Romans Chapter 4
"The Case of Abraham."
Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
transcription/ location is provided by http://www.theseason.org
Romans 4:1 "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found."
Paul is saying, what can we learn from our father Abraham's experiences, when he was living in the flesh? What can we learn from those those lessons of the Old Testament. Remember, we just finished studying how the prophets and the law told of the birth and death of Jesus Christ; and when Jesus died on the cross, His death and blood paid the price for the remission of our sins. However, what about father Abraham? Abraham lived and died a long time before Christ paid the price on the cross.
Romans 4:2 "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God."
Abraham did a good work, and God found great favor with Abraham, and his wife Sarah, even to the point of making a strong covenant with him. Abraham was honest with God, and also dealt honestly with things in his life, and as a man he was a good person. However, as a man if he was judged by the law, he would not be found perfect from the point of view from the law.
Romans 4:3 "For what saith the Scripture? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."
Abraham was not found guilty by faith, for faith is believing. Their is no middle ground to believing, you either believe our you do not and have doubt. This statement is taken from Genesis 15:6; "And he believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness."
Romans 4:4 "Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt."
It is very important that you understand this verse. The only thing that you can take to heaven with you is your works. Revelation 14:13 documents this; "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, "Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." Works creates a debt with God, and God always pays His debts.
Friend, work is not the same as faith. Faith is what causes you to repent, and makes you right with the Father, and work is what you do for the Heavenly Father after you have the faith, have repented in Jesus name, and have become a child of the living God. You do not get rewards for faith, you get salvation, which is a position in the heavenlies. That position is a joint heir with Christ, and a son of the living God.
Your work done for the Father while in the flesh and on earth are taken with you after death. Those works go to make up your garment that you will wear in the Millennium age, and on into eternity. Those works will never leave you, for they make up your eternal garment and position.
Luke 12:31 "But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you."
When you seek the things of God, and do the work of God, God will bless your for it. Why? God pays His bills by His blessings, which is a payment for work rendered. This is entirely different than Salvation and Grace, which is the unmerited favor given and granted absolutely free. Jesus Christ paid that price, and in faith by repentance all you have to do is to reach out and take it. It is unmerited because we all fall short and come short of the glory of God. Though we do not deserve it, God forgives us of all sin.
Keep in mind that "works" and "faith" are two entirely different things. Works bring blessings in this life, and "Faith produces your Salvation". You do the works because you are saved by the Grace of God, through the shed blood of Christ. Your "faith" is the factor that caused you to believe and repent of your sin, and gave you the confidence to believe in Jesus Christ.
Romans 4:5 "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
This is saying that if a person does absolutely no work for the Lord, however he has a very strong faith in Jesus Christ, and our heavenly Father; then his "faith" will be counted as his righteousness.
Romans 4:6 "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,"
There are many preachers that say, "works have nothing to do with it". This verse is talking about the blessings that God gives us, and the selection of who will get that blessing. Let's try to explain the verse with an analogy.
Say you had a hardware store, and you had four employees working for you. Each of these employees tell you that they like you, and love their job, however there is one that is never does a bit of work, in fact that person is so lazy it is to the point of you just not trusting him. When the business is slow, the others always find something to do to make the store better, by cleaning or stocking the shelves, only this one sits around and does nothing. Friend, which one of the four would you let go in hard times? The ones with the works, or the lazy one?
Don't let faith overshadow your common sense, for that is the reason you are on this earth as a son of God: You are placed here to work for the Kingdom of God. God wants doers of the Word, but faith is also precious because it is unmerited. The two just do not belong in the same topic study, because they are two entirely different subjects. One is given us by Christ Himself, and the other has to be earned and is a payment of work spent.
Now as far as David's teaching, this verse is in reference to Psalms 32, which is a Psalm of wisdom. This is the instruction of wisdom given by David. The title is a song of "Maschil", which means that it is very difficult when you sin, but then it gives very important instructions to guard against sinning, and what to do following our transgression.
