Justified by Faith
Let us continue our journey through the book of Romans. I want to thank you for the significant and positive response to our study. I pray that these emails are beneficial to your walk with the Lord and help you on your journey.
Read: Romans 4
Chapter four of the book of Romans is the rational argument. Paul is showing his readers that the Gospel is not something new; instead, the Gospel comes from old. The Gospel is God’s plan of redemption from before the foundation of the world. Paul’s argument in chapter four is the Gospel is nothing new, rather old. He was looking to Abraham, the forefather of the Jewish faith. Let us begin our journey in Romans 4.
1. Look at Abraham (1-5): Paul begins his journey by looking at Abraham. Abraham is the father of Judaism and the most important figure outside of Christ. It was to Abraham that he was promised to be the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). In looking at Abraham, there are a few things that we must take note.
A. There was nothing of Abraham. There was nothing special about Abraham that would have made God choose him. He was a coward at points; we see this with his wife. The calling of Abraham was not based on his merit; as you know, Abraham was not a God-fearing man until the Lord called him.
B. He failed. Another truth we know about Abraham was that he failed. He was unable to trust entirely in the Lord and took matters into his own hands. He didn’t live out faith in God perfectly.
Because of these things, Paul points his readers to the understanding that Abraham was not justified by his actions. Abraham was not justified because he did everything correctly. Instead, Abraham was justified by faith. Genesis 15:6 “And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.“ He was not considered righteous because of his pedigree, nor his works, instead, he was justified by his faith. Our works do not justify us as Christians, rather our faith in Christ, our faith in our substitute.
2. Look at David (6-8): Next, Paul looks at king David. The man after God’s own heart. Yet, David was an adulterer and a murderer. David knew the terrible burden of sin. Remember that he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, then had Uriah killed. But David experienced forgiveness. David writes of this and sings of this truth. We see in Psalm 51 David’s anguish over his sin and this psalm of knowing his great forgiveness.
3. The Seal (9-12): Paul turns back to Abraham. Abraham was considered righteous before he was given the sign of the covenant. He did not receive circumcision until after he had already been considered righteous, the circumcision being the symbol of his righteousness. The Jews had gotten this out of order; they had believed that it was the circumcision that made them righteous rather than the faith.
4. The Promise (13-25): Here, we see Paul turn the corner in his argument. He has already established that Abraham had been justified by his faith and not by his works. That Abraham’s circumcision came after his credit of righteousness. Paul then begins to look at what if it was obedience to the Law that was justification.
A. Faith is null. (14). If it is adherents of the Law who are to be the heirs, faith is null. If it is by your obedience to the Law that you are to be a child of God, then why would Abraham be crediting righteous?
B. The Promise is void (14). The Promise is that his offspring would be a blessing to all generations. That God would make him a great nation, not that he would have to make himself a great nation.
C. Law brings wrath (15). The Law exposes sin (we see this argument laid out earlier.) If it is adherence to the Law, what happens when we all fail the Law, which we do.
D. It depends on faith (16-17). It depends not on the Law; rather, it depends on faith. Just as Abraham is credited righteous not by his works but by his faith, it is the same for you and I. We are credited righteous not by our works but by our faith in the Lord Jesus. It was in God that he had placed his faith and not in the Law
E. Our justification (18-25) Though Abraham was old, really old, he still believed that God could do what He said that He was going to do, make Abraham a great nation. We see that Abraham continued to keep the faith in God that He would make him a great nation. We see this in Genesis, and it is for our sake that we see it is by faith, not by his works. For us, it is not based upon our works and what we do, instead it is based on what has been done for us. We are not the justification for our own sin; justification comes through Christ alone and the work that He accomplished. There is no amount of work that you can do to pay the debt that you owe; rather, you must put your faith in another.
Our faith and trust matters. Who you put your trust in matters. Are you trusting in your own merits, or are you trusting in another? The only one you can trust in is Christ. He is to be praised forever and ever, Amen!