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 Romans Chapter Four - Part Two

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PostSubject: Romans Chapter Four - Part Two   Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:00 am

Romans Chapter 4 – Part Two
Romans 4:14-15

As Paul explained, if Jews could become heirs by obeying the Law, then faith has no value (kekenōtai, “it has been made empty”; cf. the noun kenos, “empty, without content,” in 1Co_15:10, 1Co_15:58). Also the promise is worthless (katērgētai, “has been made invalid”). The reason this would be true is that Law brings wrath (lit., “the Law keeps on producing wrath”) as a consequence of disobedience. We see the law is totally different from the justification by faith that came from Abraham. Abraham was not promised to bless all nations through the law which was given to just one nation, Israel) but the promise came through faith. His seed that we have mentioned so many times before in these lessons is all the believers in Christ.
Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
Galatians 3:29 "And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
If only those who perfectly keep the law, (an impossibility) receives the promise, faith has no value. Making a promise contingent on an impossible condition nullifies the promise.
You can easily see, if you can see heirship by work, it would not be by promise. Law is exacting and must be obeyed to the letter, but the grace of Jesus Christ leaves opportunity for repentance and new life. Abraham did not earn the right, he believed God and that was enough. God wants us to trust Him.
Actually Abraham's promise from God was two fold. He was promised in the physical the Promised Land (Israel). In the spirit these promises went much further. The promise of the spirit was not of this earth, but for the Promised Land (heaven) for all who believe.
No one can keep the Law fully; therefore God, in wrath against sin, judges those who disobey.
Paul then stated a related general principle: And where there is no law, there is no transgression. How can you break a law, if there is no law? If you break the law (that you are living under), you will be punished (wrath). If there is no law, you are not punished. (There are no laws written down on paper for Christians). God's laws are written in our heart. We are pardoned by the blood of Jesus Christ.
A person may still be sinning in his action, but if there is no command prohibiting it his action does not have the character of a transgression, an overstepping of a prohibition (cf. Rom_5:13).
Romans 4:16

Paul then drew his conclusion. Therefore (lit., “On account of this”) the promise comes by (ek, “out of”) faith so that it may be by (kata, “according to the standard of”) grace. Responding in faith to God’s promise is not meritorious, since the promise springs from His grace, His disposition of favor toward those who deserve His wrath. The human exercise of faith is simply the prerequisite response of trust in God and His promise. Since faith and grace go together, and since the promise is by grace, the promise can be received only by faith, not by the Law.
Another reason the promise is by faith is so that it may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring, not only the Jews (those… of the Law) but to all who exercise faith in God. The power of justification is God’s great grace, not man’s faith.
The following Scripture speaks of this grace I Corinthians 1:4 "I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;"
Grace (unmerited favor) was offered to each of us (not because we were worthy) but because God loved us each one.
II Timothy 1:9 "Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,"
Just the love of God provided Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord for each of us. Our obligation is to reach out and receive this gift of grace in Jesus Christ. This scripture is just saying that this is talking not only of the believing Jews, but to the believing Gentiles (which is of the faith of Abraham).
If the promise were fulfilled for those who keep the Law, then no Gentiles (or Jews either) could be saved! But this cannot be, because Abraham… is the father of us all, that is, all who believe (cf. “our” in Rom_4:1; also cf. Gal_3:29).
Romans 4:17

Paul then supported his conclusion in Rom_4:16 with scriptural authority, quoting God’s covenantal promise from Gen_17:5. The fact that believers in this Church Age are identified with Abraham and God’s covenant with him does not mean that the physical and temporal promises to Abraham and his physical descendants are either spiritualized or abrogated. It simply means that God’s covenant and Abraham’s response of faith to it have spiritual dimensions as well as physical and temporal aspects. The quotation is in effect a parenthesis. Therefore the latter part of Rom_4:17 connects with the close of Rom_4:16 : “He is the father of us all…” in the sight of God. (The words He is our father are not in the Gr., but are added in the NIV for clarification.) God… gives life to the dead and calls things that are not (lit., “the nonexisting things”) as though they were (lit., “as existing”). This Scripture has been greatly misunderstood by many.
In verse 19 you will see that Abraham experienced this first hand.
“And calleth those things which be not as though they were” is another reference to the forensic nature of justification. God can declare believing sinners to be righteous even thought they are not, by imputing His righteousness to them, just as God made or declared Jesus “sin” and punished Him, though he was not a sinner. Those whom He justifies, He will conform to the image of His Son.
Many nations could not be just Israel. Israel is just one nation. This Scripture is speaking of the Jew and Gentile. The Gentiles were not, because they were heathen people. Through Jesus they are the family of God, which they had not been previously.
Here is the definition of quickened which I found might help to understand what this is saying, especially when we look at verse 19. “Quickening” - the process of showing signs of life; "the quickening of seed that will become ripe grain"
Romans 4:18

By Faith In God’s Promise
Though humanly there was no hope of ever having a child, the old patriarch believed God’s Word. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed. God honored his faith, and he became the father (ancestor) of many nations. This was in accord with God’s promise, So shall your offspring be (a quotation of Gen_15:5).
Identifying God in this way obviously refers to God’s promise in Gen_17:1-27 following the statement quoted above that Abraham and Sarah would have a son of promise when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 (Gen_17:17, Gen_17:19; Gen_18:10; Gen_21:5; cf. Rom_4:19). That he would be the ancestor of many nations seemed impossible in his and Sarah’s childless old age. When the promise was given to Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, it seemed impossible. Here he and his wife Sarah were very old people and have never had any children. For a person who thought with a carnal mind this would be impossibility. Sarah had passed the age of women have children.
Abraham did not listen to the carnal mind, but believed all things were possible with God. His faith in God and nothing else completed his righteousness to God.
God honored his great faith and gave him a son by Sarah (Isaac). Isaac was the beginning of the promise that Abraham was to become father of many nations.
Romans 4:19

