There’s a whole lot of counting going on in Romans 4, if you’re reading the ESV. A whole lot of crediting, if it’s the NIV open in front of you. Reckoning and imputing, if you have an affinity for old English and the King James Version. However the original word is translated, regardless of the version you’re reading, you can’t help but pick up on how often it is reiterated.
And what gets counted for what? What’s credited due to what? What’s reckoned for something demonstrated? What’s imputed when something is indicated?
For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.
(Romans 4:3-5 ESV)
Faith is counted as righteousness. Where faith is apparent, righteousness is credited. Where faith is operative, righteousness is reckoned. Where faith is functional, righteousness is imputed.
I know this is Christianity 101 stuff, but it’s rolling over me afresh this morning. The awe-o-meter spikes as I meditate on the reality. Righteous . . . me . . . because I believe.
Oh, I am so aware of my propensity toward pride, the self-centeredness of self, and the failings of the flesh. Not perfect. Not me. No way. But righteous? You bet! By faith.
Just bathing in it this morning. My account credited with righteousness. And not some arbitrary, mystical, undefinable righteousness of the imagination’s own making. But the righteousness of the only truly righteous One, the Son of God, Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Not imputed because of my perfect imitation of Him. Not reckoned because I’m really trying hard. But counted as a gift, a gift given in response to my feeble faith, my sincere desire to believe.
Let it sink in, weary saint. Rest in the reminder that our righteous standing before the God who justifies is not a result of our on-going work for Him, but solely on the grounds of His finished work for us. Be refreshed as you remember that our holy standing before the Father does not depend on our best effort but is realized solely through faith in His beloved Son.
Faith counted as righteousness. Amazing! Refreshing! Worship invoking!
By grace alone. That He might receive the glory alone.