Romans 4:1-5

What then shall we say Abraham our father found, according to flesh?

If Abraham was justified by his actions, he had a boast — but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Now Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness;’

Now to him who works, the wage is not accounted according to grace, but according to debt; but to the one not working, but believing upon Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted to righteousness” 

When Abraham encountered the Sovereign LORD YHWH, he had not known Him, nor had he lived as a man who did. Abraham had nothing to offer God to compel His kindness nor to turn aside the outcome of justice; Abraham was not a holy man. 

If in fact Abraham had been declared righteous by God on the basis of his deeds – a life lived in true goodness, justice and truth is something for which he could justly commend himself. Of course, even a righteous man has no boast before the Holy and Perfect Creator; it is only right and good that anyone live in accordance with the will of a rightful Sovereign, Who would not owe His subjects honour because they were obedient.

But the record of the Scripture is that God considered Abraham righteous because Abraham believed God. God did not consider Abraham’s works in His rendering of the account; He neither based His judgement upon Abraham’s good performance, nor did He detract from it because of Abraham’s failures to live in faithful consistency with God’s nature and rightful authority. On the sole basis of only his faith, God awarded to Abraham’s account the credit of ‘righteousness’. He was not considered righteous because he followed the rules, but because he received God and God’s word without hesitation, without argument, without doubt. He believed God because He is God, and God considered him righteous for it.