“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
King James Version (KJV)
4:5 But to him that worketh not - It being impossible he should without faith. But believeth, his faith is imputed to him for righteousness - Therefore God's affirming of Abraham, that faith was imputed to him for righteousness, plainly shows that he worked not; or, in other words, that he was not justified by works, but by faith only. Hence we see plainly how groundless that opinion is, that holiness or sanctification is previous to our justification. For the sinner, being first convinced of his sin and danger by the Spirit of God, stands trembling before the awful tribunal of divine justice ; and has nothing to plead, but his own guilt, and the merits of a Mediator. Christ here interposes; justice is satisfied; the sin is remitted, and pardon is applied to the soul, by a divine faith wrought by the Holy Ghost, who then begins the great work of inward sanctification. Thus God justifies the ungodly, and yet remains just, and true to all his attributes! But let none hence presume to continue in sin; for to the impenitent, God is a consuming fire. On him that justifieth the ungodly - If a man could possibly be made holy before he was justified, it would entirely set his justification aside; seeing he could not, in the very nature of the thing, be justified if he were not, at that very time, ungodly.
Ro 4:5 But to him that worketh not. Does not trust his works for acceptance with God. But believeth, etc. Trusts in the mercy of him who justifies sinners who come to him penitent and believing. His faith, etc. It is made the ground of his acceptance with God. By faith he clings to Christ, the Savior.