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Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness. — Genesis 15:6

Justification by Faith Alone—Found Throughout the Bible

Many people think they can work their way to heaven. Or they think that the Old Testament teaches salvation by works, while the New Testament teaches salvation by faith. But salvation by faith is actually taught throughout the Scriptures.

Paul points out that this is not some novel doctrine he invented, but indeed, it has been the teaching of the religion of Israel since its beginning with Abraham, who was the father of the nation: “What then shall we say that Abraham, our father according to the flesh, has found?” (Romans 4:1). Why is Abraham such a great man? He is the father of the Jews, the father of the Christians, and the father even claimed as such by the Muslims.

“If Abraham was justified by works [which is antithetical to being justified or pardoned by grace], he has something to boast about” (verse 2). Right! If you or I had gotten into heaven by being good, keeping the commandments, and doing the best we could, we would have something to glory about. I would see you in heaven, and I would say, “John, Phil, Mary, hi! What did you do to get in? And hurry up, because I want to tell you what I did!” (That is a more interesting story.)

It is “not of works, so that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:9). No one is going to be glorifying themselves in heaven about what they did to get there. They are there by the pure grace of God—undeserved, unmerited, unearned, freely given, and paid for in full by Jesus Christ upon the cross. We have whereof to glory, but not before God. “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe,” as the old hymn goes. It is nothing we have done. If you think that your life will get you into heaven, you are deluded.

We won’t be glorying before God. “What does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness’ ” (Romans 4:3). Abraham was saved not because of anything he did. In fact, if you read the Old Testament carefully, you will see that very clearly articulated are two very grievous sins that Abraham committed.

One of the ways that we know the Bible is inspired by God is because all of its heroes are revealed with all of their warts, blotches, and scars. It is all spelled out right there, because our faith doesn’t rest in the goodness of any mere human being but in the perfection of Jesus Christ alone. This amazing text goes on to say: “Now to him who works, wages are not given as a gift, but as a debt. But to him who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness” (verses 4–5).

We are justified by faith in Jesus Christ, by the perfect atoning work of Christ, the only individual who ever lived and never sinned. “Which of you convicts Me of sin?” said Jesus (John 8:46)—and no one opened their mouth. No one has ever found any fault in Him. He was the altogether lovely One, the only One in whom we can trust.

Christ should be your only hope. He is the only One who has died for you. Examine the founders of all other religions. See if you can find any of them who died for anyone else. You will not find it in Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, or Muhammad. No. None of them died for others. Some of them commanded their followers to kill a lot of others, but none of them died for anyone, only Christ. Most assuredly, not one of them ever rose from the dead except Jesus Christ. The evidence for His resurrection is overwhelming. That is why He is our hope, our blessed hope, our blessed assurance that we shall live forever with Him.