23. And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness

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And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:4~6)

Genesis chapter 15, verse 6 says, And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. God saw that Abraham believed in Him and He called it “righteousness”. Faith is righteousness. In this sermon, I would like to answer the question, “Then how am I to believe that my faith becomes righteousness?” Spiritual life is not you going to heaven through your becoming good or righteous. Although you are filthy and evil, you become good if you accept the goodness of Jesus and make it your own. Then you become a good person. Although you are dirty, you are a justified, righteous person if you accept the righteousness of Jesus as your own. In this way, spiritual life is not you becoming righteous through living righteously, but becoming righteous through faith. Becoming righteous by faith does not mean becoming righteous through your doing righteous deeds. It is talking about receiving the righteousness Jesus has given you by faith. People who do not know what spiritual life is try to keep the law, do good deeds, and strain not to commit sins in order to become righteous. But that is absolutely impossible because man can never be good. It seems that man is good in some aspects, but deep inside, there is no good in man whatsoever. Thus, bringing forth good things outwardly, while inwardly, you are dirty by nature, is false goodness. It’s not true goodness. People have a heart of hatred in them while saying with their mouths, “How are you doing? I love you.” This is not love; it is lying. Scheming to do good deeds while you have an evil heart is deceit.

Faith Is Obtained When Going Beyond Your Thoughts

In the last sermon we spoke about Lot. God was unable to bless Abraham when Lot was with him. God blessed Abraham after Lot left. Then a war broke out in the peaceful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as soon as Lot moved there. And ultimately, we see that those cities meet a tragic fate of being destroyed with fire and sulfur. Lot represents the flesh which is the heart to believe in yourself. You receive the blessing of God when the heart to believe in yourself departs from you. On the other hand, when the heart to believe and exalt yourself enters you, you become cursed. If so, why does one become cursed when he believes in himself? The Bible tells us in detail about this. There are many stories in the Bible in which the works of God arise. One example was when Jesus went to a wedding in Cana of Galilee and the house was in need of wine. Jesus told the servants of that house to fill empty water pots with water. When the servants filled the water pots, He said, “Serve now to the governor of the feast.” The servants could not understand this. “We are supposed to serve wine to the governor of the feast. Surely it is water that we filled these water pots with.” “Jesus, we cannot serve this, can we? This is water, not wine.” This was their thought. Thus, serving it when it was evident that it was water filling the water pots was only possible for people who have had their thoughts thrown away. People who believe in their thoughts think, “This is water,” and are unable to serve it. One day Jesus met the man who had an infirmity for 38 years at the pool of Bethesda. This man had been ill for 38 years and was lying