Authorized (King James) Version
Romans 4:1 "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?"
As you recall, chapter 3 ended with a call to establish the Law by or through faith, Jesus did not come to abolish the Law and the prophets, he came to fulfil.
The Law is still in effect and by no means gone. Paul said for us to "establish" by faith the Law, the word "establish" means to set up on a firm or permanent basis or foundation, and who is that foundation?
That foundation is no other person than the Lord Jesus Christ of course!
1 Corinthians 3:11 "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
In the book of the prophet Isaiah we read the following:
Isaiah 28:16 "therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste."
This scripture is quoted in many other books of the bible, one of them being recorded by Matthew chapter 21 in the words of Jesus himself:
Matthew 21:42 "Jesus saith unto them, did ye never read in the scriptures, the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?"
The Lord Jesus Christ is the rock, the foundation, he is the head or chief of the corner stone where the church must build its foundation upon.
Now Paul starts Chapter 4 using the patriarch Abraham, whom God promised his seed would be a father of all nations as example to explain faith.
"As pertaining to the flesh, has found?" near the end of Chapter 3 the context was about boasting, Paul asks the question where is boasting then?
So what works of the flesh did Abraham have to boast with?
The scriptural answer would be none, before God for the scriptures says, there is none righteous, and they have all gone out the way. As the next verse explicitly tells us.
Romans 4:2 "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God."
This scripture concludes that "IF" notice conditional proceeds Abraham's justification by works, so if Abraham were justified by his works, what works does he to glory in?
Well, Abraham had the works of circumcision, and the notable event of when he proceeded to offer up his son Isaac to the Lord. But the scriptures says, these works he had to glory in, but not before God. If not before God, then who?
Abraham would glory in works before man, NOT God.
You know, I've had people challenge me on the whole Works Vs Grace issue and say to me, that this event with Abraham which is also mentioned in James chapter 2, was him being justified by his works, and use this to prove that we have to have good works to get into heaven.
They'll say nobody else was around when Abraham offered up Isaac, which is correct; but the event was written down so that man may read of how great of the faith of Abraham must have been in the Lord to do such a thing. Not many of us could do such a thing with our own child.
When we read this event, we can conclude to ourselves that this man, Abraham had such great faith in the Lord by his WORKS.
James 2:23 "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God."
Who is calling him the friend of God?
Man is calling him the friend of God. If you interpret this scripture some other way, you create a contradiction, and there is no contradiction in light of other scripture because James is talking to his fellow man, to the saved.
The scriptures tell us that Abraham was justified before God long before he got circumcised, Abraham got circumcised around the age of 99 recorded in Genesis 17:24 but we read earlier of the account when he was imputed righteousness by God in Genesis 15:6 which is referred to in the next verse.
Romans 4:3 "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."
So we can see here that Abraham was counted to righteousness before God, because he BELIEVED.
The word counted has many synonyms in the bible and are used interchangeably such as, imputed, and all convey the meaning of crediting to an account, or chalk up, or accredit.
According to scripture we see no reason why Abraham was justified in the sight of God, but to the fact that he believed, this scripture references Genesis 15:6.
In fact, some people will say that the Old Testament you had to follow the Law and in the New Testament it is all about grace, this is not true as the bible teaches from the beginning of the cover to the end of the cover that it has always been by grace that man is justified in the sight of God.
Romans 4:4 "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt."
To those who work, or try to justify themselves before God for Salvation by their own deeds, believe that it is because we feel we owe God something, a debt; this is NOT grace.
Salvation is a free gift from God, by his grace he will impute righteousness to anyone who believes, even to those who are dead in sin.
Regardless of what we have done, by God's grace, salvation is obtain through faith, and it is not of our own works, lest any man boasts.
The Apostle Paul put's it perfectly in the epistle to the Ephesians in chapter 2:
Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 not of works, lest any man should boast."
Mockers will call this cheap grace, what a heresy! Grace is unmerited favour and not achieved by any man's deeds, no man can boast of his own works to obtain salvation, it is given freely by God's grace to those whom do believe on him.
Romans 4:5 "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
I love this verse, it's straight to the point, and every time someone decides to defend their works based beliefs and they say, show me where in the bible does it say that you don't have to do works to be saved?
And I put on a big smile and say turn to Romans 4:5 and boom! It says plain as day, to him that worketh NOT, but believe on him, who?
God, who justifies the ungodly, who is the ungodly?
