THE EPISTLE OF ROMANS - Part 6 of 15 – Romans 3:27 to 4:22
Paul, as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, is declaring the gospel in the book of Romans. His style of writing includes much logic and argument and is similar to how a lawyer builds a case before a jury. Paul whittles down each opposing position, often employing the use of rhetorical questions, before establishing his point. The main point we see Paul argue or promote is that God’s righteousness has been imparted to man (by man’s believing or faith) through the works or accomplishments of Jesus the Christ and not through the works of man’s flesh (the Law of Moses)
This point of righteousness by faith is opposed by two main points addressed in Romans:
- The Jews are a special people to God because of their blood-line
- Being made Righteousness depends upon the keeping of the Law of Moses
These two opposing points are whittled down throughout the book of Romans as they are addressed systematically by the Apostle Paul.
The righteousness of God has now been clearly revealed in chapters 1-3. The righteousness of God comes from God as the source, not from bloodline or from our abilities to keep a standard of doctrines or the precepts of men, morality, a code of ethics, etc. Righteousness is being right, flawless, and perfect, the way man ought to be before a just God. When we believe the message of the faith, we are made the righteousness which comes from God – 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Here are examples of the logic Paul used in asking questions and then answering them to make his points: In the following some logical questions are brought up and answered.
“Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By one of works? No, on the contrary, by a law of faith. 28 For we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law. 29 Or is God for Jews only? Is He not also for Gentiles? Yes, for Gentiles too, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised (the Jews) by faith and the uncircumcised (the other nations) through faith. 31 Do we then cancel the law through [this] faith? Absolutely not! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” (HCSB)
- It’s all about believing the message.
- No room for boasting because God’s righteousness rests upon Jesus Christ’s work, not ours: 1Corinthians 1:30-31, 2Corinthians 10:17, Luke 14:11.
- One is justified by faith regarding Christ, not by works of law (the keeping of any outward standard).
- Verse 31: Do we make the law of no effect? Do we devalue it, render it useless? Absolutely not. Instead, we uphold the law. We maintain it, establish it, give it its proper place, we confirm it. Law gets established in us who believe: See Romans 8:4, 13:10, Hebrews 8:8-13.
“What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (ESV)
- The key point to understand in this section is “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” used in three verses in this chapter: 3, 9 and 22.
- Verses 6-8 are quoted from Psalm 32:1-2. Do we realize how blessed we are having been made the righteousness of God?
- In verse 8 is the word count. It means to add up the facts to calculate a conclusion.
Like a lawyer, the apostle Paul continues to build the case for Christ and it is against all arguments. The beginning of this following section is necessary because Romans 3:20 and 3:29 aren’t believed. Many still thought that the keeping of the Law was their ticket to righteousness and that God was only the God of the Jews. We will address the key points pertinent to the gospel.
“9 Is this blessing then pronounced upon the *circumcision, or upon the *uncircumcision also? for we say, To Abraham his faith was reckoned for righteousness. 10 How then was it reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision: 11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while he was in uncircumcision; that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be in uncircumcision, that righteousness might be reckoned unto them; 12 and the father of circumcision to them who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham which he had in uncircumcision. 13 For not through the law was the promise to Abraham or to his seed that he should be heir of the world, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they that are of the law are heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of none effect: 15 for the law worketh wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there transgression. 16 For this cause [it is] of faith, that [it may be] according to grace; to the end that the promise may 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 17 (as it is written, A father of many nations have I made thee) before him whom he believed, [even] God, who giveth life to the dead, and calleth the things that are not, as though they were. (ASV)
- v. 13 With Abraham we who believe are heirs of this world. This was the promise.
- v. 17 Abraham *believed. Abraham believed God who giveth life to the dead, and calleth the things that are not, as though they were. [calls the things that do not exist as existing] See Genesis 22:1-18.
“And it came to pass after these things, that God did prove Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham; and he said, Here am I. 2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt–offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. 3 And Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he clave the wood for the burnt–offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship, and come again to you. 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt–offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and the knife; and they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold, the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt–offering? 8 And Abraham said, God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt–offering, my son: so they went both of them together. 9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built the altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11 And the angel of Jehovah called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here I am. 12 And he said, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me. 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, behind [him] a ram caught in the thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt–offering in the stead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah–jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of Jehovah it shall be provided. 15 And the angel of Jehovah called unto Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said, By myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, 17 that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18 and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (ASV)
Abraham obeyed the voice of God. What has God’s voice told us in Romans?... A righteousness of God has been revealed to man freely because of the redemptive work of Jesus the Christ. Jesus Christ was the propitiation (the satisfactory payment) for every unrighteous and ungodly act of everyone. Now the righteous ones by faith (out of the source of faith), not by works, shall have life!!! This is the basic message to be believed.
(as it is written, A father of many nations have I made thee) before him whom he believed, [even] God, who giveth life to the dead, and calleth the things that are not, as though they were. 18 Who in hope believed against hope, to the end that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And without being weakened in faith he considered his own body now as good as dead (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, looking unto the promise of God, he wavered not through unbelief, but waxed strong through faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 Wherefore also it was reckoned unto him for righteousness.” (ASV)
Verses 19-21 give us a pattern for believing.
- Abraham considered the facts, but without becoming weakened in faith because he weighed them against the promises of God.
- He didn’t waver, doubt, vacillate regarding the promise of God – what God said.
- He increased in strength giving glory to God. He boasted in God. God, you said I would be a father of many nations. You promised me that all nations would be blessed through me. Therefore, I have to have a son as you promised. Abraham spoke the promises of God because that is what he believed: 2 Corinthians 4:13.
- Four things which God gave to Abraham to strengthen him in faith were:
- God changed his name to Abraham, meaning father of a multitude. Genesis 17:5
- God told him to circumcise himself. Genesis 17:11
- God said, Your seed will be like the stars of heaven. Genesis 15:5
- God said, Your seed will be like the sand on the seashore. Genesis 22:17
being fully assured, completely assured, absolutely convinced.
Abraham believed what God said. This is why righteousness was credited to him. This is what God wants, that we would believe Him.
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As believers we believe God. We received our new life in Christ by faith and we walk in it by faith. We allow what God says is true about us to be that which determines how we see ourselves and each other.
We will be seeing in this series that God is the same powerful and delivering God that we read about in the Old Testament. All the promises of God find their “yes” and “amen” in Jesus Christ....