Read Romans 4:1-5:8.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)
I believe in Tibet.
I’ve never been to Tibet, never seen it. I have no idea what it looks like. And yet I believe in Tibet—because people I trust have told me that it exists.
Does that make me a particularly virtuous person? Is there some special virtue in believing in things you haven’t seen because of your trust in the person who told you about them?
Why would God justify us because of faith? Is there some special virtue in believing in what you have not seen because you trust the one who testifies?
If knowledge of God is the important point, why doesn’t he just show himself to the whole world? No, it’s not knowledge—the devils know, and dread.
If belief is the important point, then everyone who goes to school and believes what she is taught through faith in the teacher is justified. It’s not just belief.
Abraham believed God’s promise that he would have a son in his old age, and it was “reckoned to him as righteousness.” Consider what this required of Abraham.
There had to be a promise, and Abraham had to desire the promised outcome. He had to believe that it was God who made the promise, not just three strangers, and that God was truthful and reliable and able to bring it about. And then he arranged his life in the light of that faith, living in trust and gratitude and joy.
Faith can’t exist without hope. Abraham had to set his hope on the promise. Without hope there would be no call for faith. And faith and hope lead to love. They put Abraham in a grateful and loving relationship with God.
This loving relationship with God brought Abraham out of himself, out of pursuit of selfish ends, and into pursuit of God. It justified him—set him straight.
What is our hope, faith in which sets us straight? No less than a hope that we will share the glory of God.
Do you desire this end? Do you believe that God is able and willing to bring it about? Then live your life in faith and hope and gratitude and love and joy. You have been justified.