Rom_4:19-21 restate in specific details the first part of Rom_4:18 about Abraham’s hope. Abraham without weakening in his faith… faced the fact (lit., “considered carefully”) that his body was as good as dead (some Gr. mss. add the word “already”), a reference to the patriarch’s advanced age (Gen_17:17; Gen_21:5). Abraham also considered carefully that Sarah’s womb was also dead. She was unable to conceive a child, as had been demonstrated through their life together (cf. Gen_16:1-2; Gen_18:11) and as was certainly true for her at age 90 (Gen_17:17). You see Abraham did not think with his carnal mind. He knew all things were possible with God. God had created him in the beginning and he knew God could restore his and Sarah's youth enough that they could bring forth a child.
(All men have their measure of faith.) Abraham had great faith beyond the measure each man requires. He believed so strongly, he became known as the father of the faithful.
Romans 4:20-21

In spite of the humanly impossible situation, Abraham did not waver through (lit., “by”) unbelief. “Waver” (diekrithē) means “to be divided” (sometimes trans. “doubt,” as in Jas_1:6). The patriarch was strengthened in his faith (lit., “was empowered [enedynamōthē, from endynamoō] by means of faith”). God, responding to Abraham’s faith, empowered him and Sarah physically to generate the child of promise. Also he gave glory to God, that is, he praised God by exalting or exclaiming His attributes. Jesus' own words. Matthew 19:26 "But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." Abraham knew in his heart that nothing was impossible to God. His faith was not of this world, but in God.
Abraham was fully persuaded that God had power (dynatos, “spiritual ability”) to do what He had promised. Abraham knew whatever God said he would do, He was perfectly capable of doing.
Believing God affirms His existence and character and thus gives Him glory.
What confidence in God this spiritual forefather possessed! He “in hope believed” (Rom_4:18); he was not weak in faith despite insuperable odds (Rom_4:19); he was not divided in his thinking by unbelief (Rom_4:20); he was empowered by faith (Rom_4:20); and he was fully persuaded God has the ability to do what He had said (Rom_4:21).
Romans 4:22

Paul concluded his illustration about Abraham by saying, This is why (dio kai, “wherefore also”) it was credited to him as righteousness. Abraham’s response of faith to God and God’s promise to him was the human requirement for God’s justifying Abraham, for God’s declaring that Abraham stood righteous before Him. No wonder God credited such faith with righteousness! “Therefore”: Meaning because of his genuine faith.
Righteousness is not earned but received by faith. We are made righteous in God's sight when we are washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Romans 4:23-24

Rom_4:23-25 apply the truth about justification and its illustration in Abraham to the apostle’s readers — from the believers in Rome who first read this letter to people today. The divine declaration of Abraham’s justification was written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness. This just means that not only is faith full payment for Abraham’s righteousness, but any one who has faith in Jesus Christ is counted righteous, as well.
All scripture has universal application, and Abraham’s experience is no exception. If Abraham was justified by his faith, then all others are justified on the same basis.
Such an act of justification, however, is not for everyone. It is for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead (lit., “out from dead ones”; cf. Rom_6:4; Rom_8:11). Look at Romans 10:9
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
This leaves absolutely no doubt what it takes to be saved.
Repeatedly in this chapter Paul referred to Abraham and other believers having righteousness credited to them because of their faith (Rom_4:3, Rom_4:5-6, Rom_4:9-11, Rom_4:23-24).
Romans 4:25

Mentioning the Lord Jesus led Paul to state again the Savior’s central place in God’s program of providing righteousness for sinful people by grace through faith. Both Christ’s death and His resurrection are essential to that work of justification. He was delivered over (by God the Father; cf. Rom_8:32) to death for our sins (lit., “on account of or because of” [dia with the accusative] “our trespasses” [paraptōmata, “false steps”; cf. Rom_5:15, Rom_5:17, Rom_5:20; Eph_2:1]). Though not a direct quotation, these words in substance are taken from Isa_53:12 (cf. Isa_53:4-6). Also He was raised to life for (“on account of” or “because of” [dia with the accusative]) our justification. Jesus was without sin. He was innocent of all sin. He took our sins on his body and paid our penalty in full. I should have been crucified. My sins help put Jesus on the cross.
I Corinthians 15:3 "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;"
Isaiah 53:5 "But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
Jesus bought us and paid for us with his own precious blood. Our salvation lies in him.
Christ’s death as God’s sacrificial Lamb (cf. Joh_1:29) was to pay the redemptive price for the sins of all people (Rom_3:24) so that God might be free to forgive those who respond by faith to that provision. Christ’s resurrection was the proof (or demonstration and vindication) of God’s acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice (cf. Rom_1:4). Thus because He lives, God can credit His provided righteousness to the account of every person who responds by faith to that offer.
In Rom_4:1-25, Paul presented several irrefutable reasons why justification is by faith: (1) Since justification is a gift, it cannot be earned by works (Rom_4:1-Cool. (2) Since Abraham was justified before he was circumcised, circumcision has no relationship to justification (Rom_4:9-12). (3) Since Abraham was justified centuries before the Law, justification is not based on the Law (Rom_4:13-17). (4) Abraham was justified because of his faith in God, not because of his works (Rom_4:18-25).
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