Take time to read Romans 4 again and meditate upon it today. Today’s article is the final one on the religion of perfectionism. In other words, a religion of perfectionism is having a religion that is dependent upon me being flawless and sinless.
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
The person “who does not work” here in Romans 4 means the person who did not work everything perfectly under the law. Paul is not saying you don’t have to obey God. Grace is not a license to sin and live how we please (Read Romans 6). What he is saying is that David sought to live by God’s law, and it was clear he loved God’s law (Psalm 119). However, David found himself in need of grace because of his breaking of God’s law. He could not “work” his way to salvation. David was in a wretched and broken state before God (Psalm 32 and 51). So when God said to David, “Your sins are forgiven,” (2 Samuel 12:13), David could praise God with the knowledge of how blessed he was to be forgiven by God. David, even in the Old Testament, was saved by grace through faith, not by perfectly keeping the Law of Moses. David and Abraham were “counted” as “righteous” because they trusted in God. Their righteousness was from God, not from their flawless adherence to the Law.
Think of how this heart of living under grace and walking in trust of a loving Father will transform how you see everything. If you are walking by grace through faith, knowing God shelters you with His mercy as you seek to walk beside Him, how will you then begin to see others in your life? How then will you see your spouse? What will that do for how you parent your children? Will this change how you see your brothers and sisters in your congregation? Does this living under grace and walking by trusting a merciful and kind Father transform how you deal with people at work? You see, it changes everything. Our whole beings are transformed by grace, and only then can we truly love and accept the people around us (Romans 15:7).
Here is one final passage:
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.