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BIBLE STUDY on the book of Romans

Chapter 4

In this great section of justification by faith, we have seen the doctrine. Paul has clearly stated that man is a sinner. Then he revealed that God provides a righteousness for sinners, and justification by faith has been explained. Now he will illustrate this truth with two men out of the Old Testament: Abraham and David.

Abraham and David Justified by Faith . . . Romans 4:1-25

Romans 4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [KJV]

Paul uses Abraham as an excellent example of someone who was saved by faith. By emphasizing faith, Paul is not saying that God’s laws are unimportant, only that it is impossible to be saved simply by obeying them. Abraham had nothing to boast about in the Presence of God, for he was saved by God’s grace, through faith, even as we are today. The Bible precisely states that “he believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).

Romans 4:2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [KJV]

IF Abraham were justified by things he did, he would have had cause to glory (boast). Many glory in self because of their deeds, but they can never glory before God. Abraham was not under the Law, nor was he justified by it; for it was long after his time before the Mosaic Law came into being.

Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [KJV]

When believers are justified by faith, their faith is counted for righteousness, the same as was Abraham. Their faith is the authorized means of uniting them to Christ, “the Lord our Righteousness” (1 Cor.1:30).

Romans 4:4-5 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. [KJV]

This means that if a person could earn right standing with God by being good, the gift of salvation would NOT be a free act; it would be an obligation. When people work, their wages are NOT a gift. Workers earn what they receive. But people are justified (declared righteous) because of their faith, not because of any work they do. Our self-reliance is useless; all we can do is cast ourselves on God’s mercy and grace. Abraham was justified several years before his circumcision, so it is therefore, very plain that circumcision was not necessary in order to be justified.

Romans 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, [KJV]

What can we do to be rid of guilt? King David was guilty of terrible sins: adultery, murder, lying; and yet he still experienced the joy of complete forgiveness. We too can have this joy:

#1. quit denying our guilt and own up to our sins, #2. admit our guilt to God and ask for His forgiveness, and #3. believe that God has forgiven us.

This can be difficult for us when a sin has taken root and grown over many years, when it is very serious, or when it involves others. We must remember that when God forgives . . . He forgives! (Ps.103:3; Mic.7:18-19; Heb.8:12; 10:17; 1 John 1:9).

Romans 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. [KJV]

This is a quote from Psalm 32:1-2. David sinned, yes, but his confession of those sins and his forgiveness by God truly was “blessed.” David’s sins were totally forgiven! Do you think David was completely forgiven for all his sins? (1 Sam.13:14; Psalms 32; 51; 2 Sam.7:12-16)

Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. [KJV]

Jesus is willing and able to forgive our every sin. In view of the tremendous price He paid on the cross, it is contemptuous to think that any of our sins are too great for Him to cover. Even if our faith is weak, our conscience sensitive, and our memory haunting, God tells us that IF we repent and sins are confessed, sins are forgiven (1 John 1:9).

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. [KJV]

Circumcision is the Jews. Uncircumcision is the Gentiles. Abraham was the spiritual forefather of ALL believers, ALL who walk after the example of his willing and obedient faith. Remember, Abraham was justified BEFORE he was circumcised and BEFORE the Law was given.

Romans 4:10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. [KJV]

HOW did Abraham’s faith help him? He was declared righteous before he was circumcised; so God accepted him first, and then he was circumcised later!

Romans 4:11-12 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. [KJV]

No ritual, or no deed Abraham ever did earned him any reward with God. It was simply his faith! Abraham found favor with God by faith alone, before he was circumcised. Genesis 12:1-4 tells of God’s call to Abraham when he was 75 years old; the circumcision ceremony was introduced when he was 99 years old (Genesis 17:1-14). The only thing that ceremonies and rituals do is to serve as reminders of our faith, and they help instruct new and younger believers. But no ceremony, or no ritual ever gives us any special merit before God. They are strictly outward signs that demonstrate our inward belief and trust. The focus of our faith should be completely on Christ Jesus and His saving actions, never on our own actions.

