Romans 4:1-5 [6-1-11]


[Verses 1-5]




Romans 3:19-24, 27-31) [NIV] Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.

QUESTION: What’s the conclusion the Apostle comes to here?

ANSWER: The Law of Moses condemns the Jews as sinners.

20) [NIV] Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

QUESTION: What is the Apostle doing here?

ANSWER: After spending much time in the “where they were,” he is now taking them to the “where he wants them to be.”

QUESTION: What is Paul’s bold statement here?

ANSWER: The Law has never made anyone righteous.

21) [NIV] But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

22) [NIV] This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

QUESTION: What’s Paul doing here?

ANSWER: He’s arriving at his intended destination. Here it is:

23) [NIV] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

QUESTION: What’s the point here?

ANSWER: We are all in need of this righteous/right relationship with God because we have all sinned.

24) [NIV] and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

QUESTION: What does Paul show us in verses 23-24?

ANSWER: We are all sinners, but have been declared right with God as a result of Jesus having paid our penalty for sin. This declaration by God Himself in the courtroom of Heaven is made to all who trust the Lord Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior.

27) [NIV] Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith.

28) [NIV] For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

QUESTION: What point is the above passage making?

ANSWER: Since we are justified as a result of what Jesus did, and not as a result of anything we have done, we have absolutely no right to boast.

29) [NIV] Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too,

30) [NIV] since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.

31) [NIV] Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

Romans 3:20) [NIV] Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

QUESTION: How does the plan of salvation “uphold the law”?

ANSWER: The purpose of the Law was for us to “become conscious of sin.” When we go to Jesus for salvation it’s because we are “conscious” of our need for a Savior because we are aware that we are sinners. The Law brought that awareness.

On To This Week’s Lesson:

Romans 4:1-5) [NIV] What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2) [NIV] If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about-but not before God.

Concerning “but not before God,”

“If Abraham was justified by his works, he might boast of his own merits. But he has no ground of boasting before God. Therefore he was not justified by works” [Calvin, quoted by Barnes].

Romans 3:27) [NIV] Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith.

QUESTION: What is Paul doing here?

ANSWER: He is underlining Romans 3:27. He claims that no man can brag about his righteous standing with God. To illustrate that point Paul now turns to the example of Abraham.

QUESTION: What’s another thing we can learn from verse 2?

ANSWER: It might appear easy to brag about your righteousness before your fellow man, because we get diluted into thinking that righteousness by comparison judges me to be a pretty good fellow. But how are we going to brag about our righteousness to God? He sees all the filth in our hearts. Calvin concludes that if we can’t brag about our righteous before God, then we have nothing to brag about before man.

3) [NIV] What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”  

4) [NIV] Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.

5) [NIV] However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

NOTE: Paul continues to utilize the example of Abraham to make his point.

QUESTION: What’s Paul’s message to any believer who feels righteous as a result of his/her actions?

ANSWER: If you were righteous because of the purity of your heart and actions, then God owes you Heaven; salvation isn’t a gift.

QUESTION: Whom does God justify?

ANSWER: He “justifies the wicked.”

QUESTION: What happens when we put our faith in that God?

ANSWER: Our “faith is credited as righteousness” to our account in Heaven.

James 2:14-26) [GW] My brothers and sisters, what good does it do if someone claims to have faith but doesn’t do any good things? Can this kind of faith save him?

15) [GW] Suppose a believer, whether a man or a woman, needs clothes or food

16) [GW] and one of you tells that person, “God be with you! Stay warm, and make sure you eat enough.” If you don’t provide for that person’s physical needs, what good does it do?

17) [GW] In the same way, faith by itself is dead if it doesn’t cause you to do any good things.

18) [GW] Another person might say, “You have faith, but I do good things.” Show me your faith apart from the good things you do. I will show you my faith by the good things I do.

19) [GW] You believe that there is one God. That’s fine! The demons also believe that, and they tremble with fear.

20) [GW] You fool! Do you have to be shown that faith which does nothing is useless?

21) [GW] Didn’t our ancestor Abraham receive God’s approval as a result of what he did when he offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice on the altar?

22) [GW] You see that Abraham’s faith and what he did worked together. His faith was shown to be genuine by what he did.

23) [GW] The Scripture passage came true. It says, “Abraham believed God, and that faith was regarded by God to be his approval of Abraham.” So Abraham was called God’s friend.

24) [GW] You see that a person receives God’s approval because of what he does, not only because of what he believes.

25) [GW] The same is true of the prostitute Rahab who welcomed the spies and sent them away on another road. She received God’s approval because of what she did.

26) [GW] A body that doesn’t breathe is dead. In the same way faith that does nothing is dead.

QUESTION: Who’s telling the truth about faith, Paul or James?

ANSWER: Both! Paul is talking about works of the Law; James is talking about living out what you believe.

QUESTION: How many of us are currently walking by faith?

ANSWER: Every one of us! We all walk out what we believe.

QUESTION: In what way do you walk by faith; i.e., walk out what you believe?

ANSWER: Politics! What you think of yourself! What you think of others! What you think is safe!

Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church