Looking again at Genesis 15:6, we can see that various translations have rendered the term counted (Hebrew, chashab) or “reckoned” or “credited” (RSV, NIV) or “accounted.” (NKJV)
The same term is employed in other texts in the books of Moses. A person or a thing is “reckoned” or “regarded” as something that person or thing is not. For instance, in Genesis 31:15, Rachel and Leah affirm that their father “reckons” (“regards” or “counts”) them as strangers, although they are his daughters. The tithe of the Levite is “reckoned” (“regarded” or “counted”) as though it were the corn of the threshing floor, although it is obviously not the corn (Num: 18:27, Num 18:30, NIV).
How is the idea of reckoning expressed in the context of sacrifices? (Leviticus 7:18, Leviticus 17:1-4).
The King James Version uses the word imputed to translate chashab. If a particular sacrifice (“peace offering”) is not eaten by the third day, its value is lost, and it shall not be “reckoned” (Leviticus 7:18; Hebrew, chashab) to the benefit of the offerer. Leviticus 7:18 speaks of a situation in which a sacrifice is “reckoned” to the benefit of the sinner (compare Leviticus 17:1-4) who then stands before God in righteousness. God is accounting the sinner as righteous, although the individual is actually unrighteous.
Take some time to dwell on this wonderful truth that we, despite our faults, can be accounted, or credited, as righteous in the sight of God. Write out in your own words your understanding of what this means.
The great truth, that of being declared righteous, not because of any act that we can do but only because of faith in what Christ has done for us, this is the essence of the phrase “righteousness by faith.” Yet, it is not that our faith itself makes us righteous; rather, faith is the vehicle by which we obtain the gift of righteousness. This, in essence, is the beauty, the mystery, and the glory of Christianity. All that we believe as Christians, as followers of Christ, finds an important root in this wonderful concept. Through faith, we are accounted righteous in the sight of God. All else that follows; obedience, sanctification, holiness, character development, love, should stem from this crucial truth.
|How do you respond to someone who seeks to be a Christian yet says, “But I don’t feel righteous”?|