For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.Romans 4:2(NASB)
Abraham is often called 'the father of faith' because he believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. We first read about this accreditation in Genesis chapter 15 and Paul confirms this in both Romans and Galatians.. while in James chapter 2 we read: Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.
Abraham did many works that were commended by men.. one of which is recorded in James chapter 2: when he offered Isaac his son on the altar.. and Jewish leaders, liked to proudly proclaim that being Abraham's physical descendants.. they too were imputed with some of his righteousness and meritorious acts.
Because Abraham was declared righteous before God, his ancestry like to boast that they too were righteous by association. But righteousness is no inherited, not is it gained by doing good works or keeping the Law - righteousness is a gift of God - received through faith.
Paul agreed that:- if Abraham was justified by works, he would certainly have something to boast about. However he quickly pointed out.. that although his commendable works may merit man's approval - they certainly did not justify him in the sight of God.
Abraham did many admirable things that justified him in the eyes of men!! (e.g. offering his son Isaac), but they did not justify him in the sight of God. It was not any of his works that cause God to declare him justified - Abraham trusted God and it was his faith that was counted as righteousness.
Throughout Scripture we discover over and again that a man is not justified by works of the Law, but through faith in Jesus Christ. God declared Abraham righteous because he trusted God and believed His Word. He was not declared righteous because of what he did but because of what he believed.
There were many in Paul's day, as there are today, that continue to believe that we are justified by works, by keeping rules or performing rituals - but this is not what the Bible teaches. And there are many that like to believe that their Jewish or Christian heritage justifies them in the sight of God and automatically assures them a place in heaven - but this is not what the Bible teaches.. for if a man is justified by works, the keeping of rules or the performing of rituals, through physical birth or by any other meritorious thing, he would certainly have something to boast about, but as Paul makes very clear.. his boasting would not stand up before God.
Praise God that we are justified by grace through faith in the sacrificial death and glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is God.. the eternal Son, Who became Jesus, the perfect Son of Man.. so that He could take the punishment that we deserve and declare us righteous - by faith in HIM.
Heavenly Father, thank You that like Abraham I have been justified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, my God and my Saviour. Thank You that I am accepted in Christ and have been declared righteous - not because of what I have done, but because of trusting in what Christ did on the cross.. for me. May my life be a living testimony to the truth of the glorious gospel of Christ - and it is in His name that I pray, AMEN.