The Old Testament teaches that people are justified by faith not by works and that the righteousness of God cannot be earned by works but is imputed by God.
- 1–3 - Abraham is an example of God imputing righteousness to the believer.
- Abraham is the father of the Jews.
- Abraham could boast of his works but God did not count him righteous because of his works but because of his faith.
- This is the first mention in scripture of faith and imputed righteousness.
- 4–5 - God owes no one but He will freely impute His righteousness to believers.
- Work earns a wage. If one could earn a righteous standing before God, God would then owe that one eternal life.
- To impute means to credit to an account (Philemon 18), to legally charge (2 Timothy 4:16), to count as (Mark 15:28) or to reckon and think a certain way about (1 Corinthians 13:5; Romans 6:11)
- Faith is not a replacement/substitute for works to acquire God’s righteousness; Rather, God credits His righteousness to the ungodly who believe Him.
- 6–8 - David is an example of God imputing righteousness to the ungodly.
- The Jews thought Abraham deserved (he didn’t) God’s righteousness.
- David was thought to have received God’s (hesed) mercy and loving-kindness- Isaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—The sure mercies of David.
- David confessed his sin - Psalm 32
- David believed that a right relationship with God (justification) did not and could not depend upon works but necessitated God’s forgiveness of sins, God’s covering of sins, and God’s refraining from imputing of sins.
- The blessedness David speaks of is God’s grace to bestow His favor upon the sinner. There is a divine blessedness (joy, peace, satisfaction) that pours over the one who believes rather than the one who works.
Some never receive this blessedness because they never confess themselves a sinner
Some never receive this blessedness because they rely on their works and works are never enough.
Some never receive this blessedness because they don’t really believe Jesus can forgive them, and save them, and give them eternal life. Fear and pride keep them from asking.
We have an unpayable debt of sin on our account.
There is only one credit we can apply to our account—faith.
Faith in Christ is imputed to the believer as the righteousness of God!