7/06/2008

The Gospel in Romans, part 10

Romans 4:9-15

Romans 4:9-15 ESV:

Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 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. 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, 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.

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. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

Intro:

First, in order to prove that God only saves people by faith and not by their works, Paul brought up Abraham as an example. What did Abraham find? If he was justified by works, he could have something to glory in or boast about, "but not before God." (v2). The Scripture says he was counted righteous when he believed God (Genesis 15:6). Those who rely on works for justification are under debt, not grace. But those who are counted righteous before God are justified by faith while they are still ungodly. This is grace... it is a free gift. The person who is justified by faith is the most blessed of all! Why? Because their iniquities (their disobedience to the Law) are forgiven, and their sins are covered over. Romans 4:8 says [paraphrased], "Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord won't count." That is the blessing of all blessings! Those who are justified by faith will never be charged guilty with sin!

Study Notes:

(Paul continues using Q & A as a format in this chapter).

Verse 9
Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.
Who gets the blessing, Jews only, or Gentiles also?
It is faith that was counted to Abraham as righteousness. So then, could a person who is not circumcised have faith also?
(There are many people, ministers, churches, so-called Christians, Bible study leaders, who will tell you that being right with God [or justified] is dependent upon YOU and the works YOU do).
Paul says, "When was Abraham justified?"

Verse 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.
Not after, but before he was circumcised, i.e. before he performed the sign of the covenant or did any works.

Verse 11-12
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, 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.
Circumcision was God's command to Abraham and all his people for a sign and a seal that he was already righteous by faith in the one true GOD, YHWH.
So salvation is by faith alone, both for the man who is circumcised and for the man who is not.
Abraham was made the father of all who believe, both Jew [circumcised] and Gentile [uncircumcised], (and for everyone else believing in Christ).

Verse 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.
The Bible is clear that God will destroy the earth and everyone in it who has not obeyed Him out of faith and love, when His righteous judgment is revealed. So when the Bible says, "Abraham and his offspring... would be heir of the world..." we should think, "What does that mean? What offspring? Heirs of what world?"

Do you know what God told the serpent after Adam and Eve were decieved by him into disobeying God? Genesis 3:14-15 says, "The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” God said the serpent would have "offspring" or "seed," and the woman would have an "offspring" or "seed." These are two heads, or fathers of peoples. There are two offspring, one of the serpent, and one of the woman. The two offspring, or seeds, are the rulers of two different groups of people (only on of them inherits the world, according to Romans 4:13). What does the word "enmity" mean? They would be enemies [enmity=enemy] of each other. What does the woman's offspring do? And what does the serpent do? Which is worse, a bruised head, or a bruised heel? (Now for the tricky part) has any woman on earth ever produced a seed? Seed in Greek is "sperma." Did Mary commit adultery before she was married? Absolutely not, she was a virgin. Then how was she pregnant? The Holy Spirit caused her to conceive before being married to a man. So Jesus is the "seed" of the woman, and He is the Head of all those who will inherit the earth.

Back in Romans 4:13, when God promised Abraham and his seed [offspring] that he was to be heir of the world, we see a connection with what God had said about the woman and her offspring who would destroy the serpent. Jesus, the seed of the woman, would come through Abraham as his offspring. There is also a connection here with believers, who are Abraham's offspring through faith. Every person who is born of the Spirit (which is a miraculous birth, like the birth of Christ) will be an heir of the world just as God promised Abraham.

Now we can ask, how does that promise come? Does it come to you through your obedience to the law? Not through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. (There is no mistake, you must be righteous to be saved. How did Abraham become righteous? It says, he believed God, and righteousness was counted to him).

Verse 14
For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.
Faith is useless and the promise is empty if one becomes an heir of the world-to-come by law. Why? Well... verse 15 says,

Verse 15
For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
What does the law bring? Wrath! "But where there is no law, there is no transgression."
Faith justifies apart from works of the law. Romans 3:28 says, "For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law."

If you trust God as Abraham did, then God counts you to be righteous and not guilty of breaking any law. Why not? Because Jesus died for those who believe and trust the Word of God. So it is His blood and death on the cross that atones for all your sin if you come to Him. And He rose again to be the Ruler, the King, the Head of all the people of God. You can be an heir of the world, if you believe the Word of God. It comes only through Jesus and no other.

Conclusion:

So, are you believing God's Word? Do you trust God to be faithful, just as Abraham did? Do you believe all the Bible says concerning the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord?
What does the Bible say? The Bible tells us of the wrath of God, which is "revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." (Romans 1:18). The wrath (indignant anger) of God is against all who commit sin. He feels righteous anger everyday, and is ready to kill those who will not repent (Psalm 7:11-13). Here is a short list of some sins that bring God's wrath: cowardliness, pride, self-will, faithlessness, hatred, coveteousness (wanting what doesn't belong to you), disobedience to parents, jealousy, uncontrolled anger, slander, sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, homosexuality, theft, greed, drunkenness, abusive language, swindling, lying, evil thoughts, gossip, boastfulness, selfishness. This righteous judgment of God against those who do these things is a reality. Do you believe it?
The Bible says "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23). Do you believe that you have sinned? Do you believe that you deserve the righteous anger and judgment of God? (I sure deserve it).

Now, with that said, do you believe God's gracious promises? First, do you know any of His promises? Dear friends, if you don't know the promises of God, then you don't have any hope. God promises to justify the ungodly through faith in Jesus Christ, His Son (Romans 4:5). He promises to pardon every sin you have ever committed through faith in Jesus (1 John 1:7-9). God promised that all who put their hope in Him who raised Jesus from the dead will be counted righteous before Him. That means to have no sin, to be perfect, to be upright and blameless. It is a free gift (Romans 3:24)! He promises to give His Holy Spirit to every believer who comes to Jesus (Ephesians 1:13). God promises believers will never die (John 11:25-27). Though our bodies wear out like old rags, or decompose in the dust, or get eaten by worms, God will raise them again, forever new to be with Him and to see His face (1 Corinthians 15:35-38,56-57; Revelation 22:1-4).

All these promises and more, are to those who come to Jesus Christ alone for satisfaction and life and rest (Matthew 11:28; John 6:35,37). They are not made to anyone else, because it is only through Jesus that they come to us. Do you believe Him? Have you repented and thrown yourself down at the feet of Almighty Jesus? If you do, He will most certainly save you. It is a promise (John 6:37).

Don't put off believing for another time. If you continue in unbelief, you may never have another chance to be turned and saved. Today is the day... Now is the time... Call on Jesus! Ask Him to make it possible. God bless.

5 comments:

Jeremiah said...

I just recieved your comment on Benford's Law and Free Will. The article you read was a sideline note on a larger piece I'm working on that entails an in-depth refutation of Calvinism, on a scriptural and historical basis. I think you'll be interested since it involves Romans in great detail. I'm traveling at the moment, and simultaneously running short on a deadline for my current book, but I'll try and contact you in the next week or so with a more substantial answer. Thanks.

Penn said...

Hi Jeremiah,
Thanks for the comment. You may contact me through email if you like. A may not have time to read your entire book, but I might look over it if you give me a link or something. Thanks,
Penn

Penn Tomassetti said...

I meant, "I may not have time..." I really love the book of Romans, especially since I've been studying it in depth.

Jeremiah said...

The larger piece is still in outline form. Mostly quotes from Calvin and the bible, and Barth (about Calvin), Pelagius, Luther, etc... and some side line essays. I'll be in touch.

"My current book" that I mentioned was an unrelated novel.

Penn Tomassetti said...

Jeremiah,
Have you read my "little ditty" about John Calvin? You can find it under my name on Faith Writers.