Living in Grace and Faith
Introduction – In this Session, we will complete Romans chapter 4 and continue with Paul building on the beauty of redemption and the romance of the gospel; that the justification before God for the forgiveness of sins, is by faith and not works.
Romans is truly a glorious, freeing book that lifts the weight of failure, the weight of sins, and the burden of guilt from the human heart.
From Romans 4 to Romans 8, we experience an ascending string of beautiful theological thoughts that are intended for us to be completely convinced and freed from anything in our lives that would hinder us from experiencing the love and affections of God in our lives.
In Romans 4:13-25 we see the following 6 movements in the text.
1 – Abraham, the heir of the world through His faith.
2 – Faith is the agency of acceptance in the Father and agency by which one receives the promises of God.
3 – Faith is the great equalizer of humanity.
4 – Salvation is rooted in the goodness of God and not human works for the affections of God.
5 – Faith is progression of trust in God that receives the promises of God.
6 – Faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father.
a) Paul describes Abraham as the heir of the world. Paul is referencing God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12 and Genesis 15. Genesis 12:2-3 – “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Today the global Church of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of this prophetic promise that the LORD made to Abraham.
b) The vehicle for receiving the promises of God are not through the Law, but by the principle of faith, evidenced by trusting God through course of our lives, like Abraham. We should note that before Moses received the Law, the LORD already made 3 grace-based Covenants with humanity. The Adamic Covenant, the Noahic Covenant and Abraham’s Covenant. These covenants between God and man were motivated by God’s love and goodness toward humanity and His promise of Messiah who would redeem us the consequences of the Fall.
c) One cannot depend on the Law to bring righteousness because no one is able to keep the Law. Only One kept the Law, the Lord Jesus Christ, who through the perfection of His Law-Keeping, became the perfect Passover Lamb that was sacrificed for the sins of the world.
d) Where there is no Law, there is no transgression – How are we to understand
this statement? 1 – One may sin and still not transgress a command of the Law of Moses. 2 – The example of this would be Adam and Eve, who sinned and yet did not transgress the Law because sin’s root is breaking trust with God. Therefore, God relates to humanity through relationship and not Law. When people center their relationship with the LORD around Law-Keeping instead of loving Him, we contradict God’s plan of redemption.
a) It is abundantly clear in Scripture that our standing before God has nothing to do with who we are, but with who God is. Faith is the great equalizer of humanity. All who trust God and approach Him by faith in Messiah are sons and daughters of Abraham and children of God.
b) The agency of salvation is grace. Faith – Greek – charis – grace, that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech, good will, loving-kindness, favor, of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues, the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace, a gift.
c) Salvation is rooted in the goodness of God. We cannot work for the affections of God because the affections of God toward people originate in Him. 1 John 4:19 – We love because he first loved us.
a) To give life, one must possess life. God is the God of life, the hope of resurrection, new beginnings and new creation life. b) God changes our reality and the impossible is possible with Him. He transcends our reality and can move in the lives of people in any way He desires. Our faith in Him, gives us the opportunity for the impossibilities of life to become possible in Him. Where ever we lack or need change, God is the agency of that change.
a) Notice that faith is simply believing God, or the promises of God to be true. Faith – Greek – pistis – conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it.
b) Faith that receives the promise of God works is modeled in the following ways: 1 – recognizing the impossibility, or the impossible situation. Denial is not faith. Faith sees the situation and trusts God in the midst. 2 – Faith is strengthened by giving glory (Greek – Doxa) to God. 3 – The promises are received by being persuaded, or the mind being steadfast in God’s power, or the inherent power of His Person.
a) Credited – Greek – logizomai – to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over, a
thing is reckoned as or to be something, i.e. as availing for or equivalent to something, as having the like force and weight, to take into account, to make an account of – it is an ancient banking term that Paul uses as a metaphor for the wealth of mercy, love and grace God shows in forgiving our sins.
b) Jesus Christ is the only way to access the promise of salvation, righteousness and justification. There is no other approach to God, but through trusting Christ. That is the great boast of Christianity compared to the religions of the world. All other religious systems approach God through works, with no assurance of acceptance. Only Christianity promises relationship with God apart from works, by faith is Jesus Messianic identity and Messianic works of the cross, with the evidence being the resurrection. Jesus death on the cross paid the ransom for sin and satisfied the justice, holiness and righteousness of God, and the resurrection proved the Father accepted that sacrifice.