What We Boast About and What Makes Us Right
Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.
“If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about.” What does that do to our culture of #HumbleBrags and our lists of action words on a resume? What does it do for a church billboard or a financial report where we want to show all of our generous givers all of the great things we’ve done?
It doesn’t mean that information is kept secret, that’s for sure. Luke was clear that over 3,000 people joined the believers on Pentecost, and John gives the almost-silly detail that they caught 153 fish that morning after Easter that they met Jesus on the beach.
The difference is in the source and the implied righteousness. If the good deeds, the 3,000 new members, or the huge load of fish were the thing that made Jesus love these guys, then they would be able to boast in their church planting and fishing skills. It wasn’t from their great skill or wisdom, it was from the Lord. Sure, we can do all kinds of great things that are boast worthy. We can do stuff that is really cool and enjoyable, but we have to look to the Lord for the righteousness.
God counted Abraham as righteous because Abraham believed what God told him. God’s righteousness is the Supreme Creator of the Universe and the Wisest of all Wise Beings saying “Yep, you’re alright.” When God says “you’re alright” then nothing else needs to matter. Everything else that happens is a chance for Him to show off that He’s declared you alright and He wants to make others alright too.
So all of our boast power is in God’s grace. All of our braggables come from God. AND we don’t have to envy or covet other people’s successes or their beautiful instagram life. If all that matters is God saying I’m alright, then rich or poor, popular or subtle, my focus is on God’s pleasure. There is no caste system or holy club, because we are all equal as the adopted little sisters and brothers of Jesus. And that’s alright.