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Romans Chapter 4 


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Romans 4

Abraham as our role model
What then shall we say about Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 What did the scripture say: And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that works, the reward is not reckoned as of grace, but as of debt. 5 But to him that works not, but believes in Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness. 6 Even as David pronounces blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works, saying: 7 Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not count sin. 9 Is this blessing then pronounced upon the circumcision, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say, to Abraham his faith was counted as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted? 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 those who believe, though they be in uncircumcision, that righteousness might be counted to them also. 12 And the father of circumcision to those who are not only of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had whilst he was uncircumcised.
   13 For the promise to Abraham and his seed, that he should be heir of the world, did not come through the law- 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 no power. 15 For the law works anger; but where there is no law, neither is there transgression. 16 Therefore 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 you) before Him whom he believed, God, who gives life to the dead, and called 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 what had been spoken: So shall your seed be. 19 And without being weakened in faith when he considered his own body, now as good as dead (he being about one hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb; 20 but instead, looking to the promise of God, he did not waver through unbelief, but grew strong through faith, giving glory to God, 21 and became fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore also it was counted to him for righteousness.
   23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was counted to him; 24 but for our sake also, to whom it shall be counted, who believe in Him that raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 Who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification.



4:7 Blessed are they- The Psalm being quoted is David’s reflections about his sin with Bathsheba, and he is reflecting how he personally is blessed with the blessing of forgiveness by grace- seeing there was no sacrifice prescribed to cover the sins of adultery and murder which he had committed. The change of pronoun from “he” [referring to David personally] to “they” shows that David’s situation is typical of that of us all. He was ‘every man’; his forgiveness and salvation by grace, and his humble response in praise and zeal to God and people, becomes our pattern.

4:12 Abraham’s faith is our pattern; his faith was in the promises which were made to him. Those promises are effectively the same as the good news of the Kingdom which we also must believe- eternal life, inheritance of the earth, the blessing of forgiveness, and God as his personal God. In this sense the Christian Gospel was preached to Abraham (Gal. 3:8).

4:13 The promises to Abraham were that he would inherit “the land” of Canaan; but here they are extended to include the whole planet.

4:17 This is why the Bible often speaks of things which don’t yet exist as if they do; God in that sense is outside of linear time as we know it. Therefore we read of the believers and also of Jesus as if they existed at the beginning of the world, even though literally they didn’t.

4:19 Abraham was impotent yet he still believed that somehow he would produce a child.