but the bonus God credited him with for trusting him was a faith so rich that, unlike those James was writing to, he never doubted God, nor was he “double-minded” or “unstable in all he did” (1:8).  

Abraham made mistakes in dealing with tricky situations, yes, but never did he lose his underlying belief in God’s promises to him. And when he stood the test and kept on trusting even when faced with a mind blowing challenge, God not only credited him with a rich faith, he also gave him “possession of his kingdom” (2:5). 

Abraham, therefore, in his lifetime was given the chance to taste and live the goodness and rightness of God’s kingdom. And since Abraham is our example, we’re given that chance too…(more on this tomorrow)  

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