(1) Walk Thru The Word: Romans 4: 1–4 (ESV)
“Abraham’s Belief Was Credited As Righteousness”
1 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
(6) Message map: Rom. 4: 1 – 25
“The Faith of Abraham & David Foretell Our Walk in Christ”
- The Law of works vs. The Law of faith
- The Ceremonial Law Causes us to look for Christ
- The Moral Law is written on our hearts to remind us of wrath & tutors us to rely on Christ
- The Faith of Abraham & David Foretell our future Walk in Christ (Abe = father of believers of Whom David Says our sins will be forgiven & not counted against them)
- we apply this by working out our salvation with fear and trembling (fear & Trembling = not taking Grace & Salvation for Granted)
(7) The Law of works vs. The law of faith
Rom 3:27 & 4:4 Rom 3:27 & 4:4 … our boasting … is excluded, not by a law (binding principles) of works (activities of the ceremonial law), but
Rom 3:27 & 4:5 by the Law of faith (which God births in receptive believers to inspire confidence He will fulfill (cf. 1 Jn 5:4 with Heb 11:1)
The Law of Works provides one with …
- The ability to boast or self-exult, brag, but those behaviors are of pride, which Jas 4:6 and 1Pet 5:5 warn us against.
- Jas 4:6, says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble
- 1Pet 5:5 says, And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
The law of faith operates by …
- believing and glorying in what Christ has done for us.
- though ungodly we receive imputed, credited righteousness & justification
- receiving assurance & conviction God’s promises are true
- setting us free from working to be righteous
- Heb 11: 1 1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
- 1 John 5:4 4For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
In Scripture, faith is God’s warranty that certifies that the revelation He in-birthed in us through The Born Again experience will come to pass and bear much fruit as we do God’s work His way.
Jude 3 3Beloved, although I made every effort to write you about the salvation we share, I felt it necessary to write and urge you to contend earnestly for the faith entrusted once for all to the saints. “Struggle upon, appropriately”), i.e. with skill and commitment in opposing whatever is not of faith (God’s persuasion).
(8) The faith of Abraham
3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted/credited (ascribed) to him as righteousness” (right standing in a restored relationship with God).
” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted (reckoned, considered) as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
Abraham’s Debt of Sins include …
- Lying (out of Fear). Lying and not fear is the sin! If we believe fear is a sin, once we feel fear we stop, thinking we’ve already sinned, and have blown our faith walk in God.
- Walked by Sight with Hagar
God’s Imputed Righteousness
- Slate of Sins are Forgiven & Erased
- Counted As Righteous
Rom 4: 19 -25 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
(9) The Faith of David
Rom 4:7-8 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds (transgressions, iniquity, disobedience, sin) are forgiven, and whose sins are covered/forgiven (are pardoned and hidden over so as not to come to view).
8 BLESSED (the fortunate position of receiving God’s provision to not count, charge or take into account) his/our sin.”
David’s Debt of Sins include …
- Adultery with Bathsheba
- Murdering Uriah
- Numbering Israel
- Failing to Father
God’s Imputed Righteousness
- Slate of Sins are Forgiven & Erased
- Counted As Righteous
(10) The Faith of Abraham & David Foretell Our future in Christ
Abe = father of believers whose sins are forgiven & not counted against them!
Abraham & David were not perfect but exercised faith and found favor with God, Who obligates Himself through His “law of faith” – meaning the rules and principles to which God has bound Himself in the system of belief that we call “Gospel Truth.”
Rom 4: 21-22 21 fully assured /convinced /persuaded (God’s power bringing the believer to maximum potential,) that God was able to do what he had promised.
22That is why / because of / Therefore (wherefore, on which account, “for this reason”) his faith was “counted/ credited/ imputed (reckoned, count, charged with decided to be, conclude to be) to him as righteousness.
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, ... Click To Tweet
(11) The Faith of Abraham & David Foretell our discipleship, As we see God grow Abraham and David, so they learn not to repeat sins, as David explains in Psalm 32, which we will unpack in a few moments.
When we demonstrate full Assurance, Conviction and/or are fully Convinced / Persuaded to trust that God will fulfill His promises, He reciprocates (requites, responds as a result of) to us …
- God’s power to bring us believers to our maximum potential, in the faith.
- The ability to “bear / wear) the work of God to the fullest extent.
So by faith we Grow/Mature by engaging in deeper …
- Personal Devotional Life (PDL), involving Bible study & prayer;
- corporate Devotional Life (CDL) Fellowship, Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves (Heb 10:25) = for the purpose of seeking Christ, as lively
- Assimilation Into Discipleship (AID) is the goal of our PDL & CDL – corporate meetings.
