“Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad” (John 8:55-56).

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God of the Old Testament, you know the very same God of the New, oftentimes gets a bad rap as being vengeful. In reality, I don’t think a lot of people realize just how kind and compassionate and gracious God has always been. The following post is far from an exhaustive study of scripture on the subject, but the Spirit did lead me to new places I hadn’t yet ventured. Glory be to God!

The righteousness of God has been revealed, apart from the law, through faith in Jesus Christ. “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:21-26). God is just and righteous to justify the ungodly, because the penalty of sin has been paid in full. Furthermore, Paul tells us that God set Christ forth as a propitiation (a means by which justice is satisfied) by His blood. A common misconception, Paul never instructs his readers to put their faith in His blood, but rather, the resurrected and living Christ Jesus, Himself, is the object of our faith; His blood is the price paid.

But how could God have found fault with those who came before the law? “Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.” (Romans 4:9-12). Paul seizes on the point that Abraham was justified prior to circumcision (Genesis 15:6; 17:24); the father of the nation of Israel was justified centuries before the Law was given to Moses on Sinai. But unlike Abraham’s contemporaries who did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God (Romans 1:18–32), Abraham believed God, and his faith was credited to him as righteousness (Romans 4:3). The matter here is one of perspective and conscience. “It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression (Romans 4:13-15). Although Paul states that where there is no law there is no transgression, he does not say that where there is no law there is no sin, an important distinction.

Paul compares the effects of sin, from Adam, as compared to the effects of grace, through Christ. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come” (Romans 5:12-14). Adam stands for humanity’s condemnation (Romans 1:18–32); whereas, Christ stands for the believer’s justification (Romans 3:21–26). And let’s not forget that Abraham knew Christ and looked forward to His coming. Galatians 3:16 affirms that the promises spoken to Abraham referred to Christ, and Jesus, Himself, said, “Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad” (John 8:55-56). Turns out the righteousness of Jesus Christ was credited to Abraham and to everyone else who believed in His coming in the Old Testament. Jesus has always been the only way to the Father.

On a personal note, I want to thank everyone who reads my blog. The prayer, meditation, and bible study that go into writing each post is not only therapeutic, but also a source of comfort to me.

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