Mankind…of course, unless you think you're godly enough to come to God on your own good works?
Sinners, all of mankind, if you believe on him who justifies the ungodly, YOUR FAITH IS COUNTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS!
Love that verse!
Romans 4:6 "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,"
Even King David, a man who is said to be a man after God's own heart back in the Old Testament who too was dead in sins, was saved by faith.
Remember, David committed adultery with Bathsheba the wife of Uriah and had him murdered to cover up his sin with Bathsheba, whom God punished for that act of sin for a season.
The doctrine of Imputation is described as being given, inherited or accounted something by another source, or person because you satisfy a condition.
David describes this in the book of Psalms Chapter 32:
Psalm 32:1-2 "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile."
Interesting that this verse recorded in Psalm at the end says to those whose spirit has no guile, if you ever give the gospel to someone or when you're out soul winning, you can come across people who pretend to get saved, or don't really believe it even when they say they do (generally just to get you off their backs) but they really don't believe at all.
Or you come across people in other religions and you're trying to evangelise them, especially religions based on works salvation who just won't let go of their religion, these people will not get saved until they do this, it's Faith Alone.
Ever tried evangelising to the cults? It's very difficult to get past their indoctrination of their institution of manmade (Or satanic) fables.
Romans 4:7 "saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered."
Upon belief, God has forgiven all iniquities committed by the sinner, and whose sins are covered, meaning any future sin you are going to commit will also be covered.
When you get saved, you don't automatically stop sinning, you will continue to sin in the flesh.
This scripture reinforces the doctrine of eternal security, you cannot lose your salvation.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."
Again, the scripture states how blessed is the man whom the Lord will not IMPUTE sin, which emphasises the fact that all believers will still sin, God knows this until the day of redemption, the Lord's Day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns; known as his second coming.
Knowing this, God will not impute or account any sin to the believer that they will commit in the future, but you say, you can't just keep on sinning, and the cheap grace promoters will say you can't just live anyway you want to when you get saved!
What these works based Salvationist heretics don't understand is what the bible teaches true believers is what is called the doctrine of Divine Discipline.
I will cover this in another post at another time.
Romans 4:9 "Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness."
If we say that Abraham was made righteous by his faith, was it then only given to the circumcised only or upon the uncircumcised as well?
Could you only be justified by God's grace ONLY if you got circumcised?
We'll find out the answers to these questions in the following scriptures.
Romans 4:10 "How was it then reckoned? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision."
The word "reckoned" means to "count", "add up", "and establish calculation", "figure", or it's synonyms are "believe", "think", "be of the opinion", "be of the view", "be convinced".
So here in this scripture, it is written, that Abraham was imputed righteousness when he was uncircumcised and NOT before; also referring back to Genesis 15:6.
Romans 4:11 "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:"
Abraham received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness of his faith when he was still uncircumcised. When Abraham got circumcised, God made a covenant or a promise with him that he would be father to all people that believe, from all nations, kindred's and tongues.
The false teachers we're running around trying to pervert the Gospel and undermine Paul by saying to the people that they had to get circumcised or they couldn't be saved, that they had to follow the laws and ordinances to be acceptable to God.
But the truth is, God is not a respecter of persons, it doesn't matter what colour you are, what nationality you are or whether you are circumcised or not, if you believe on him, that is good enough!
Romans 4:12 "and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised."
Abraham was made a promise of God that he would be a father to all as discussed in the previous verse, be it of the circumcision or uncircumcision it doesn't matter, those who walk in the same steps of faith as according to Abraham when he was made righteous before he received the sign of circumcision, and that Faith, is to believe on the Lord God, whom we now know his name to be Jesus.
Romans 4:13 "For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith."
For the promise, what promise?
The promise that he should inherit the world, was NOT made to Abraham and his seed, note the word "seed" is singular not plural, this seed is the Lord Jesus Christ, that the promise was not made through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith, notice how it wasn't worded as just faith?
The promise was made through the righteousness of faith, does that not mean that to have faith is to have righteousness?
Romans 4:14 "For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:"
Now read this carefully, those who think keeping and doing the law will get them into heaven, and gives them the right to be heirs are sorely wrong, you couldn't be more wrong than wrong, look at what it says next, FAITH IS MADE VOID, and the promise is made of none effect, that right, the promise is cancelled out.
