Romans Chapter Four

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by R. J., Dec 22, 2006.

  1. R. J.

    R. J.
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    Romans Chapter Four

    Romans 4:1 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.

    Paul is now going to solidify his teaching that both Jews and Gentiles can be justified by faith without the deeds of the Law and he will introduce the blessedness of imputed righteousness from God.

    Paul will do these things using:
    1. Abraham, as an example of God imputing His righteousness to a Gentile before the Law, and
    2. David, as an example of God NOT imputing sin to a Jew under the Law.
    Circumcision will be in context which can be seen
    in the phrase "as pertaining to the flesh" in verse 1 and mentioned prominently in verses 9 through 12.

    Abraham was an uncircumcised Gentile when God first spoke to him. In context, verse 2 is stating that even if Abraham were justified by circumcision and gloried in it, he would have been glorying in his own works but not in God's grace.

    As James 2 makes clear, Abraham was justified by works when he obeyed God and prepared to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham was about 105 years old at that time. Abraham's FAITH was counted unto him as righteousness when he believed God's promise in Genesis 15:6. Abraham was about 86 years old at that time.

    You can see that Abraham's salvation was not like yours in that you were JUSTIFIED by the blood of Christ the moment that you believed.

    Romans 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

    If you are WORKING to get to Heaven, then going to Heaven would be a REWARD for the service you performed. As verse 4 states, the reward would not be determined by GRACE (i.e. the Lord giving you something which you don't deserve). Instead the reward would be a matter of DEBT (i.e. the Lord would "owe" the reward to you.

    If you want to receive the imputed righteousness of God, stop trusting in what you DO and trust completely in what Christ DID for you.

    Romans 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 [Saying], Blessed [are] they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed [is] the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

    The imputed righteousness of God is "without works" as we see in verse 6. It is God giving His righteousness to a person who has no righteous deeds of his own.

    Notice in verse 7 that it is not only God crediting His righteousness to your account, but He also will not credit SIN to your account when you have, in fact, sinned.

    In verses 7 and 8, Paul is quoting Psalm 32:1-2. Not only is Paul quoting David, he is using him as a prime example of God not imputing sin to a person.

    David had good reason for writing Psalm 32:1-2, for he had committed two sins for which there was no sacrifice in the Old Testament (see Psalm 51:16). He committed adultery (Leviticus 20:10) and murder (Numbers 35:31). But God "put away" his sin and did not exact the required punishment for it (2 Samuel 12:13).

    Consider this then. Your STATE is saved. Your STANDING is in Christ whose STATE is sinless perfection. So, when God sees you, He sees His Son.

    You won't understand the paragraph just above if you don't believe the scriptural doctrine of the two natures of man.

    If you are saved, there is a NATURE in you that is just like Christ Jesus. That NATURE is predestined "to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Romans 8:29).

    At the same time, you live in a body of sinful flesh that God sees a being dead. Here is the verse that substantiates:

    Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

    Verse 8 also indirectly addresses the issue of unaccountable children. We will see this issue completely nailed down when we get to Romans 5:13.

    Romans 4:9 [Cometh] this blessedness then upon the circumcision [only], or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

    The "blessedness" in verse 9 is the blessedness of imputed righteousness spoken of in verse 8. Paul asks the question "Can both Jews and Gentiles receive the blessedness of imputed righteousness?" The answer is based upon Abraham's condition when he received it. Paul answers the question for us. Abraham received the imputed righteousness of God BEFORE he was circumcised. He was an uncircumcised Hebrew in Genesis 14:13 when he received imputed righteousness (Genesis 15:6).

    --- Continued on next post ---
     
  2. R. J.

    R. J.
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    Romans Chapter Four (Continued)

    Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which [he had yet] being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which [he had] being [yet] uncircumcised.

    In verse 11, circumcision is a SIGN. It is "a seal of the righteousness of faith". Christians do not need such a "seal" since Christians are SEALED by the Holy Spirit unto redemption.

    In verses 11 and 12, Paul makes a distinction between the spiritual blessing which one can obtain by following Abraham's example and the physical promise of land given to Abraham and his chosen, physical seed. Let's make sure we are not trying to steal what belongs to the nation of Israel.
    1. Abraham has all kinds of children. Being a "child of Abraham" means nothing in and of itself. For example, the Amalekites were children of Abraham through Esau (Genesis 36:12) and God told Saul to KILL all of them (1 Samuel 15:13).
    2. The physical promise of the land of Palestine is given to the 12 tribes of Israel through Isaac and Jacob (Matthew 19:28; Obadiah 17 - 21; Ezekiel 36, 48; Isaiah 11; Jeremiah 31; Zechariah 14). Christians have no right to the land because it was never given to them.
    3. The spiritual blessings of Abraham are to anyone who follows the example of Abraham in faith and obedience (John 5:39). Under grace, a Gentile has the opportunity to become a spiritual child of Abraham by faith in the promised seed of Abraham, the Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 3).
    In the context of Romans 4, the spiritual blessing of Abraham is the IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS of God.

    Romans 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, [was] not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law [be] heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, [there is] no transgression.

    Notice, in verse 13, that the promise was not to Abraham or to Israel, under the Law. Abraham was in the same position as NOAH was when he stepped off the ark. Not convinced? Check out this verse:

    Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

    Now let's look at why the promise was not to Israel, under the Law. If the promise had been given to Moses, then FAITH would not be involved. Why?

    Paul gives us the answer in verse 15. It is because the Law works wrath. He brings the point home by giving the hypothetical situation that where there is no law, there is no transgression.

    Romans 4:16 Therefore [it is] of faith, that [it might be] by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, [even] God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

    Paul summarizes imputed righteousness in verse 16 by stating that it is of FAITH and GRACE. This is in contradistinction to WORKS and LAW. It is to ALL the seed, not just to the Jews under the Law. It is to those that exercise the FAITH of Abraham.

    In verse 17, Paul then confirms that Gentiles are included by quoting Genesis 17:4-5 which speaks of "many nations". The case being stated in verse 17 is Abraham's. God had to quicken that part of Abraham and Sarah's bodies that could no longer bear children.

    Romans 4:18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

    In this passage, we see Abraham's faith defined in greater detail. His FAITH was imputed to him for righteousness because he was fully persuaded that God would perform what he promised.

    Romans 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.



    In these last three verses, Paul portrays Abraham's imputed righteousness as a type of our receiving God's righteousness with the conditions changed.

    Notice in verse 24 that we receive God's imputed righteousness when "we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead". We receive that righteousness when we believe that God, the Father, had Jesus die in our place to remove our sin (i.e. "delivered for our offences" in verse 25). God raised Christ from the dead to show that the sin debt had been fully paid (i.e. "was raised for our justification" in verse 25).

    So, unlike Abraham, we do not have to wait to see if our works match our faith. We are justified upon belief because of our faith in Christ's work.

    Our sins are taken away (John 1:29). Abraham's were NOT (Hebrews 10:4).

    --- End of Romans Chapter Four ---
     

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