Romans Chapter 4 Continued
Romans 4:14 “For if they which are of the law [be] heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:”
We see the law is totally different from the justification by faith that came from Abraham. Abraham was not promised to bless all nations through the law which was given to just one nation, (Israel) but the promise came through faith. His seed that we have mentioned so many times before in these lessons is all the believers in Christ.
Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:29 “And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
If only those who perfectly keep the law, (an impossibility) receive the promise, faith has no value. Making a promise contingent on an impossible condition nullifies the promise.
You can easily see, if you can see heirship by work, it would not be by promise. Law is exacting and must be obeyed to the letter, but the grace of Jesus Christ leaves opportunity for repentance and new life. Abraham did not earn the right, he believed God and that was enough. God wants us to trust Him.
Actually Abraham’s promise from God was two fold. He was promised in the physical the Promised Land (Israel). In the spirit these promises went much further. The promise of the spirit was not of this earth, but for the Promised Land (heaven) for all who believe.
Romans 4:15 “Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, [there is] no transgression.”
How can you break a law, if there is no law? If you break the law (that you are living under), you will be punished (wrath). If there is no law, you are not punished. (There are no laws written down on paper for Christians). God’s laws are written in our heart. We are pardoned by the blood of Jesus Christ.
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,”
The power of justification is God’s great grace, not man’s faith.
The following Scripture speaks of this grace I Corinthians 1:4 “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;”
Grace (unmerited favor) was offered to each of us (not because we were worthy) but because God loved us each one.
2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
Just the love of God provided Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord for each of us. Our obligation is to reach out and receive this gift of grace in Jesus Christ. This scripture is just saying that this is talking not only of the believing Jews, but to the believing Gentiles (which is of the faith of Abraham).
Romans 4:17 “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, [even] God, who quickened the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.”
This Scripture has been greatly misunderstood by many.
In verse 19 you will see that Abraham experienced this first hand.
“And calleth those things which be not as though they were” is another reference to the forensic nature of justification. God can declare believing sinners to be righteous even though they are not, by imputing His righteousness to them, just as God made or declared Jesus “sin” and punished Him, though he was not a sinner. Those whom He justifies, He will conform to the image of His Son.
Many nations could not be just Israel. Israel is just one nation. This Scripture is speaking of the Jew and Gentile. The Gentiles were not, because they were heathen people. Through Jesus they are the family of God, which they had not been previously.
Here is the definition of quickened which I found might help to understand what this is saying, especially when we look at verse 19. “Quickening” – the process of showing signs of life; “the quickening of seed that will become ripe grain”
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.”
When the promise was given to Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, it seemed impossible. Here he and his wife Sarah were very old people and have never had any children. For a person who thought with a carnal mind this would be an impossibility. Sarah had passed the age of women to have children.
Abraham did not listen to the carnal mind, but believed all things were possible with God. His faith in God and nothing else completed his righteousness to God.
God honored his great faith and gave him a son by Sarah (Isaac). Isaac was the beginning of the promise that Abraham was to become father of many nations.
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 Sarah’s womb:”
You see Abraham did not think with his carnal mind. He knew all things were possible with God. God had created him in the beginning and he knew God could restore his and Sarah’s youth enough that they could bring forth a child.
(All men have their measure of faith.) Abraham had great faith beyond the measure each man requires. He believed so strongly, he became known as the father of the faithful.
Romans 4:20 “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;”
Jesus’ own words. Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Abraham knew in his heart that nothing was impossible to God. His faith was not of this world, but in God.
Romans 4:21 “And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”
Abraham knew whatever God said he would do, He was perfectly capable of doing.
Believing God affirms His existence and character and thus gives Him glory.
Romans 4:22 “And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.”
“Therefore”: Meaning because of his genuine faith.
Righteousness is not earned but received by faith. We are made righteous in God’s sight when we are washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Romans 4:23 “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;”
This just means that not only is faith full payment for Abraham’s righteousness, but any one who has faith in Jesus Christ is counted righteous, as well.
All scripture has universal application, and Abraham’s experience is no exception. If Abraham was justified by his faith, then all others are justified on the same basis.
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;”
Look at Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
This leaves absolutely no doubt what it takes to be saved.
Romans 4:25 “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
Jesus was without sin. He was innocent of all sin. He took our sins on his body and paid our penalty in full. I should have been crucified. My sins help put Jesus on the cross.
1 Corinthians 15:3 “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;”
Isaiah 53:5 “But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
Jesus bought us and paid for us with his own precious blood. Our salvation lies in him.
Romans Chapter 4 Continued Questions
1. In verse 14, faith is made void and the promise of none effect if who be heirs?
2. Who was the law given to?
3. How many nations does it consist of?
4. Who are Abraham’s seed?
5. Where do you find the Scripture that tells who Abraham’s seed are?
6. What is the physical Promised Land?
7. What is the spiritual Promised Land?
8. We find in verse 15 that the law worketh what?
9. If there is no law, there is no ___________.
10. Where are God’s laws written for the Christians?
11. In verse 16, it is of faith that it might be of_________.
12. Who is the father of all who believe?
13. How was the grace of God given us?
14. What is grace?
15. Why did God offer us this grace?
16. When was this grace provided for us?
17. Who quickeneth?
18. What two Scriptures speak of the resurrection?
19. In verse 18, was it the written or spoken Word which brought this about?.
20. Why did it seem impossible for Abraham to be father of many?
21. Who was the beginning of the promise fulfilled in?
22. About how old was Abraham when Isaac was born?
23. Who did Abraham give glory to?
24. In Matthew chapter 19 verse 26, what does Jesus teach us about God?
25. What was imputed to Abraham for righteousness?
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