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. (KJV)

For the promise . . . to show that the faith of Abraham, on which his justification depended, was NOT by the law, the apostle proceeds to show that the Promise concerning which his faith was so remarkably shown was BEFORE the law was given, showing that acceptance with God depended on faith, and NOT on works.

That he should be the heir of the world . . . an heir is one who is to succeed to an estate. In this Passage, the world, or the entire earth, is regarded as the estate to which reference is made. The Promise is, that the descendants of Abraham should be heir to that, or should possess the world as their inheritance. The precise expression used here, "heir of the world," is NOT found in the Promises made to Abraham.

BUT . . . those Promises were, that God would make of him a great nation, (Gen.12:2) that in him all the families of the earth should be blessed, Gen.12:3; that his posterity should be as the stars for multitude, Gen. 15:5 and that he should be a father of many nations, Gen.17:5. As this latter promise is one to which the apostle particularly refers, (Rom.4:17) it is probably the one he had in mind.

But it is also regarded in the New Testament as extending to the Messiah as His descendant, and to all His followers as the spiritual seed of the father of the faithful (Gal.3:16). When Paul says "the heir of the world," he sums up all the Promises made to Abraham, intimating that his spiritual descendants, those who possess his faith shall yet be so numerous as to possess all lands.

Or to his seed . . . to his posterity, or descendants

Romans 4:14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: (KJV)

For, if they which are of the law be heirs . . . if just the Jews were to be heirs of the Promise made to Abraham, and that on the ground of prior obedience to the law, then faith is made void . . . it is entirely useless; and the Promise, which was made to faith, is made of no effect.

Romans 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. (KJV)

Because the law worketh wrath . . . meaning any law or rule of duty. NO law provides for mercy, it just brings on God's wrath and punishment for the disobedient . . . which is ALL of us! Law simply subjects the transgressor to punishment when disobeyed.

For where no law is, there is no transgression . . . and where there is no law, there is no transgression, and there can be no punishment, because there is no law to enforce it.

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, (KJV)

Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace . . . on this account the Promise is mercifully grounded, NOT on obedience to a law, but on the infinite goodness of God! SO . . . the Promise is sure to ALL the seed . . . to all, both Jews and Gentiles, who, believing in Christ Jesus, have a RIGHT to ALL the blessings contained in the Abrahamic covenant.

All the seed . . . means ALL mankind. Of the Gentiles there can be no doubt, for the Promise was given to Abraham while he was still a Gentile; and the salvation of the Jews may be conditional, because they all sprang from Abraham AFTER he became an heir of the righteousness or justification which is received by faith. Abraham is the father of us all, both Jews and Gentiles (Gal.3:26-29).

Romans 4:17 (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. (KJV)

As it is written, I have made thee a father . . . that Abraham's being a father of many nations has relation to the covenant of God made with him, may be seen: Gen.17:4-5 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. (KJV)

God, who quickeneth the dead . . . God is the only proper Object of trust and dependence; for He is almighty, eternal and unchangeable. He can even raise the dead to life, and call those things into being, which are not, as though they were. He is the Creator, He gave being when there was none; He can as always assure the existence of those things which are not, as if they were already actually in being. And, because of this, He will never fail to accomplish whatsoever He has promised.

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. (KJV)

Who against hope believed in hope . . . the faith of Abraham bore an exact correspondence to the power and never-failing faithfulness of God; because even in the ordinary course of things, Abraham did not have the best foundation of hope, he still BELIEVED that he would be the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken; namely, that his "seed" should be like the stars of heaven and like the dust of the earth (Gen.15:5). Gen.15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (KJV)

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 Sara's womb: (KJV)

He considered not his own body now dead . . . Abraham showed the strength of his faith. We must remember that God cannot lie. We must be like Abraham, and believe.

It is true that, according to the course of nature, both he and Sarah were so old that they could not have children. But God is almighty, and can do whatsoever He will, and He will ALWAYS fulfill His Promise.

Abraham had, as yet, no child by Sarah. He was 100 years old; and Sarah was 90. That adds up to the utter improbability of her bearing at that age, plus she had always been barren before. So many reasons why Abraham should not take the Promise seriously; yet he believed!

