Monday 19 February 2024

R O M A N S  4 v 13-25

In the earlier verses of   this Chapter, Paul has been writing that according to Scripture, becoming righteous in the eyes of God us a natter not of works or merit, but of faith and therefore of grace. It had nothing to do with circumcision, Abraham was  declared to be righteous long  before he was circumcised,

Abraham was recognized as the father and spiritual  leader of all true believers.  God made a promise to Abraham that he would become a great nation, and that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed . In truth, the earth would be given to him as an inheritance.

As Jews saw it, the promise to Abraham was given because he was considered as a man of faith in God, and it was a result of faith that righteousness was credited to him,  Works had nothing to do with the fulfilment,  Obedience to the law was not in the discussion. for the promise was made to Abraham many years before the law was given

Abraham received this promise, that he would be the heir of the world, that is a gift from God he would obtain the world.

The Jews were asking, how can a man enter into a relationship with God, so that he can inherit such great promise.  The answer was not that of winning, earning, by merit,  Paul saw the Jewish attitude completely destroy the promise.  No one can completely obey the law, no one ever lived such a perfect life, or never transgressed the law, therefore if the promise depended on keeping the law, the promise would never be fulfilled.

Paul always saw things as black or white.  He saw there was one only way of getting into a right relationship with God, this was dependent on divine grace, not human effort, there was the faith that takes God at his word. There is faith. The certainty that God is like that.  It is staking everything on the love of God.  

There is grace.  A gift of grace is always unearned and undeserved.  The truth us that a man can never earn the love of God. Man must always find the glory, not by what he can do for God, but what can God do for him.

On the other side, there is the law.  The trouble with law, is that it can diagnose trouble but cannot cure it.  Law can show a person has gone the wrong way, but cannot help them from doing so.  It is human nature, when a thing is forbidden it becomes desirable, stolen fruit is sweeter, therefore law can eventually have the effect of moving a man to desire that which is forbidden.  The essential complement is judgment, and so long as a man has a religion whose dominant  thought  as law, he cannot be himself or anything other than a criminal at the bar of the justice of God

When a new law is introduced, transgression follows.  No one can break a law which does not exist, and one cannot be condemned for breaking a law he knew nothing about.  If we make religion solely a matter of obeying the law, then life becomes one long series of transgressions waiting to be punished.

There is wrath. Think of God in terms of law, and you cannot do other than to be destined to be under condemnation if God.

In line with that which Paul was saying, about the manner in which God carries out his plan of salvation, by not insisting that in order to be saved, the sinner must earn his own entrance into the Kingdom of heaven, but by providing a solution in which grace would triumph.  He now states the reason he promised salvation by faith, was that it might be a matter of grace. This why it points to the special relationship of faith and grace.  Faith means trusting in another, not in one’s own efforts.  Faith therefore corresponds to grace, which involves God’s gift of unmerited favor.

The character of Abrahan’s faith is set forth in a striking manner.  Against all hope, he believed. Basically hope means the expectation of something desirable.  In the present case. The subject of hope was the fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham, who would have a son, in which the promise to Abraham would extend to his son, in whose life there would be the precious promise of God. I will be your God and your seed and all the nations of the world will be blessed. So shall your seed attain fulfilment.

A time arrived when humanly speaking , hope seemed impossible of realization. Abraham believed I God, who calls the dead to life, and brings into being, things which have no existence.

Paul thought of another outstanding example of Abraham’s willingness to believe God. and to take him at his word.  The promise that all the families of the world would be blessed  in his descendants, was given to Abraham when he was an old man.  His wife Sarah had been childless, and now he was a hundred years old and Sarah was ninety there came a promise they would have a son. 

On the face of it, it seemed to be beyond  be belief and  attainment, as he was past the age of begetting, and Sarah was way past bearing a son. Yet again, Abraham believed what Goad had said God would do. Once again it was faith which was accountable to Abraham for righteousness

It was Abraham’s willingness to trust God, it was his word which put Abraham into a right relationship with God.  The Rabbis had a saying which Paul used, they said, what is written of Abraham is written of his children.  They meant whatever God promised to Abraham, would be extended to his children.  Therefore, if Abraham’s willingness is to take God at his word, so it is with them.  It is not the work of the law, it is trusting faith, which establishes the relationships between God and man which ought to exist. The presence Abraham’s  of faith in this case, he was believing God made all things possible, and the impossible, he made possible.  So long as we believe that everything depends on our efforts, we are bound to be pessimistic, for experience has taught us the lesson, hat our achievements can obtain little.  When we realize it not our effort but God’s grace and power which matter, then we become optimists because we are bound to believe with God nothing is impossible.


Let us thank god for His Holy Word and may His Name be glorified

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