When Abraham came along, God made a covenant with him that his descendants would be countless as the stars. God put His own name inside Abraham’s, changing it into Abraham from Abram. Abraham believed God’s promise, the covenant, and God “counted it as righteousness”.
Later, in the Prophets of the Old Testament and through the New Testament, came the theme The just shall live by faith. This was the idea that “faith in God” or “believing God” or “trusting God” is an act of “balanced righteousness”. Put more simply, “righteous people” will live lives of “trusting God”. Put in broader terms, “righteous people” are “godly people” because righteous people live with the belief that God is there, God is good, and God can and should be trusted.
In Heaven’s court—under God’s judgment—sinners become worthy to connect with God and have a happy afterlife simply by “faith” in God, namely Jesus.
The Bible’s idea of faith is that we trust God. In trusting that Jesus was who he claimed to be, we are adopted into his Eternity family and have a direct phone line to God. Believing our Creator and Redeemer is a fair, just, act of balanced righteousness.
During the medieval times of reformation, European and Roman Catholic theology held the idea that “righteousness” meant “sinlessness”. So, to them, the term “righteous sinner” seemed to be an oxymoron; it is not. “Righteousness” simply means “using standard measures”, which sinners like all of us can do. Righteousness and sin disagree, but a sinner can be considered “righteous” by using standard measures throughout one’s life. Still, that kind of “righteousness” does not forgive our sin.
Even with “fair, just” standards in our lives, our Eternal afterlife remains grim. Our own goodness can’t hold a candle to Eternity.
When Jesus died on the Cross, no one killed him; he sacrificed himself and it was according to animal sacrifice laws given to Moses. He was sinless—unlike the rest of us—so his self-human sacrifice was the last sacrifice ever needed.
Believing Jesus grants us Eternal adoption by God, even while remaining sinners in this lifetime—something we could not have before Jesus’s sacrifice at the Cross.
Genesis 15:6, Psalm 51, Habakkuk 2:4, John 3:16, Romans 1:17; 5:8, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38, I John 4:10