Abraham and Sarah had waited their entire married life for a child. Even after God promised them a son, they waited for many years. Then Isaac was born. Here was the promised one. Here was the one through whom God would bless the world.
Then God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. “What! I’m supposed to kill the child of promise?”
Hebrews tells us Abraham believed God could and would raise Isaac from the dead. In effect, Abraham did receive Isaac back from the dead, because when God stopped him from killing Isaac, he stopped a man fully committed to follow through on his decision to kill his own son.
Abraham believed God, and so was credited righteousness. Why credited? Because righteousness is God’s to give, not ours to earn. The same righteousness credited to Abraham is credited to us, not because we deserve it, but because we accept it.
Do you see why righteousness is a by-grace-through-faith reality, rather than a behavioral exercise?
“[Jesus] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25).
We receive both of these when we, like Abraham, “believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead”(Romans 4:24).
Abraham could not earn God’s blessing by his own behavior. Look at his failures – Hagar, two different kings with Sarah – when he tried to “help” God’s plan. But he did receive God’s blessing when he took God at his word. Note those two words, “earn” and “receive.”
We simply cannot earn God’s blessing, but we can, by faith, receive the gift offered. Jesus’ resurrection guarantees it.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1, 2).
Because Jesus lives, I live. I have no fear of what tomorrow brings. Because He lives; His Grace abounds.