Original photo courtesy: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center
Daily Reformation, Psalm 98:1-9
From the Reformer
The Apostle next adduces the example of Abraham and reviews the testimony of the Scriptures concerning faith. The first passage is taken from Genesis 15:6: “And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” The Apostle makes the most of this passage. Abraham may have enjoyed a good standing with men for his upright life, but not with God. In the sight of God, Abraham was a condemned sinner. That he was justified before God was not due to his own exertions, but due to his faith. The Scriptures expressly state: “Abraham believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
Paul places the emphasis upon the two words: Abraham believed. Faith in God constitutes the highest worship, the prime duty, the first obedience, and the foremost sacrifice. Without faith God forfeits His glory, wisdom, truth, and mercy in us. The first duty of man is to believe in God and to honor Him with his faith. Faith is truly the height of wisdom, the right kind of righteousness, the only real religion. This will give us an idea of the excellence of faith.
To believe in God as Abraham did is to be right with God because faith honors God. Faith says to God: “I believe what you say.”
—Martin Luther, A Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (3:6)
Pulling It Together
You hear it all the time: “He’s a good man.” No. He is just a fine fellow, condemned for his sin to eternal Hell. “How can you say that? He works hard and loves his family and goes to church sometimes. He’s even the president of his civic club.” That is great but fine folks go to Hell too. Only good people surround the throne of God.
Abraham was a fine fellow, condemned by the Law. All of his fine actions made him good in the eyes of the community but could not save him from the judgment of God. It was his faith that made him a “good” person. God called him to believe and through him would call all to faith. Indeed, the entire world is called to God but few are chosen. God calls all people to believe but a relative few do so. Those are the ones he chooses for his own. Those are the ones he chooses to call “good.”
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers