ROMANS, CHAPTER 4
Romans 4: 12) [NIV] And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
QUESTION: Why does Paul bring out the timing of the declaration by God of Abraham being declared righteous compared to the timing of his circumcision?
ANSWER: Moses, the giver of the Law, was a descendent of Abraham. Therefore, Abraham lived prior to the Law. The command of God that Abraham be circumcised was later to become a part of the Law for all Jewish males. God commanded them to be circumcised as well. Consequently, Abraham had the beginning of the Law in the commandment to be circumcised. In other words, to all his Jewish readers, circumcision represented the Law. Paul wants to show those readers that God pronounced Abraham righteous before He commanded Him to be circumcised.
QUESTION: Was that a coincidence that Paul sought to take advantage of?
ANSWER: No! As we will see at the conclusion of this chapter, God had you in mind the whole time.
13) [NIV] It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.
14) [NIV] For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless,
15) [NIV] because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
16) [NIV] Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring-not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.
QUESTION: Why did God devise a system that depended on His promise, and not our Law keeping?
ANSWER: It was the only way to guarantee our salvation.
QUESTION: Why do I say that?
ANSWER: We can’t keep the Law! God can, and God will, keep His promise!
On To This Week’s Lesson:
Romans 4:17-25) [NIV] As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed-the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
QUESTION: Was Abraham the father of many nations?
ANSWER: Keturah, Abraham’s last wife, gave birth to six boys. Genesis 25:1-4 tells us that Jokshan, a son of Keturah was the ancestor of the Assyrians, and Midian, another son of Keturah, was the ancestor of the Midianites. Ismael, Hagar’s son was the ancestor of many of the Arab nations. Esau, Abraham’s grandson, was the ancestor of the Edomites, and some say, Turkey, and the Palestinians.
- Jokshan – Assyrians;
- Midian – Midianites;
- Esau – Edomites,
- Esau – Turkey,
- Esau – Palestinians;
- Ismael – Saudi Arabia;
- Ismael – Iraq;
- Ismael – Iran;
- Ismael – Jordan;
- Isaac – Israel;
- Isaac – the Church.
NOTE: I don’t know if this is an exact representation of the descendents of Abraham, but it is an example of what they might be. The purpose is simply to show that Abraham is the father of many nations.
(GNB) as the scripture says, “I have made you father of many nations.” So the promise is good in the sight of God, in whom Abraham believed—the God who brings the dead to life and whose command brings into being what did not exist.
QUESTION: What can our God do?
ANSWER: He can resurrect the dead, and He can speak something into existence that wasn’t there.
18) [NIV] Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
(CEV) God promised Abraham a lot of descendants. And when it all seemed hopeless, Abraham still had faith in God and became the ancestor of many nations.
19) [NIV] Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-since he was about a hundred years old-and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.
20) [NIV] Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,
21) [NIV] being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
QUESTION: What are the two reasons that Abraham should have quit believing?
ANSWER: 1) He was almost 100 years old, and thought “his body was as good as dead.”
2) Sarah’s womb was dead.
NOTE: Sarah had always been barren, but now she was past the age to have children.
QUESTION: Why didn’t he waver in his faith?
ANSWER: God strengthened Abraham’s faith causing him to be “fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”
QUESTION: Why was Abraham’s faith so much stronger than our faith?
ANSWER: It wasn’t! It took Abraham a 25-year journey to reach this steadfastness.
NOTE: It was a journey, but he did reach that point where he unwaveringly believed God. Even after those 25 years “God strengthened Abraham’s faith.” It still took God’s intervention. He was as feeble as we are.
22) [NIV] This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
QUESTION: What was the result of his believing God in a seemingly hopeless case?
ANSWER: God “credited” his faith “to him as righteousness.”
(BBE) For which reason it was put to his account as righteousness.
(CEV) So God accepted him,
(GNB) That is why Abraham, through faith, “was accepted as righteous by God.”
(GW) That is why his faith was regarded as God’s approval of him.
(MSG) That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.”
Genesis 15:6) [NIV] Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
23) [NIV] The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone,
24) [NIV] but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness-for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
QUESTION: What is this verse telling us?
ANSWER: Way back when the Holy Spirit was giving the Genesis account to Moses by Divine inspiration, and He had Moses record those words, “he credited it to him as righteousness,” HE HAD YOU IN MIND!
QUESTION: Who did He have in mind?
ANSWER: He had all believers in mind, all of us who have put our faith in the One Who raised Jesus, our Lord, from the dead.
QUESTION: What is this passage telling us?
ANSWER: It’s telling us that when we trust Jesus to be our Savior God accepts us as right with Him.
25) [NIV] He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
QUESTION: What is this verse telling us?
ANSWER: Jesus faced the wrath of God for our sins, and when He stepped out of that tomb it was settled; ALL WHO TRUST GOD WILL BE DECLARED RIGHT WITH HIM!
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church