Living in Grace and Faith
Introduction – In this Session, we will begin Romans chapter 4 and see Paul building on the theological thought of justification before God 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 4:1-12 we see the following movements in the text.
1 – Abraham is the example of faith that pleases God.
2 – God accepts all people, Jew or Gentile by their faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
3 – Circumcision, like Baptism is a sign of the inward change of the heart that was born in faith.
a) Paul begins to build on the theological construct that all people are justified before God, not by religious works, but by faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. When we consider the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of humanity, we are considering the following theological thoughts: Jesus fulfilled every type, shadow and prophesy in the Old Covenant Scriptures, Jesus was a perfect Adam/or representation of Man, and Jesus was sinless. These things make Him our Passover Lamb, and His resurrection proves that the Father accepted the sacrifice and handed Him the dominion that was lost in Eden.
b) Paul uses Abraham as the example because He was the father of the Hebrews and the most important figure in Judaism alongside Moses. In the context of the culture, many rabbis of the First Century taught that Abraham kept the Law by intuition or anticipation of the Law before God gave it to Moses. Therefore, he was justified by his works of the Law. Here are 2 quotes from ancient rabbis of the time; “We find that Abraham our father had performed the whole Law before it was given” and “Abraham was perfect in all his deeds with the Lord.”
c) Paul is making the point from the revelation given in Scripture that Abraham was indeed justified by faith and not works that anticipated the Law. d) Justified – Greek – dikaioō – to render righteous or such he ought to be, to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be, to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered. Notice that this is what God extends to people by faith and perceives us to be.
a) Notice that the Scripture says that Abraham believed God, and God credited righteousness to Him. It does not say God made Abraham righteous, but counted him righteous. We become wholly righteous at our death, or at the return of Jesus Christ if we are still living.
b) Counted/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.
c) Paul quotes Genesis 15:6.
a) Paul makes the point that no one is truly ever justified by works. Even the Law witnesses this in Exodus and Leviticus, where the provision of the sin offering is prescribed for the guilty who sinned against God and people.
b) One of the major assignments of the spirit of religion is to keep God fearing people trapped in a system of works that strive for the affections of God.
c) When we trust Christ for our forgiveness, justification and righteousness, we are abiding in Jesus and resting in His finished work of the cross. We cease from striving for the affections of God and cease from striving for His love. See Romans 8:35
a) Paul uses David as the example of the one who has experienced the freedom of knowing that the sins of the past do not define our future or weigh on our souls.
b) In Psalm 32:1-2, David describes spiritual freedom. The remarkable thing about David was his revelation of God’s grace.
a) Paul makes the point from Abraham’s example that it does not matter what condition the person is in, whether Jew, or Gentile, it is believing God that justifies the persom before Him.
b) Galatians 3:26-29 – So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
a) Circumcision was the seal, or the sign of the Covenant that God made with Abraham because he believed.
b) Baptism is the sign of our faith in the New Covenant era. It is the outward sign of what has already taken place in our hearts. Considering the kindness of God, how should we respond to that kind of love, care and provision as He has freed us from the judgment for our sins?