“But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.” Romans 4:5 NLT

When we survey a list of Bible heroes, it is easy to point at certain characteristics we think qualify them to be called “righteous”. For example, Abraham obeyed God and almost sacrificed his son; David was a great king and Paul spread the gospel with unwavering passion.

However, a true evaluation of these men would show that not all their works were good. Abraham gave his wife to pagan kings twice as a safety deposit for himself (Genesis 10:12-20, 20:2). David slept with another man’s wife and killed her husband, who was a faithful soldier (2 Samuel 11). Paul was a persecutor of the church (Acts 8, 1 Corinthians 15:9).

So if the works of these highly revered men did not make them righteous, what did?

Our anchor text gives us the answer – faith in God. But does this simply mean faith in God’s ability? No, it means faith in the finished work of Christ.

“That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5: 19, 21 CSB

From the above Scripture, we can see that a man becomes righteous by placing faith in God’s reconciliation plan in Christ. This is important to grasp because it affects our entire identity as believers.

Our communication with God is based on righteousness by faith. This is why Apostle Paul calls us the circumcision that serves God by the Spirit and puts no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).

This mindset is one we must carry for our devotional lives to be effective.

James 5:16b NKJV says, “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Dear believer, you are that righteous man. Glory to God!

Tomorrow, we will examine how our righteous standing makes prayer effective. But for now, meditate upon the reality that you are made righteous by faith and not works. Pray with this consciousness too.

Bible Reading Plan:
Luke 11:29-36, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-7, Psalms 144, 2 Chronicles 17-19.