Psalms 32:1 "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered."
Christ's blood covers sin when repentance comes.
Psalms 32:2 "Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile."
There are some qualifications to this man that the Lord imputeth not iniquity. Have you any guile in your spirit? Do you get upset when you know you should not, especially when there is no cause?
Psalms 32:3 "When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long."
Psalms 32:4 "For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah."
Selah means to stop and meditate on what has just been said. David connects his trouble with His conviction and confession. Friend, if you do not have conviction and confession, then there can be no repentance for you must have the one to have the other. It is through your repentance that you receive forgiveness and justification. So we are going to connect the trouble that David had, with David's conviction and confession.
Psalms 32:5 "I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, "I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord;" And Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah." [Pause and consider again]
David acknowledged the fact that he did sin, and he knew that God knew all of his sin, even in his thoughts. David knew that the only place to confess sin was to the Lord, not to some congregation, or a pastor or priest. When the confession is made to the Lord, then He forgave the iniquity of David's sin. Then David tell us to stop and think on that for a moment [Selah].
Psalms 32:6 "For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found: Surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him."
Here we connect divine forgiveness with prayer and praise.
Psalms 32:7 "Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah."
Our Heavenly Father will preserves each of us from trouble, and gives us deliverance from all those difficult times, when we pray for deliverance and praise Him for it in our prayers. The "compass" covers all the angles around you, and our Heavenly Father will keep Satan from attacking from any direction, even the directions that you least expect.
Remember, this is the song of wisdom, and it gives instruction for conviction and confession, forgiveness and justification, and here prayer and praise, and then then followed by thanksgiving. Now David will give more instruction.
Psalms 32:8 "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye."
This is the instruction after the confession, the prayer and praise to God. This is God's eye guiding you in every direction that you will go.
Psalms 32:9 "Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: Whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, Lest they come near unto thee."
You can't work a horse or mule by reasoning with him, they don't have that ability. You have to take charge and give direction to that animal. God is telling us to listen to Him, and use the sense and insight that He has given to you, and pay attention to His Word. God leads His sheep, and He drives the horse and the mule. The question then is, "Can you follow the Shepherd?, or do you have to be driven to do what you do"
Psalms 32:10 "Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: But he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about."
This is important, don't skip over this. He that trusteth in the Lord, God's mercy shall cover all around him. Do you want God's mercy around you? Friend, Trusting in the Lord is wisdom.
Psalms 32:11 "Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: And shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.
This is the Psalm that Paul had in mind when he made the statement, "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness with out works." [Romans 4:5]
This gives us the steps that we must go through, the conviction, the repentance, the pause to think on it, and the meditation to know exactly what you are doing; and then follow God's instruction from His Word, and to pray and praise Him for the protection that He gives. The important thing is to trust God, and take His instruction, and then give Him the praise.
Romans 4:7 "Saying, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered."
This is after the Psalms of David are given. When you cover something, it is to be put out of sight. If God covers your sin, why in the world would you ever want to bring it up and let that forgiven sin make your life miserable? When you have repented your sins to the Father in Jesus name, don't ever allow anyone to work you over with that sin, for the accusation is not of the Spirit of God, but from Satan, and his demonic realm. That applies just as much to the pastor and the deacon board; for they have no business messing around with any sin that has been repented. If they do, that is the time for you to separate yourself from them.
When Christ's blood covers any sin, it is blotted from the books that will be opened on judgement day, and those sins just don't exist any more. Friend, faith and belief requires your trust in God, in that He keeps His word, and this requires you to forgive yourself also, and that means that you stop worrying about sins that are forgiven.
Romans 4:8 "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."
