Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 78)

Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, ‘I have made you a father of many nations’) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:16-22

The Apostle Paul was one of the great intellects of the ancient world. God used Him to expand the Church in the Roman Empire and write almost half of the New Testament. Paul spent almost as much time in prison as he did preaching and teaching in cities and villages, but did not waver from his Heavenly calling.

Paul’s letter to Christians in Rome is thought by many scholars to be his most powerful writing. The apostle used his great intellect and the supernatural gifts God gave him to  communicate clearly to Jews and Gentiles the truth that salvation is by grace through faith alone.

We continue our study of Romans 4 with verse 16. If you have not read the commentary on Romans 4:13-15, we invite you to do that for the context of this new study.

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Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 77)

For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.” Romans 4:13-15

The Apostle Paul has made some powerful points about righteousness, justification, the Law, and faith. We’ve most recently seen insights to these truths from the lives of Abraham and David.

In today’s study we’ll see how God’s promise to Abraham, that affects both Jews and Gentiles, is granted through faith.

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Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 76)

What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin. Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.’ How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.” Roman 4:1-12

In our last study (verses 1-5) we saw how the Apostle Paul introduced the great patriarch Abraham into his (Paul’s) presentation about justification by faith in God rather than works of the flesh. In this new study we will see what we can learn from the life of David, the great king of Israel, and more about Abraham.

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Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 74)

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” Romans 3:27-31

In the last part of our study we looked at Romans 3:26 – “to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

We move now to the next section which focuses on the exclusion of boasting.

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Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 73)

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26

In the last part of our study, we looked at verse 25 where Paul wrote – “whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.” We saw that there is a “righteousness of God apart from the law” and that is connected to the death of Jesus Christ on a Roman cross almost two-thousand years ago.

Why did God do that? What was His purpose?

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Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 71)

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26

These have to be some of the most hopeful verses in all of Scripture, especially in light of what Paul had written previously –

“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20

Paul wrote that Jews and Gentiles were both condemned and faced the awesome justice of an Almighty God. Then Paul wrote – “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed.” 

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Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 70)

We are currently looking at Romans 3 as the Apostle Paul asked and answered several questions about accusations against his teaching. They included –

  • Paul’s teaching impugns God’s covenant with Israel (3:1-2)
  • Paul’s teaching impugns God’s faithfulness (3:3-4)
  • Paul’s teaching impugns God’s justice (3:5-6)
  • Paul’s teaching impugns God’s truth (3:7-8)

In the next part of our study we will look at another pair of questions and answers that contain some of the most powerful of God’s accusations against the human race.

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