Though a person may have been considered “righteous” by his neighbours because of keeping the commandments or by carefully observing the religious requirements of Judaism, the Holy Spirit is going to show that it was a mistake to think that God considered such a person righteous before Him.
The Holy Spirit could have chosen many examples to prove that even in the Old Testament justification was by faith and not by religion or commandment-keeping. However He has carefully chosen Abraham and David to illustrate this.It is very likely that the reason the Holy Spirit chose Abraham and David as examples is because both of them represented the hopes of the Jewish people in a very special way.Both Abraham and David received very important promises from God, relating to the future of their families, and of the Nation of Israel, as a whole. The Jews believed that these promises were given to Abraham and David by God as rewards for their righteous lives, and were very proud of them as their ancestors. They were especially proud to be Abraham’s children.Romans 4, however shows that both of these men were not righteous before God because of their good works, but because of their faith in God. This shows that the Jews’ belief about the basis of righteousness was mistaken.
Verses 7 & 8 are quoted from Psalm 32. This Psalm tells us about David’s experience of forgiveness after being exposed for his adultery with Bathsheba, and the murder of her husband. (See 2Sam 11)Although David had been guilty of terrible sins, he was able to rejoice because they had been forgiven freely by God
Verses 10 & 11 remind us that Abraham was righteous by faith before God gave him the sign of circumcision.
The promise came on the basis of God’s grace. In fact, the law (10 commandments), which was given to Moses, did not come until many hundreds of years later!The promise is sure – certain – to all Abraham’s children because it was given through grace. If it had been given through law it would only have been for Jews, and only to those who managed to keep the law completely. We have already seen from verse 14 that the result would have been cancellation of the promise. But now the promise is as sure as God Himself.
Abraham and his wife were both very old, and Sarah was also barren. Nevertheless, when God made the promise to Abraham he did not hesitate through unbelief. He simply trusted God to fulfil His promise.Even when God later told Abraham to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice, Abraham did not hesitate. Although he did not understand what God was doing, he was ready to obey Him in faith, believing that God would raise Isaac from the dead and fulfil the promise in that way. God saw his obedient faith and counted him righteous because of it.Abraham was righteous not because of what he would do for God, but because he believed what God would do for him!You can read Abraham’s story in Genesis chapters 12 – 25.
The Lord Jesus was raised because of our justification. That means his death was the payment of the ransom price -the propitiation (mercy seat) for our sins, and God raised Him from the dead because our Justification is complete on that basis, if we believe on Him.
05. Paul’s Letter To The Romans 4
Paul’s Letter to the Romans<br />The Agreement of the Gospel with the Old Testament (Romans 4)<br />
Your Questions?<br />Any Questions from last topic or from preparation for today?<br />
Review<br />The Gospel Introduced (Romans 1:1 – 1:15)<br />The Gospel Defined (Romans 1:16-17)<br />The Good News of God-Righteousness to all who believe on Christ<br />The Universal Need for Righteousness (Romans 1:18 – 3:20)<br />The Whole Word Guilty before God<br />Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (Romans 3:19 NKJV)<br />
Review<br />The Basis and Terms of the Gospel (Romans 3:21-31)<br />RIGHTEOUSNESS – fulfilling what God expects from us<br />JUSTIFICATION – God’s official pronouncement that a person is Righteous<br />REDEMPTION – Delivering someone by payment of the necessary price<br />PROPITIATION (Mercy Seat) – A place where God can righteously show mercy<br />GRACE – The kindness of God by which He freely blesses those who don’t deserve it<br />FAITH – The act of transferring all hope to God, and depending upon Him alone<br />
The Agreement of the Gospel with the Old Testament (Romans 4)<br />The Purpose of Romans 4 is to show that the Gospel does not contradict the Old Testament. <br />Romans 4 shows that the Old Testament does not claim that God’s Righteousness is attained by Law-Keeping or by Religion<br />
Two Powerful Examples – Abraham and King David<br />Abraham – God promised <br />he would produce a great and mighty nation <br />all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him <br />“blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:17-18 NKJV)<br />David – God promised an everlasting Kingdom<br />“And it shall be, …that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. ...And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever.” (1 Chronicles 17:11-14 NKJV)<br />
Example of King David – Righteous through Law-Keeping?<br />Read Romans 4:5-8<br />Did King David believe that a person was righteous before God through keeping the commandments?<br />NO! He knew he had sinned greatly, but his sins were forgiven through God’s mercy.<br />God would not count his sins against him.<br />What does this prove about Righteousness through Law-Keeping?<br />Righteousness is not through Law-Keeping because Law-Breakers can be justified - God justifies the ungodly (wicked) who believe on Him (v5)<br />How does David describe the ungodly person who is justified by faith?<br />He is “Blessed” or happy, because He knows that his righteousness depends upon God and not upon himself.<br />
Example of Abraham – Righteous through Religious Rituals?<br />Circumcision was the sign of God’s special relationship with Abraham & his descendants. It was an important ritual of the Jews’ religion.<br />Read Romans 4:9-12<br />Was Abraham counted righteous before or after he received the sign of circumcision?<br />What does this tell us about whether righteousness comes through religious rituals?<br />Abraham’s righteousness did not depend upon religious rituals – he was righteous because of his faith alone. <br />
Abraham’s Children<br />Read Romans 4:13-15<br />Could Abraham have received God’s promise if it had come through Law-Keeping?<br />The law would have cancelled the promise because it brings about wrath.<br />Read Romans 4:16<br />If God’s promise did not come through Law, on what basis did it come?<br />On the basis of GRACE! <br />Why did God give the promise on the basis of Grace?<br />So that it might be sure to all Abraham’s children!<br />Who are Abraham’s children?<br />All who have faith like Abraham are his children and therefore heirs of God’s promise.<br />
Abraham’s Faith<br />Read Romans 4:17<br />What two things does the verse say about the God in whom Abraham believed?<br />“God, who gives life to the dead,” and <br />He creates and makes things happen with the Word of His Power – “calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” <br />Read Romans 4:19-22<br />How do you think this faith in God was seen in Abraham’s life?<br />He glorified God by believing that He was able to do what He had promised, even though it seemed impossible<br />Do you think Abraham was righteous because he sacrificed his son to God?<br />Abraham did NOT sacrifice his son (though he was willing to)! He was righteous because he trusted God to fulfil His promise. (v22) <br />
Counted Righteous by Faith<br />Read Romans 4:23-25<br />Why does the Holy Spirit give the example of Abraham being counted Righteous by Faith?<br />So that we can have confidence before God, just like Abraham.<br />What does v25 say was the reason for the death of our Lord Jesus?<br />He was delivered up (as a ransom) because of offences – our sins.<br />What does v24-25 say about the resurrection of our Lord Jesus?<br />He was raised because of our Justification. <br />If the Lord Jesus was delivered because of our sins and raised because of our justification, what must we do to be counted Righteous before God?<br />Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. (Romans 4:23-25 NKJV)<br />
For next time…<br />The Practical Benefits of the Gospel (Romans 5:1-11)<br />Try to read the passage two or three times before our next meeting<br />Think about what the passage says about<br />Peace with God<br />Tribulation, or trouble<br />God’s love<br />Reconciliation<br />Think carefully about your position before God<br />Read pages 45 – 48 in Alive and Free<br />Write down any QUESTIONS YOU WOULD LIKE TO ASK<br />