Paul gives Abraham as His illustration to prove that "justification by faith without the works of the law" (Rom. 3:27-28) provides no grounds for boasting. Romans 4:1-3 makes it clear this is precisely the reason Paul introduces Abraham at this juncture: 1 ¶ What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. The word "to glory" in verse 2 is a translation of the very exact same Greek term that introduces this thought in Romans 3:27 translated "boasting": 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 1. Since Abraham lived 430 years prior to the Mosaic Law then the term "works" in Romans 4:2 cannot possibly refer to the Mosaic Law or Jewishness but must refer to the "deeds" performed by Abraham. Furthermore, it must refer to his good deeds because who would "glory" in sinful deeds before God? 2. After introducing this general introduction of Abraham in verses 1-3, then the abstract doctrinal explanation given by Paul in verses 4-6 must also refer to simple GOOD DEEDS in contrast with justification by faith because Paul is arguing from a PRE-Mosaic illustration that is completely void of any kind of JEWISHNESS or MOSAIC LAW context. 3. Hence, the contrast "worketh not BUT believeth" is a contrast between "good deeds" performed by Abraham or any other human being in contrast to "believeth" proving that justification by faith is "without works" or "good deeds" performed by the believer. 4. The fact that the person exercising faith "without works" is characterized according to his PERSONAL CONDITION at the point of faith to be "ungodly" proves that justification by faith must be "without" GOOD "works." NOTE: The grammar demands the term "ungodly" is the PRESENT STATE of the person AT THE TIME of believing as Paul uses the PRESENT TENSE for all three verbs (believeth, imputeth, justifieth) showing simeltaneous action and all modifying "the ungodly." Hence, the imputing, justifying does not alter his PERSONAL condition only his LEGAL POSITION before God. His PERSONAL condition is altered by regeneration which is contemporary in action as Paul later proves in Romans 6. The point here is that justification by faith does not alter the PERSONAL CONDITION of the believer at the point of faith. That condition of "ungodly" is altered by another act of God separate from justification by faith. Furthermore, Romans 4:9-15 demonstrate that justification by faith is not contemporary with obedience to either circumcision/divine ordinances or obedience to the Law of God. Romans 4:16-21 demonstrate that justification by faith excludes all personal contributions by the one being justified. Abraham and Sarah could not make any personal contributions to the birth of Isaac as their faculties that would permit personal contribution/participation were "dead" and thus thus justifying faith is contextually defined in the following words: 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. This text restricts the definition of justifying faith to be PASSIVE in regard to obtaining the promise as the promise is obtained by the POWER of God. It defines it as merely RECEIVING the promise and RESTING in God's ability to provide what was promised. Thus Paul defines justifiying faith to be "without works" of any kind, just as previously repeatedly stated in Romans 3:28; 4:5,6 demonstrating that "works" cannot be of grace (Rom. 4:4) and yet "faith" is "by grace" (Rom. 4:16).