If you try to approach the Holy God by your works of righteousness, this act in itself cancels out Faith, it means you have no faith at all, and you are not under the promise, because the promise was given by the righteousness of faith.
If you trust in your own works to get you into heaven, then you don't have faith in God, and there would have been no reason for him to come in the form of man to sacrifice himself would there?
Romans 4:15 "because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression."
The Law works wrath, this is God's wrath, and those who trust in their own works will meet in the end with God's wrath, not something I'd be looking forward to…
For where there is no law, there is no transgression. What does that mean? Does that mean that if you have never heard of the law, you cannot sin?
God forbid! The answer to this verse is actually found in Romans Chapter 2!
Romans 2:12-16 "For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16 in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel."
So here Paul is contrasting those who had the law, the Jews and those who didn't have the law, the Gentiles. We read that the law is written in the hearts of the gentiles, so there is no excuse.
Chapter 4 verse 15 is stating that there is no transgression if there is no law; but if we know that the law has been written in our hearts then there is transgression, because God wrote those laws into our hearts, and our conscience either convicts us or allows us to make excuses for our transgressions towards God.
This internal law by the way I believe is our moral compass, our boundary that we would normally not step over, and in the case with reprobates: those people who constantly rejects God's calling, God removes this moral compass and gives them over to their own lusts.
Romans 4:16 "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,"
For that reason, it is of faith, and by grace through faith, the promise which was made with Abraham can also be given to all the seed.
So it is not only given to the Jews, but it is given to all who believe, because Abraham was imputed righteousness by faith, and so are all who come to the Lord by faith because he is the father of us all.
Romans 4:17 "(as it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were."
As it is written in Genesis 17:5 where Abram gets his name changed to Abraham by God because he has been made a father of many nations!
What's interesting about the last part of the verse, "even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were."
God whom quickens the dead, the word quicken means "to make alive", but the most interesting part of this verse is what comes next, where it is said that God calls all those things which be not as though they were; this means that God speaks and tells us of these as if though they had already happened, even though it actually hasn't happened yet, this is true of biblical prophecy and that we can know, that the Holy bible is God's word because there is no other book in the world that accurately predicts, and is proven to be true with the prophecies written within this holy book.
Romans 4:18 "Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be."
Against hope believed in hope, this is faith:
Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Abraham believed on the Lord God and was given the promise that he shall be father of many nations, and that same promise is given to his seed, that seed being the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and God.
Romans 4:19 "And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb:"
Being not weak in faith, to a works based Salvationist heretic a person with weak faith would be someone who had very little works, this would be their point of view, however, Salvation is not by works, it is by faith, and to say in a biblical truth one who has weak faith is someone who trusts in their own works, rather than completely trusting in the Lord.
Trusting in only the Lord is strong faith, we place our trust and hope in something that is not seen, yet hoped for, and it is described in Hebrews chapter 11 as a substance, not nothing.
Even at his age of an hundred years old consider he himself not dead, along with his wife's womb to be dead (She was about 90 years old) especially when the angel of the Lord came to tell him and Sarah would born a child at such an old age; this event is recorded in Genesis 18:10.
Romans 4:20 "he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;"
The last few verses expound more on verse 19, he staggered not, meaning he was not shocked or amazed at the promise given to him by God because of unbelief; but was strong in faith, what we talked about before, his strength of his faith by placing it all on the Lord God, and giving him all the glory!
Romans 4:21 "and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform."
Abraham being fully persuaded, it is his faith that he is able to be fully persuaded, and Abraham knowing that God cannot lie, will keep his promise enabling Abraham to perform, or to do God's will.
Romans 4:22 "And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness."
And for that reason, what reason? His Faith of course, he was imputed righteousness. By faith we have been justified by our Lord God's grace.
Romans 4:23 "Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;"
It was not just written for Abraham's sake alone, that it was accredited to him, this is the doctrine of Imputation. We have inherited by faith, righteousness, not ours, but God's righteousness.
Romans 4:24 "but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;"
So not just for Abraham's sake, but for us also, for those who believe, whom have faith in He that raised up our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.
This passage reflects on how I got saved, I was in the Old Testament and I believed on Him that raised up our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus said I and the Father are one, and also if you have the Son, you have the Father. Jesus is God manifest in the flesh, he is the God of the Old and New Testament.
Romans 4:25 "who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."
Jesus Christ died for our sins, and the sins of the whole world, and God the Father raised him to life so that we all might be justified in his sight.