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The Reckoning Of Faith

The first four-and-a-half chapters of Romans speak of faith and faith and faith. We are justified by faith in Him (Rom. 3:28; 5:1). Righteousness, the forgiveness of our sins, and peace with God are all ours by faith, and without faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ none can possess them. But in the second section of Romans we do not find the same repeated mention of faith, and it might at first appear that the emphasis is therefore different. It is not really so, however, for where the words ‘faith’ and ‘believe’ drop out the work ‘reckon’ takes their place. Reckoning and faith are here practically the same thing.

What is faith? Faith is my acceptance of God’s fact. It always has its foundations in the past. What relates to the future is hope rather than faith, although faith often has its object or goal in the future, as in Hebrews 11. Perhaps for this reason the word chosen here is ‘reckon’. It is a word that relates only to the past—to what we look back to as settled, and not forward to as yet to be. This is the kind of faith described in Mark 11:24: “All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them.” The statement there is that, if you believe that you already have received your requests (that is, of course, in Christ), then ‘you shall have them’. To believe that you may get something, or that you can get it, or even that you will get it, is not faith in the sense meant here. This is faith—to believe that you have already got it. Only that which relates to the past is faith in this sense. Those who say ‘God can’ or ‘God may’ or ‘God must’ or ‘God will’ do not necessarily believe at all. Faith always says, ‘God has done it’.

When, therefore, do I have faith in regard to my crucifixion? Not when I say God can, or will, or must crucify me, but when with joy I say, ‘Praise God, in Christ I am crucified!’

In Romans 3 we see the Lord Jesus bearing our sins and dying as our Substitute that we might be forgiven. In Romans 6 we see ourselves included in the death whereby He secured our deliverance. When the first fact was revealed to us we believed on Him for our justification. God tells us to reckon upon the second fact for our deliverance. So that, for practical purposes, ‘reckoning’ in the second section of Romans takes the place of ‘faith’ in the first section. The emphasis is not different. The normal Christian life is lived progressively, as it is entered initially, by faith in Divine fact: in Christ and His Cross.

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