A Guide to Romans Bible Study and Romans Commentary || Chapter 4
Chapter 3 ends on the note saying that it is the law of faith that enables us to fulfill the law and Chapter 4 encompasses GRACE. So far, Paul has pointed out the fact that salvation is by faith and faith alone, he talks about the ungodly nature of men who have chosen to have reprobate minds and how God has given them up to their reprobate minds. In Chapter 3, we see Paul talk of 2 categories of people; the Jews and the Gentiles. The Jews were the people whom God had given the laws and told His promise, for this they felt like a special kind of people, judging others and being hypocritical. The second set of people, the Gentiles, were the ones who did not know or serve God and were regarded as outsiders and not God’s people. But Paul tells us that all the people, Jew or non-Jew had all fallen short of the glory of God, none was good and all needed saving. And this salvation could only come through faith and not works. In Chapter 4, he uses 2 examples to support his statement, Abraham and David.
ROMANS CHAPTER 4 STUDY AND COMMENTARY
4:1– Abraham was the father of the Jews. Christians, Jews and Muslims today trace their origin from Abraham, through faith and ancestry. And Paul asks, “what does Abraham have according to the flesh?” Meaning, what works can Abraham boast of?
4:2-3– It says if Abraham was justified by works, he could boast before God. Abraham was a rich man and honoured God in so many ways but this wasn’t what made him righteous. According to Scriptures, his belief in God made him righteous (Genesis 15:6).
4:4– When a worker works, he is expected to be paid for what he has done. But the righteousness of God comes by faith, we can’t work for it because it is free. It isn’t something earned but it is freely given, so there is no amount of work done that could merit a “free gift”. Grace is this free gift.
4:5-8– Righteousness is by faith in God who justifies the ungodly, just like David said in Psalms 31:1&2,
“Blesses are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”Psalms 31:1-2 NLT
David was talking about the man in Christ; the one saved by grace through faith. And when he said blessed is the man whom the Lord will not impute sin, he talks about a forever here.
Most Christians have the concept that the sins they committed before they professed faith in Christ were forgiven at salvation, but any sins that are committed after that time are not forgiven until they are repented of and forgiveness is asked. That is not the case. All our sins–past, present, and future–were forgiven through the one offering of Jesus. If God can’t forgive future-tense sins, then none of us can be saved, because Jesus only died once, nearly 2,000 years ago, before we had committed any sins. All our sins have been forgiven. Why, then, 1 John 1:9? “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is not speaking of the eternal salvation of our spirits but rather the salvation of our souls (James 1:21 and 1 Peter 1:9). It’s our spirits that become born again at salvation, and sin will never be imputed to our born-again spirits. They have been sanctified and perfected forever (Hebrews 10:10, 14; and 12:23) and cannot sin (1 John 3:9). However, we are still in the process of saving our souls (James 1:21 and 1 Peter 1:9). When we sin, the devil has a legal right to bring his forms of death into our soulish area (Romans 6:16). How do we get the devil out once he has gotten in? We confess it, and God brings out into the soulish realm that forgiveness that is already a reality in our born-again spirits, and the devil has no right to stay. If we had to confess every sin committed after our born-again experience in order to maintain our salvation, no one would ever make it. What if we forgot to confess some sin? That puts the burden of salvation back on us. We must remember that “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24), and we must worship Him through our new born-again spirits. Therefore, we truly are blessed because God will not hold any sin against our spirits. Our spirits are clean and pure (Ephesians 4:24, Hebrews 12:23, and 1 John 4:17) and will not change due to our performance.
Culled from Andrew Wommack Ministries
4:9-10– If faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness while he was yet still uncircumcised, then this righteousness is surely not for the circumcised alone but for both the circumcised and uncircumcised; Jew and Greek. The time when God counted Abraham righteous took place in Genesis 15:6, before the birth of Ishmael (Genesis 16:15). Abraham circumcised Ishmael the same day that he was circumcised (Genesis 17:26), and Genesis 17:25 says that took place when Ishmael was thirteen years old. Therefore, the circumcision of Abraham was at least thirteen years and nine months after his justification by faith in Genesis 15:6.
4:11-12– The sign of circumcision was a seal of righteousness of faith which Abraham already had before been circumcised. This seal was a reminder of his covenant with God and it was a private act, as it wasn’t shown publicly if one was circumcised or not. And now, the Holy Spirit is the seal of righteousness to the man in Christ. Therefore, circumcision being a private act was never meant to be the judge of a man’s righteousness.
4:13– God’s promise to Abraham was that Abraham would be the father of many nations. This promise was not intended to Abraham’s seed alone through the law i.e, it wasn’t for the Jews alone. It was through righteousness by faith that Abraham has become the father of many nations.
4:14-15– The law of works and law of faith cannot co-exist, it is always one without the other. Law of works get no one saved, if so the promise God made to Abraham is made void. The law of works was given to point us to how helpless we are and it brought about the wrath of God; where there is no law, there is no transgression. Our helplessness points us towards salvation, hence we’re under grace through the law of faith and there is no transgression henceforth to those who believe.
4:16-18– Since righteousness is by faith and according to grace (unmerited favour), the seed of Abraham, both those under the law and those not under the law are all called to salvation. And it was written that Abraham was made the father of many nations as he had hope in God, even when there was no hope of bearing a child, and God said, “so shall your descendants be.” The descendants of the father of many nations will have faith accounted to them as righteousness just like their father.
4:19-22– Abraham believed God so much that he did not take into account the “deadness” of his body or that of Sarah’s womb, seeing that they were already old. His faith is God was tenacious and he was fully convinced that God would do what He had promised. This unwavering faith in God is what made him righteous. This is the type of faith we should emulate today; a strong unwavering faith like Abraham’s, even in circumstances where it seems like there’s no hope. Remember Romans 8:28– “All things are working together for good for them that love God and are called according to His purpose.”
4:23-25– Paul assures us that this righteousness imputed on Abraham because of his faith will be imputed on us also if we believe in Him who raised Jesus Christ from the dead, who was delivered up for our offenses and raised because of our justification.
End Note: Romans Chapter 4 really teaches us about the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It really edifies and blesses, and reminds us of God’s goodness and faithfulness. How He has brought us from under the law to grace, forever and ever.
CHECK THESE OUT ALSO:
- How To Study The Bible
- Romans Chapter 1 Study and Commentary
- Romans Chapter 2&3 Study and Commentary
- Tenacious Faith
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