Romans 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; (KJV)

He staggered not at the promise . . . though every thing was unnatural and improbable; Abraham was strong in faith, and, by this unique confidence, gave glory to God.

It was to God's honor that His servant put such unlimited confidence in Him; BUT, this confidence in God was on the rational ground that God was fully able to perform what He had promised.

Romans 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. (KJV)

And being fully persuaded . . . Abraham's soul was full of confidence, that the Truth of God bound Him to fulfill His Promise and His power enabled Him to do it.

Romans 4:22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. (KJV)

And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness . . . God was graciously pleased to place his faith to Abraham's account; because he relied upon the God's goodness, power and faithfulness.

Abraham had strong faith in the Promise of the coming Savior, for this was essential to his faith, and was reckoned to him for justification. For NO righteousness or works was imputed to him for justification. It was his faith in God.

Romans 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; (KJV)

Now it was not written for his sake alone . . . the fact of Abraham's believing and receiving salvation through that faith is NOT recorded just as a mere circumstance in the patriarch's life! It was intended to do him honor, and also give us Light to see the Truth of salvation,

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; (KJV)

But for us also . . . the mention of Abraham's faith has a much more extensive design than merely to honor Abraham. It is recorded as the model, for us, showing us HOW God will save both Jews and Gentiles! There is NO other way of salvation, just Jesus (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). ALL have sinned (Rom.3:23), and ALL must either be saved by faith through Christ Jesus, OR perish in an everlasting Hell! Our salvation must be by faith in Christ.

There really is a Hell! . . . http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_hell_is_it_there.htm

Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (KJV)

Who was delivered for our offenses . . . Who was delivered up to death . . . on a horrendous cross, as a Sacrifice for our sins. (Isaiah 53:10; Eph.5:2).

And was raised again for our justification . . . Christ was raised that we might have the fullest assurance that the death of Christ had accomplished the end for which it took place: our reconciliation to God, and giving us eternal life.

#1. The death of Christ was an atonement or expiation for the sin of the world: For him hath God set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His Blood, Romans 3:25. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly, Romans 5:6. And when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, Romans 5:10. In Whom we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of sins, Ephesians 1:7. Christ hath loved us, and given himself for us, an Offering and a Sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour, Ephesians 5:2. In Whom we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of sins, Col.1:14. And having made peace through the Blood of His cross, in the Body of His Flesh, through death, Col.1:20, 22. Who gave Himself a ransom for all, 1 Tim.2:6. Who gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, Titus 2:14. By which will we are sanctified, through the Offering of the Body of Jesus Christ, Heb.10:10. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, Heb.9:28. See also Eph.2:13,16; 1 Pet.1:18-19; Rev.5:9. These are just a few Passages from the New Testament that refer to this most important and glorious truth.

#2. And as His death was an atonement for our sins, so His resurrection was the proof and pledge of our eternal life. See 1 Cor.15:17; 1 Pet.1:3; Eph.1:13, 14, etc.

#3. The doctrine of justification by faith, is one of the grandest displays of the mercy of God to mankind. It is so very clear that all may comprehend it; and so free that all may attain it.

We ALL are sinners, condemned to an eternal Hell, and utterly unable to save our own soul. But, God, in His mercy, has provided a Saviour for us.

Jesus Christ has redeemed our life by giving up His own; dying in our place, thus making amends to God for OUR transgressions; and offers us the pardon he has purchased, on the simple condition, that we believe that His death is a sufficient Sacrifice for our sin; and that we bring it by confident faith, to the throne of God, and plead it in our own behalf there. Our faith in Jesus' Sacrifice shall be imputed to us for righteousness (1 Cor.1:30). Our believing God and our faith in Jesus' sacrifice gives us that salvation which Christ has bought by His precious Blood (1 Pet.1:18-19).

The Book of Romans

Ch.1 . Ch.2 . Ch.3 . Ch.4 . Ch.5 . Ch.6 . Ch.7 . Ch.8 . Ch.9 . Ch.10 . Ch.11 . Ch.12 . Ch.13 . Ch.14 . Ch.15 . Ch.16

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