Romans 4: Saved by Faith
Paul outlines in Romans 4 how Abraham, even though he lived and died before the time of Jesus Christ, was still reliant on faith for salvation.
Rom 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
Rom 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
Rom 4:22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Rom 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
Rom 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
Rom 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Abraham was willing to even sacrifice his only son to follow God. God also promised as we know that Abraham would have a great nation through his children, so it probably did not make very much sense to sacrifice the only son, but Abraham was willing to follow God and trust Him. Of course, as we know, God provided a lamb in a very early, symbolic gesture of the Lamb who would save the world.
Abraham was given righteousness because he actively put his faith in God. It is the same way that we receive righteousness. It doesn’t come because of our own goodness. It comes because we trust the only One who is good. Paul was very careful to point out the importance of faith throughout these first few chapters of Romans, and it was very important to do so as Christianity was becoming an international movement. After all, he was speaking to the church in Rome, so they were probably wondering if they had to become culturally Jewish in order to become followers of Jesus Christ. Did they need to be circumcised for example?
Faith was ultimately what mattered. Today in the world, being a Christian in Africa, North America, Asia or anywhere in between might look different on the surface. We might have different worship styles, church buildings or really anything else, but under it all we share our faith in Jesus Christ just like Paul was talking about here.