3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
and it was accounted [credited] to him for righteousness.”
Now we come to one of the most important doctrinal terms in the Word of God—“accounted.” This chapter uses this word 11 times.
The word “accounted” is a term of the ancient financial world; that is, the keeping of financial accounts. It is a technical term for entering a debt or credit to an account. We use the theological term “imputation” as a parallel term for this idea. The idea is that God inputs (puts in) His righteousness to our account. All the requirements of God’s character and His law are satisfied with imputation.
God put His own righteousness to Abraham’s account. Abraham, therefore, had a new status with God. God reckoned him as having a right standing before Him forever. Faith itself is not righteousness but is the means to receive a right standing in God’s eyes. It is a means of receiving the gift (3:24).
“Accounted” can also be used in a mathematical sense. God made a fixed determination to mathematically calculate to our account His righteousness.
God mathematically credits to the positive side of His ledger His righteousness to our account.
Salvation is a bookkeeping transaction with God. He keeps books on us. There is the Lamb’s book of life where He records the names of Christians. These are people whose account is paid in full. God put His righteousness to the asset side of their ledger. God wiped out the liability side of the ledger by the blood of Christ, thus God dealt with both sides of the ledger for us.
God’s righteousness is not native to sinners; it is an alien righteousness to the offender of God. Our faith honors God’s promises because He does the doing. God’s righteousness comes from believing, not doing.
His righteousness comes to us from our acceptance of it by faith. We are saved through faith, not on account of our faith or on the basis of our faith. The object of our faith is the sacrificial death of Christ for our sins.