Friend, when God covers our sins He and blotted them out with the blood of Christ on the Cross, why then would you ever want to go back and dig that sin up, and worry about it. When you make a mistake and sin against God, and you come before our Heavenly Father in repentance in Jesus name, He has removed those sins far from us, and He has also removed them from the books of Judgment that all of the spiritually dead of mankind will be judged by, before the throne of God. That judgement comes following the Millennium age, yet just prior to the coming of the new city [Jerusalem] that comes down out of heaven, as spoken of in Revelations 21.
Revelation 21:1 "And I was a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea."
Revelation 21:2 "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."
When you have repented, and you start worrying that is a sign that you don't fully trust the ability of God to forgive sin. The Holy Spirit of God will never insturct and convict a person of a sin that has been truly repented to the Father in Jesus name, and this is the time to understand that it is the devil and his demonic realm that is doing the accusing. That is the time to take control of the situation, and order Satan and his realm out of your life.
The Lord will not "impute sin" on you that has been forgiven. That is Biblical doctrine from the Scriptures, and the way that churches should teach it. To "impute" is to "take inventory of that sin", from the record of your deeds. To put it an easier way to understand in modern day language, it is like putting it on your charge card and that charge [sin] will follow you wherever you go. Christ's blood was shed on the cross is like the payment in full fo clear your entire account of those sins, all your sins.
However, when you go out and sin again, which mankind will do while living in this flesh body, our request for payment of the added debt of sin requires us again to request of the Father that the bill for sin just acquired be paid also, and that is done by repenting again for the new sins committed. Remember all repentance to the Father must be done in Jesus name, for Jesus is the only name whereby man can be saved. All sins covered by the blood of Christ are finished and gone forever, you may never forget those things that you have done, but that is fine for that human nature keeps you from making the same mistake over again.
God truly loves us, and we know this because He pays us for the work we do for Him, and He always pays His debts. But for the most serious thing of all, or sins; that work cannot cover, in love He forgives us of them when we but as Him, in repentance.
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."
Paul is asking here, was it faith, or was it because He was circumcised, which means the law, that Abraham found this blessedness with the Father? Keep in mind that it was fourteen years after Abraham was blessed that He was circumcised. The circumcision certainly had nothing to do with Abraham's righteousness, at least physically.
When God blessed Abraham and made a covenant with him, as recorded in Genesis 15:1-21, God changed Abram's name to Abraham. Genesis 17:5 states; "Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations haveI made thee." Abraham had not been circumcised yet, and it would be fourteen years later that He was circumcised.
Abraham's righteousness was in God, and his belief that God spoke the truth when He made the promise. God said it, and Abraham believed what God said, and acted on those promises. You talk about faith, Abraham was over one hundred years old, and had no children, yet he believed God when God told him his children would number as the stars in the heaven. Friend that is trust. Sarah was years beyond child bearing years, yet he believed that some how God would give her husband his children. Abraham believed when God spoke. That is faith.
Romans 4:10 "How was it them reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision,"
It is obvious that Abraham was in uncircumcision when God spoke and Abraham believed. The circumcision came fourteen years after the belief and the promises of the Abrahamic covenant. Abraham received the promise before he was circumcised."
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:"
The sign of the circumcision is that which would symbolize being circumcised. Then the righteousness would come from the seed of the circumcised, and that Seed is Jesus Christ. It is having faith in Christ, not Abraham. We must have the faith as Abraham had in the promises of God, in belief in our resurrected Lord. We do that by asking forgiveness after our repentance in Jesus name. Our confession is to the Father, and our authority to seek forgiveness is in our belief in Jesus Christ, and in His blood sacrifice that Jesus gave for each of us, and our sins.
In that forgiveness comes the washing away of our sin, no matter what that sin was, or what race or people you come from.
Romans 4:12 "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."
Abraham had that faith to belief and to know that God's words were true. Part of that seed's promise, "of many nations", was Christ Himself.
What this gets down to is your reliability on the trust that you have in God's Word. When you read of a promise in God's Word, How do you accept that Word, with absolute belief, or is there doubt? You are in trouble if you question God's ability to keep His Word. This is what Paul is comparing here, When God gave Abraham promises that were totally beyond reason, Abraham accept those promises at face value, and believed every word that was spoken.
