Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us (Romans 5:1).
When the Apostle Paul penned this verse, he had just finished writing an entire chapter explaining how Abraham was saved by his faith, not by his good deeds.
This must have been quite shocking to the original recipients of the letter, being that many of the Christians in Rome had grown up in the Jewish tradition. They saw Abraham as the father of their religion, which was based heavily upon following the law (good deeds) to maintain a right standing with God.
But now Paul is telling them it wasn’t actually Abraham’s ability to follow the law that saved him—it was his faith. Abraham trusted God, and that’s the only reason God counted Him as righteous.
Paul may as well have said up was down and down was up.
He could have stopped there, leaving Romans 4 as an interesting biographical lesson on the life of Abraham, but thankfully Paul continued on to write the verse we’re looking at today (and likely stunning his readers even more).
Paul wanted to make sure his readers knew that all these things he just told them about Abraham are also true for everyone who’s faith has been placed in Christ.
That includes you and me today.
In the same way Abraham’s deeds had nothing to do with his righteousness, your deeds have no bearing on your righteousness either. Simply put, you can’t earn God’s acceptance through behavior.
At first glance, the idea that you could never do enough good to earn God’s acceptance sounds likes bad news, but actually it’s wonderful news.
Think of it this way. If God’s acceptance depended on your good works, how much good would you have to do to know that you’d earned it? At a minimum, you would need to do enough to compensate for your mistakes, right? And then, every time you messed up, you would have to do more good deeds to get back to baseline.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds exhausting. Plus, you would never know for sure whether you were doing enough, so you would always doubt God’s acceptance of you.
But look once again at what Paul tells us in this verse. He makes it clear that we have been made right with God by faith.
“Have been…” Past tense. It’s a done deal.
Your righteousness had nothing to do with your good works when God gave it to you (through Christ), and it still doesn’t today.
By trusting that you have already been made right with God, it will free you from the endless treadmill of trying to earn your own righteousness.
And that, my friend, will lead you to tremendous peace.