- Growing In sensitivity to the conviction of the Holy Spirit
- Growing In obedience to Christ
- faith = obedience
- disobedience = lack of faith
- AID (Assimilation Into Discipleship) = reading the Bible, praying together, ministering to one another, building up each other, edifying, clarifying God’s intent with each other.
(12) God Credits Those Who Have Conviction
Rom 4: 21-22
CEV — 21Abraham was certain that God could do what he had promised. 22So God accepted him,
ESV — 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”
KJV — 21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. (I like the “P’s”)
NAS — 21and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. .
NIV — 21being fully persuaded that God was able to do what He had promised. 22That is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
NLT — 21He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 22And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.
18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
(13) Walking in faith = working out our salvation with fear & trembling
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, …
Psalm 32: 1- 11 Details our walk with Christ in God’s Grace, as He disciplines us for our edification & His glory. (Heb 12: 1-
1Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
5I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
6Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
7You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
8I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
10Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
11Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
We Work out our salvation (deliverance, welfare, prosperity) by …
- Understanding and putting faith in how Christ brought it to definite conclusion on the Cross, when in John 19:30 – He said, It is finished (the work of redemption fully is consummated, completed, fulfilled).
- The root of “finished or “telos” is “tel” and means “reaching the end (aim).” It is well-illustrated with the old pirate’s telescope, unfolding and extending out, one stage at a time to function at full-strength, capacity and effectiveness, reaching throughout all time.
- Applying the Finished Work of Christ to every issue of life.
- Realizing the relevance of God’s truth to every aspect of life.
- Seeing life through the decisive finality of Christ’s work on the Cross for our salvation
- Letting it achieve its work in us, so every situation becomes an opportunity to further Assimilate Into Discipleship (A–I–D) = receive God’s AID
Hebrews 12: 3-6 Endure Discipline That Conforms Us to Christ
3Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
6and chastises every son whom he receives.”
If we respond to God’s discipline and work out our salvation with fear & trembling, we will be like Israel whom God faithfully returns home! …
Hosea 11:11 NIV — They will come from Egypt, trembling like sparrows, from Assyria, fluttering like doves. I will settle them in their homes,” declares the LORD.
Hosea 11:11 ESV —they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria, and I will return them to their homes, declares the LORD.
Hosea 11:11 NAS— They will come trembling like birds from Egypt And like doves from the land of Assyria; And I will settle them in their houses, declares the LORD.
BTW – Here’s some proof God is not done with Israel
Hosea 3:5 NIV — Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.
Hosea 3:5 NAS — Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.
Hosea 3:5 CEV — But later, Israel will turn back to the LORD their God and to David their king. At that time they will come to the LORD with fear and trembling, and he will be good to them.
(14) Working out our salvation Includes Participating in discipleship
Growing In Discipleship involves …
- Working out our Salvation by …
- Relating to God through fear & trembling = deep respect & awe
- no cheap grace by wanting of forgiveness without repentance; baptism without discipleship; Communion without confession; grace without the Holy Spirit’s conviction of, redemption without the cross of Christ, and Him resurrected, living through us.” (paraphrase of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship.)
- No Sloppy Agape = Half Gospel of Hyper Grace = superficial affirmations of love and care for God and Christ that are not backed up by submissive actions or long-term commitment.
- growing in boldness to share our faith
- growing in the ability to identify with Christ in all situations.
- Evangelism requires vulnerability & reliance upon Christ because sinners will hold us accountable to walk our talk.
- While we are not perfect, we should be making progress and confess to sinners when we are wrong. They actually can help us grow!
- Highest Correlation Factor to Christian Growth = Bible Reading.
“Regular Bible Reading (RBR)” is a key motivator and indicator of Discipleship Growth because it provides
- knowledge of God & Christ and move and the work of the Holy Spirit
- encourages the frequency of prayer by praying according to knowledge & wisdom.
- encourages regular attendance & participation in fellowship, studies and church
- motivates giving = contributing to God’s work, here on earth.
Why Bible Reading? Because the only way to know God thru Christ is how they’ve revealed themselves through the Scripture!
(15) Let’s Pray that God ReAwakens, ReInvigorates & ReEstablishes Us in Our Calls In Christ!
God we trust You to work Your will in our lives, to make us the kind of people in whom Your grace can work to make us the kind of people whom You can use to fulfill Your law and Great Commission for Your glory!