by the Rev. Henry Huenemann
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (Romans 4:5).
1What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
14For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
15Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
How art thou righteous before God?
Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. That is: although my conscience accuse me, that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have never kept any of them, and that I am still prone always to all evil, yet God, without any merit of mine, of mere grace, grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ, as if I had never committed nor had any sin, and had myself accomplished all the obedience which Christ has fulfilled for me, if only I accept such benefit with a believing heart. Heidelberg Catechism 60.
Why sayest thou, that thou art righteous only by faith?
Not that I am acceptable to God, on account of the worthiness of my faith; but because only the satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ is my righteousness before God, and I can receive the same and make it my own in no other way than by faith only. Heidelberg Catechism 61.
Gracious God, we thank Thee for the glorious doctrine of justification by faith. We confess before Thee, that we have, indeed, grievously sinned in transgressing Thy holy law. Instead of loving Thy law, we have broken every commandment, and still are inclined to all evil. We thank Thee for the perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ which He has obtained for us. We thank Thee that Thou dost regard us, as if we had never committed or had any sin, if we with a believing heart accept such benefit. O God, increase our faith, and make us thankful for Jesus' sake. Amen.
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