“And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God.”
And the Scripture
James cites Genesis 15:6 in defense of the truth that genuine faith shows itself in action. The New Testament quotes Genesis 15:6 four times (Ro 4:3,9; Ga 3:6 and this verse). James quotes the exact verse that Paul quotes to prove salvation by faith to show a vital faith as a Christian result in action. If works do not accompany faith, our faith is not vibrant. We operate in dead orthodoxy.
was fulfilled which says,
The word “fulfilled” indicates that justification by faith results in vindication by works. Abraham manifested his faith by the sacrifice of Isaac. The Scripture received its completion in that act. Abraham honored God by his faith. Maybe as much as forty years after Abraham believed God for justification, Abraham evidenced his justification by the offering of Isaac. He proved himself righteous by his actions. Abraham did not operate with a dead orthodox faith. Faith truly changes the heart.
Ge 22:15-19, “Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: ‘By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.’ 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.”
At the point that Abraham was willing to offer Isaac, his faith became abundantly clear to all.
“Abraham believed God,
The idea of “believed” here is more than that Abraham believed God but believed what God said. He believed in God’s trustworthiness.
and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
The word “accounted” signifies to reckon (by calculation or imputation), to deliberate, count, conclude, compute, take into account, put to one’s account. This word deals with what is true, especially in commercial accounts involving debits and credits. If I have 1000$ dollars in my checking account, I have 1000$ and not 999$.
God is the one who “accounted” Abraham righteous. God put to Abraham’s account His very own righteousness. Thus, God’s accounting means that He keeps a mental record of those to whom He imputes His righteousness. He keeps a record of my eternal standing before Him as being right in His eyes.
Ro 3:21-26, “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Ro 4:4, “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.”
Ro 4:6, “…just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works…”
Ro 4:11, “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also…”
God views me in an eternal right relationship with Him because of His own nature. The issue of God’s righteousness is that God must be consistent with His own standards. God credits to the eternal account of the believer His own righteousness because the death of Christ imputes to us that righteousness.
Ro 1:17, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’”
Ro 4:23-25, “Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”
God imputes His very own righteousness to us at the moment of salvation.
God declares the believer as righteous as His Son is righteous at the moment of trust in the blood of Christ to forgive sins. This is imputed righteousness, not earned righteousness. It is a righteousness that God gives to us judicially and not by our experience. God gives it in exchange for our trust in the cross of Christ for salvation.