A Series of Short Exposes on Faith: Romans

Let’s now move back to Paul talking specifically about the Father of Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith, Abraham, and opening Romans 4 with

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

In other words, what do we learn from Abraham the father of the faith and what he discovered in his flesh?  Then he adds at verse 2

2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

Meaning, if Abraham was found justified before God by his own efforts and labors, by the presence of a law and then his obedience to it, he would have the right to glory in his own strength and merit but it would not be glorying before God for nothing can glory in His presence. (1st Corinthians 1:29)

Have you ever thought of that?  People sometimes believe that they can or will stand before God and glory in the lives they have lived and the choices they have made?  That is not gonna happen.   I suggest that anyone and anything that has a genuine confrontation with the living God will wind-up flat on their face in humility. That is the reaction all of those in the scripture who encountered Him.  (verse 3)

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

“Counted unto him for righteousness” means Abram was justified by God as righteous because he believed Him.   Had faith in promises unproven, unfulfilled, and unseen.  So far, we have discovered various biblical proofs that suggest God cannot be pleased by anything but faith (which must be willingly chosen by his human creations) and that when it is chosen, it is counted to us as righteousness in His eyes.

That’s pretty significant.  Of all the things men and women do in their lives to apparently please God all of such must be founded in faith for it is faith that justifies us before Him.  Then Paul ties works (of the flesh, of obedience to Laws, and of various labors) to debt, and not grace, saying

4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

The meaning is if we labor for someone, let’s say an employer, when the work is done the employer owes us for the work completed or as Paul puts it, our labor places our employed in our debt!  But the idea of putting God in our debt through work or labor is ridiculous and even insidious.  How can a created being put the one who have created them, given them life, blessed them and provided for them, put Him in their debt?  They can’t.  This simple line therefore proves that faith is not a work that earns us something.  It does not earns us God’s grace.  His grace is still grace, meaning it is not earned.  We cannot earn a gift. It is either a gift or it is merited. God bestows His benevolent amazing grace on those through the faith they possess, which might be seen as a qualifier for grace but cannot be seen as a work that causes Him to be indebted to us.

Think of faith this way – it is like someone choosing to believe in their heart that there is a place called the Magic Kingdom, though they have never seen it in life or otherwise.  And somehow Disney knows when people choose to believe in it and then blesses them with a lifetime access without cost for anything – admittance, food, rides, souvenirs.  A little Guatemalan child simply believes in the Kingdom’s existence and somehow the Kingdom overabundantly bestows its grace upon him or her.

His Grace not owed, it’s a gift from Him but it must be received in the lives of those who desire entrance into His Kingdom.  Its bestowed freely to all who have chosen to have faith in the promises He is offering!  It sounds like indebtedness, but it is more of a qualifier and when present He decides to bestow His abundant grace.   This is all based on the biblical edicts that a human being cannot earn God’s grace, it is a gift that is received through faith which serves to qualify us, meaning we have to believe it to receive it but what we receive is so incomprehensible that it can only be described as His abundant grace.

Paul takes the example of Abraham and what is said in Genesis 15:6 and adds even more insight to the concept at verse 5, saying

5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

That is all we are doing – believing that God has fully justified the ungodly through the works of His Son (this in one of God’s promises) and not in or through our own works, and in and through this confidence and trust we choose to place on Him, we are saved by His abundant grace and not ever through works of supposed righteousness.

6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Then Paul, speaking of the Jews, asks

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.

This is a set up question which Paul gives as a means to now address, saying

10 How was it (being seen as righteous or justified before God) then reckoned? when he (Abraham) was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? (And he answers) 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 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. 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. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 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, 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.  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. 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: 20 He staggered not at the promise of Godthrough unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

And having explained all of this through Abraham, Paul summarizes the message by saying

23  Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believeon him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

And so, we see that by our faith on Himthat raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead that we too are justified. These principles are set.  We are fully justified before God by His grace through the faith we choose to live by and possess.

Shawn McCraney
Shawn McCraney
Articles: 108

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