Most people that question God's ability to keep His Word, are those that are Biblically illiterate, and just don't study to know the truths in His Word. When you see the prophecies, and see how perfectly He has kept all the promises, you would know beyond a doubt that God does keep His Word. Our heavenly Father has control over all peoples, times and matters. Then you should have no doubt, and your certainty guarantees your faith.
"Faith cometh by hearing [seeing] and hearing by the Word of God." You come to your belief when you read and study His Word, for that is how you understand. You can't believe in something you don't understand, and it is from understanding that our faith is developed. That faith is the confidence we have in something, when we act out what we belief.
"Uncircumcision" means "Gentile, not of Israel". "Abraham" means "father of many nations". The word nations when used in the plural, means all nations, including Israel itself. If Israel is ever called a nation it is singular, even though there are many nations that comprise the whole House of Israel. It includes all tribes of both houses, the House of Judah [Jews] and the House of Israel [the Christian nations].
In this verse Abraham is the father of all peoples and nations, and this is because it is from Abraham's seed, there would come Christ. Christ is the seed of Abraham that all life comes, that life is eternal life that only comes by faith. Works on the other hand have to do with debt that comes from God, meaning that it is blessings and rewards that you receive from the works you give to God in His service. They are both important.
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."
The law did not guarantee your inheritance that God gives you, when you have faith and belief in Jesus Christ. We must have the same undivided faith in Jesus Christ, and His Word, as Abraham had in the promises that God had given to him, and His placing his whole live on those promises.
When God told Abraham to take his son Isaac up on mount Morriah, and to place him on an altar and make him a sacrifice; this was the voice of God instructing Abraham, and it took faith to do this. Yet Abraham knew that in as much as God was instructing him, that a provision would be made. Even if this son was killed God would raise Him again, or give him another son. Abraham believed in that promise that God had given to him, and he had the faith to believe that.
Think of that kind of faith, do you have that kind of faith to place one of your children on an altar if God so requested? This is the faith of Abraham, and it is this faith that God called, "through the righteousness of faith". Of course God provided the ram that was caught in the bush that was sacrificed also.
Romans 4:14 "For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:"
If those of Israel are the heirs by the law. The law is not bad, but the law alone cannot save. This is because we are not perfect and can not keep all the law. The only one with the possibility of being saved by the law was Christ because he did not sin. The law is what was given to show us of our sin, and that we needed repentance in Jesus Christ.
Romans 4:15 "Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression."
The law worketh wrath from God; when you break the law it makes our heavenly Father angry. Have you ever wondered why things haven't gone well at a certain period of time? Think about it.
Where there is no law there is no transgression of the law. There was no transgression before the law was given, for all sin is transgression against the law, even to this day.
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,"
Yes it is a free gift to you, but there was an awesome price that our Lord Jesus Christ paid for the inheritance that is now freely given to you. It doesn't matter if you are from the law [of Israel, all tribes], or of the faith which is the Gentiles, because in the end if you are of the promised seed, then you are of the seed of Abraham: spiritually, because you must receive your eternal inheritance of salvation the same way, by belief in Jesus Christ and the repentance or your sins.
Don't forget now, your rewards come from your works, because it is God's payment through blessings for work that has been given to Him, as we saw in Romans 4:4, "Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt."
Remember that God always pays His debt. To some the debt is paid in this life, and yet many will receive their payment in the next age. But in your excitement for doing God's work, remember that there is no substituting your works, for the faith that is required.
Romans 4:17 "(As it is written, "I have made thee a father of many nation") before Him Whom he believed, even God, Who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not, as though they were."
"Quickeneth the dead", means that God makes even the dead come alive. Even in the future God can speak certain things and know that those things will come to pass to fulfill prophecy. The only thing that God will not do is interfere in your choice of whether you will follow and love Him, or go your own way, and in this generation even be deceived by Satan the Antichrist.
