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.” (Romans 4:2–3, ESV)
I never cease to be amazed at how beautifully profound yet astonishingly simple it is to receive righteousness from God. As a very sinful human being, my righteousness is grossly inadequate (Rom 3:23) to establish a relationship with God. The only righteousness which measures up to his impossible standards is his own! Enter Jesus, the Son of God. That is why placing our faith in Jesus Christ as our substitute, who through his death and resurrection made it possible to reconcile us to God, is the only way to achieve God’s righteousness.
And that is why, as the above verse states, I have no reason to toot my own horn. I did not merit God’s favor. I could not labor long and hard to meet his standards. I simply had to believe. Trusting in Jesus is so simple that even a child could do it, yet at the same time, it is not an easy thing to do. Our hearts must be awakened and drawn by God (John 6:44) and even our belief is an act of God’s grace (Acts 18:27). We would not naturally seek God (Rom 3:11). We would much rather choose the wide and easy path (Matt. 7:13-14).
Many today stumble over the idea of faith. They did in Jesus’ day too. We want to stack up our merit and our accomplishments. We are inclined to hold out to him our resume and petition for admittance into his kingdom. But none of that will do. Only faith. A simple and profound faith.
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:6, NLT)