Romans 4– A Faith Like Abe
The 3 simple principles that help us understand what the biblical writers meant are these-
Compare Common Scripture-
To Consider Context we must the read verses before to see what truths have been written about. And read the verses after so we can see what the truths will produce for us.
The Context Before-
Rom 3:22 “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” NIV
Acts 13:38-39- “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.” NIV
Paul’s truth in chapter 3 is that right relationship with God cannot be earned by good works, but we receive it as a gift from God through what Jesus has done for us. We are justified, set free from EVERYTHING because we believe God tells us the truth.
The Context After-
ROM 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”
-Start with the “therefore” in Rom 5:1– This points us back to Rom 4–
-All that God asks of us is to believe what He says like Abraham believed. If we do, here are the results-
- You are Justified– (Greek- “to make just or innocent“) “Just As If You Had Never Sinned”
- You have complete Peace With God. He’s not mad at you!
- You have access to the Miracle Of Grace!
-But How? Through FAITH in what Jesus did for us…and the Miracle begins!
Paul Poses A List Of Questions in Chapter 4.
The right answers to Paul’s questions result in us being rooted and grounded in the truth.
Rom 4:1– “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter?”
(What “matter,” what did Abraham discover? How a person is justified, made right with God.)
(Justified and Righteousness mean the same thing, both come from the same Greek root word)
2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about — but not before God.
3 What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
(God MADE Abe right with Himself. God justified Abe. Was it DIY or DITM?)
- -Is this a DIY (Do It Yourself) Project or a DITM (DO IT TO ME) Project?
- -The Good News is that God does this TO us and FOR us. He makes us right with Himself!
- -What did Abe believe? That God would do for him what he could not do for himself.
God MADE Abraham right with HIMSELF. The birth of Isaac was a literal, physical example of the spiritual reality of being made righteous by God activity, not ours.
4:4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work (work for what?) but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. (work to be good enough to justify himself)
6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”
This is what David came to understand and this foretold the coming of the New Covenant-
Ps 103:12- “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” NASU
In the New Covenant sins are NOT covered; they are REMOVED!
4:9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised (Jews), or also for the uncircumcised (Gentiles)?
We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.
10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before?
It was not after, but before! (Which comes first- obedience or faith?)
11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. (What came first, faith or obedience?)
So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.
(In the New Covenant, we put our faith in Him and then we obey Him in water baptism.)
4:12 And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
In The New Covenant, Circumcision Is Of The Heart-
-This is the miracle of Grace changing us from the inside out…by the Spirit’s work.
Rom 2:28-29- “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.” NIV
Gal 6:15– “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything;
what counts is a new creation.” NIV (This the miracle of transforming grace)
4:13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring — not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. (Jew and Gentile who has faith)
17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”
(Not ONE nation, Israel, but many nations. John saw in Rev. 5 believers from “every kindred, tribe and tongue.”)
He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed — the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
4:18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead — since he was about a hundred years old — and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.
20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
-Let’s have integrity and be truthful about Abe’s faith– His works FAILED!
- -He left the land God promised him and went back to Egypt out of fear.
- -He lied on several occasions.
- -His cowardice put his wife at great risk more than once.
-Both he and Sarah laughed when God told them they would have a son.
Gen 17:17-18– Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”
25 years after the first promise of a son in Gen.15. Gen.18 Sarah laughed and lied.
-His actions didn’t always show his faith but God knew His heart and knew that, as Abe grew, his faith would grow. When Isaac was 12, Abe did not waver in faith. The end of his story shows he had faith.
4:23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness — for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. NIV
- -His death paid for sin.
- -His resurrection proved the payment was accepted
- -Now His life can be put within us by the infilling of the Spirit.
-All of this is the result of His Work so He gets all the credit for our-
- –faith– (trust and confidence that naturally results from seeing God’s faithfulness)
- –redemption– (paid for our sin and purchased back to His ownership),
- –righteousness– (He makes us right with Himself),
- –justification– (makes us just as if we have never sinned), and
- –growing sanctification– (being MADE more and more like Him).