Outside of Jesus, who was of course God (John 1:1-3), one of the most famous biblical characters is Abraham. He appears early in biblical history, when, after a brief introduction as one of the children of Terah, Abram (his name at first) received a message from God: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing” (Genesis 12:1).
Many chapters in Genesis were devoted to his life and trials, and his name appeared often in the New Testament as well. Perhaps one of the most famous examples is in Romans 4, where Paul used Abraham as the paradigmatic example of righteousness by faith, writing: “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:1-3).
Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him, credited to him, for righteousness? Paul was quoting, almost verbatim, Genesis 15:6, where the idea of righteousness by faith was powerfully expressed: “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
Old Testament, New Testament, the “everlasting gospel” (Revelation 14:6) is the same: we, as sinners, by faith, claim the righteousness of Jesus as our own, and it is, as with Abraham, counted to us as righteousness. That is, God sees not our faults but Christ’s perfections, His righteousness, instead, and that is how we are accepted by God.
No wonder they call it good news!