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."
When God first spoke to Abraham in the early part of His life, as time past it just seemed that God's promises just couldn't come to pass, considering all the details of the promise, and the age and condition of Sarah and Abraham.
Romans 4:19 "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 Sarah's womb:"
This is saying that once God made the promise to Abraham and Sarah, Abraham did not consider the condition of his own body. "Now dead", means that his body and Sarah's womb were beyond the capability of bearing children physically. If it was to be, Abraham took God's promise at face value. God said it and I believe it.
From that promise God revitalized both Sarah and Abraham's physical bodies, and we have a miracle birth of Isaac. Isaac was a miracle child just like John the Baptist was a miracle in the old age of Zacharias and Elisabeth, as recorded in Luke 1:18; "And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years."
Are you starting to get the picture? God can do what pleases Him, for He is not restricted to the limits of the physical realm. Both Sarah and Elisabeth had children in their old age, and both their children were a blessing direct from God, given through their faith in God. Both children were important, for it was from the seed of Abraham and Isaac that Jesus Christ would be born, and the forerunner of Christ was John the Baptist.
John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus and the one that baptized Jesus at the start of His ministry. Hope is the substance of what God allows to come to pass.
Romans 4:20 "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;"
Abraham gave glory to God in all matters, and we must also learn to do the same in our lives in all matters. Many times we become so good in our jobs and special gifts that God has allowed us to develop, and as we use those special gifts we better not overlook who gave us the skill. God gets all the glory for the things in our lives, for they are part of His blessings to us.
Romans 4:21 "And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform."
God will keep His promises at all times, however when we pray, many times we ask in foolishness. It is good that God does not answer us the way we have asked in our prayers because the answer could be harmful to us. Being "fully persuaded", is what we call "faith in God Word". God's entire plan shall come to pass exactly as it is written and you can count on it. This is why it becomes important to learn to study and follow through to the root meaning of those troubling words and meanings. When we study and learn, then we can become "fully persuaded".
Romans 4:22 "And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness."
This means that God gave Abraham the gift because of his faith in God. Not of his works, but his faith.
Romans 4:23 "Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;"
It wasn't counted for Abraham's sake alone, that his faith was his righteousness.
Romans 4:24 "But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him That raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,"
Paul is stating that just as Abraham's faith was counted for righteousness, so also our faith will also be counted for our righteousness. However, there is a condition involved here, and that condition is "if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead."
Our Heavenly father is the one that raised His Son from the dead, and He did it exactly as the prophets of old wrote down the Words of the Father. So the question becomes, do you believe the entire Word of God, given by the Father and written down by the prophets. Do you believe that in the Father, and accept the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross for the remission of your sins. and come to the Father in repentance, in Jesus name? If you do, then your faith shall be imputed to you by God the Father, just as Abraham's was imputed to him.
You can't fool God, for God even knows what you are thinking. This is an absolute thing, you either believe, or you do not. You either meet the condition, or you do not, and when you repent and believe in Jesus name, you meet the condition.
Romans 4:25 "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."
"Justification" in a sense is a form of judgment. It means that you were judged and the judge said that you were not guilty. However in your mind you know that you were guilty, and deserving of death for your sin, but our heavenly Father loved you enough that when you said, "Father forgive me in Jesus name", He pronounced "Not guilty" upon all charges against you for your sin.
I hope you can understand just what our heavenly Father has done for you in His plan of Faith and work, and you can live by that plan in peace of mind. Even though you repent and come to Him and your soul is saved, it doesn't mean that you will not sin again in your life. We live in a real world, and we must be realist as we live our lives. When we fall to sin, we should seek forgiveness when we come to the understand that we have sinned. You will know when you have sinned, so don't try to cover it up. Admit it to the Father, and repent of that sin in Jesus name, and then you will be restored to the fellowship with the Father, and have true peace of mind.
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