22 Therefore, it was credited to him as righteousness.
23 But the scripture that says it was credited to him wasn’t written only for Abraham’s sake. 24 It was written also for our sake, because it is going to be credited to us too. It will be credited to those of us who have faith in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was handed over because of our mistakes, and he was raised to meet the requirements of righteousness for us.
Scripturally, righteousness is not perfection. Of course, God’s righteousness is always perfect. But human righteousness? What’s important about human righteousness is not actually our ability to get it right every time, but our willingness to trust that if we offer what we have in faith, that we can and will meet God’s approval.
How does this work?
First, understand that we are not approved by what we do. Our efforts will often fall short. We will stumble in some way. Our critics may be unhappy or put off by the good we try to make happen. There is no perfect righteousness for us this side of heaven.
Abraham is our forerunner in faith, having followed God’s call even when it meant leaving his home and moving hundreds of miles to Caanan. Surely his path twisted and turned along the way, with more than a few dead ends and false starts. But faith propelled him ahead, however imperfectly, toward the place where God was leading him.
Likewise, we get up every day, led forward by our faith in God who raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus already took on all our mistakes – the scripture says so. They were nailed to the cross with him. And the Resurrection? Paul tells us that it’s the proof of our righteousness…not the righteousness that comes by doing everything perfectly, but the righteousness that comes by faith in the One who is faithful.
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
How much grace do you give yourself when you make mistakes? Is it the same, more, or less than what you afford others? Today, can you trust God to guide you forward toward righteousness, even if you get some things wrong along the way?
Prayer: Gracious God, your love calls us to a righteousness based not on perfect actions, but imperfect faith. Help us to trust our calling, knowing that you will accept our efforts to serve Christ and our neighbor, even though we sometimes get it wrong. Amen.