God, in inspiring the Bible, went through the Creation, the
Fall, and the Flood all in eleven chapters. It is as if God was in a hurry to
get to Abraham. Then with the next 38 chapters God goes into detail on Abraham
and the next three generations. Abraham was the “friend of God” and the father
of the Jews and the Faithful. David is a “man after God’s own heart.” The
Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the son of David.

“What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather
according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was
justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What
does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as
righteousness.’ Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift
but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who
justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the
same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits
righteousness apart from works: ‘Blessed are those whose transgressions are
forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin
the Lord will never count against them’” (Rom. 4:1-8).

This is a portion of one of the great chapters on salvation
by faith in the finished work of Christ. There is another emphasis besides the
one on faith.

“God who justifies the wicked” (verse 5).

“Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not count
against him” (Psalm 32:2).

Abraham was wicked. So was David. Abraham gave his
wife away twice because of fear for his own life (although in both cases God
prevented anyone from touching her). David took another man’s wife.

Abraham was justified. David’s sin was not counted against
him. this is the message of Romans. Wicked men can be saved, made righteous,
and greatly used of God.

However, Abraham and David were not men of integrity
after their salvation. There were no holy men.

Joseph was. So was Daniel. Joseph was sold as a slave by his
bothers to slave traders from a foreign country to another foreign, pagan
country. He had no Bible; Genesis was not yet written. He had a father at home
who thought he was dead. His mother had died in childbirth when Joseph was a
child. As a slave, his owner’s wife tried to seduce him. Here is his answer.
“No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from
me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked
thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).

Joseph would not take another man’s wife. She tried this
daily. He refused and avoided her. Finally, she grabbed his coat. He got out of
the coat and ran. She lied. He was put in prison. He was godly in prison and
godly when he got out.

Daniel was taken captive by the Babylonians. He and a few
others were given special treatment. They ate from the king’s table. It was
great food for Babylonians. It was unclean food for the Jews. “But Daniel
resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the
chief official for permission not to defile himself this way” (Daniel 1:8).

Daniel still had his integrity in his old age. “No when
Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs
room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down
on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before”
(Daniel 6:10). For this he was thrown to the lions.

These life and death decisions were simple for Joseph and
Daniel because the decisions were made long before the temptation occurred.

We should make decisions on principle on absolutes and make
them in advance. We should not wait and consider the pros and cons at the time.
We should obey by grace and faith.

We get forgiven like Abraham and David. This is

We obey like Joseph and Daniel. This is holiness.