We are finishing off Romans chapter 4. Take a moment to read all the way through the chapter. The last four verses conclude Paul's thought and example of justified faith and specifically the example of Abraham - the forefathers of (not just the Jews), but all those who follow Christ.
Paul has provided evidence to support his case. The truth is that we are saved by faith, and not by works. This is shown to have predated the law and the covenant of circumcision as shown and unpacked by the timeline and the life of Abraham. God showed Abraham (and Sarah) that new life can come from what is (almost) dead. Abraham was an old man, and Sarah, an old woman, well past the age of being able to conceive a baby naturally. The Word of God describes Abraham as being "as good as dead", yet God made new life from this.
Paul now concludes this truth, by bringing it back to how we too live at this truth - that we are saved by faith. Verse 22 re-quotes Genesis 15:6, which was also quoted in verse 3. Bookmarking the beginning and the end of this argument Paul has put forward.
This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Paul then expands this truth out to us, that it wasn't just true for Abraham, but for us too! That if we believe in God, just as Abraham did, we too will be saved - that is, be credited to Him as righteous.
Paul uses this description of God ("him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead") in a few other places, but doesn't usually make God (the Father) the focus of our praise, usually it is reserved for Christ Jesus himself, (the Son). It is not a stretch to assume that Paul is attempting to draw the similarity between Genesis 15:6 and the truth that Abraham was saved due to his belief in God, just as we are with our faith in God. That the faith Abraham has (in the Father) is the same as Christian faith.
The reference to raising Jesus from death is another clear parallel. Just like God made life from what was (nearly) dead in Abraham, now He does so through the death and resurrection of Jesus!
Jesus, who was delivered over to death - for our sins, is now raised to life - for our righteousness. So what we see in Abraham's life is now linked to our sin and righteousness.
Abraham's faith and God giving life, is now our faith, with God giving life in us. Death to life:
Abraham - Near death to life
Jesus - death to life
Us - dead to life!
All at the hand of God!
The faith we have is "in and through Christ" being the one true God - Father, Spirit, Son.
The faith is also in the promises of God, that have been fulfilled. It is not enough to believe in the historical events of Jesus's life, or appreciate His ethical preaching - we must believe in who Christ is and what He has done for us on the cross. Our sin and our righteousness.
What does this show us?
God revealed Himself to us over time and continues to do so. God is working in our midst and all the time. He reveals Himself to us and we are to seek and grow closer to God over time. To be a disciple of Christ is to be continuously growing - living - walking. Proactive, progress, and with purpose. Thirst and hunger! Being a Christian - a follower of Christ is not a single event that takes place, but rather a life committed to Christ - a life committed to obeying Jesus. As a disciple, we are to continue to walk - to live a life worthy of our calling (Ephesians 4:1). A Christian never retires, seasons may come and go, our ministries may change, and we may serve Him differently, but our faith in God never ends and He continues to reveal Himself to us.