Righteousness is Believing God’s Promises

Pentecost 12 Thursday

Genesis 15:6

“Abram believed the Lord, and this the Lord imputed to him as righteousness.”

This is the first text in Scripture concerning faith. For the other texts which Moses recounts only call for faith, but they do not extol, praise, or laud it, like the one concerning the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15), the command to Noah to prepare the ark, and the threat of the flood; the command to Abraham to leave his country, etc. All such promises and threats are God’s Word calling for faith, but they do not praise faith like this text here. This is also why it is one of the preeminent texts of the entire Scripture…Read Paul most carefully and you will find that he builds on the foundation of this text the preeminent article of our faith, which the world and the devil cannot tolerate, namely, that faith alone justifies and saves, Romans 3:28. Yet faith is nothing other than assenting to the promises of God and concluding that they are true…When God promises something, he wants us to believe it, that is, to hold that it is true and certain and not doubt that it will take place as the promise says. If somebody were to ask here whether Abraham was also righteous before this time, I would answer, yes, he was righteous because he believed God. Yet the Holy Spirit testified to this reality clearly at this point that, since the promise is about a spiritual offspring, you may conclude from this with certainty that all those who accept this seed, that is, all who believe in Christ, are righteous. When Abraham left his homeland according to God’s command and ventured out into a foreign land, he certainly had a powerful faith. However, not all are commanded to leave their homeland. This is also why this was not added there: Abram believed the Lord, and this the Lord credited to him as righteousness. Yet the Holy Spirit puts these words here when he speaks of the heavenly seed, so that this doctrine may be made certain in the church of all times, namely, that all who with Abraham believe this promise, are truly righteous. For the Holy Spirit wanted to put this clear and plain verse in this text, where it properly belongs, namely, that righteousness is nothing but believing God’s promises.
St. Louis ed., 1:940-942.
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