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Romans Chapter 4


Memory verses for this week: 1 Th 4:7  For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 1 Th 4:8  He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. 

Introduction:     Last week, in  the chapter 3, Paul showed clearly that we all inherit the nature of Adam, and can only  reconciled to God by turning to Christ for salvation.  It is wholly of grace, not of works on our part. 


I.                     Abrahamís Faith and its Significance


Rom 4:1  What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

Rom 4:2  For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.


Abrahamís faith is what made him acceptable to God, not his works.  Pertaining to the flesh, Abraham never found anything that would render his works acceptable unto God.  It has been an age old problem about man wanting to be justified by the works of our hands.   Cainís offering, which God rejected, was a type of works for salvation.   Adam had no doubt taught his sons to bring a blood offering to God, but Cain brought the fruits of his hands.


Gen 4:1  And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.

Gen 4:2  And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

Gen 4:3  And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

Gen 4:4  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

Gen 4:5  But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.


The rich young man who came to Christ desired to do something to justify himself before God.

Mark 10:17  And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

Mark 10:18  And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

Mark 10:19  Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

Mark 10:20  And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

Mark 10:21  Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

Mark 10:22  And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.


Mat 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Mat 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Mat 7:23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.


At the judgment, many will claim that their good works should be enough to save them.  But the Lord will tell them ďI never knew youĒ which indicates that they never experienced salvation by coming to Christ in this life.


In verse 2, the bible tells us that if Abraham had been justified by works he might be able to glory, but he can not.  Salvation is of the Lord, and our acceptance of Christ is what is required from God.  We find in Genesis that Abraham was justified by faith when he believed God.


Gen 15:6  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.


In the book of James, it says that Abraham was justified by works when he was willing to offer Isaac as a sacrifice.


James 2:21  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

James 2:22  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

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.

James 2:24  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.


The record described here in James came 41 years after Abraham was justified by faith.   From this book, it makes our teaching clear that a man is justified (saved) by faith when he receives (believes in) Christ as his or her personal savior.  A saved person is then justified by his works when he does what God commands him to do.   No one can justify themselves before God with their works.  They must first know Christ, and then do the works as we work out our salvation. 


Rom 4:3  For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Rom 4:4  Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Rom 4:5  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.


Paul asked what Godís word had to say about the justification of Abraham.   He answers in verse 3 with ďAbraham believed God.Ē    Just like the Philippian jailer over in Acts Chapter 16.


Acts 16:30  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

Acts 16:31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.


In verses 4 and 5, Paul explains that if a person was saved because of his good works,  then salvation would be a reward and not a free gift.  Since it cannot be obtained by works, it is a free gift from God.  We do the works of God because of what He has done for us, not in order to pay the debt of our sin.  Jesus paid the sin debt when He died on Calvary.


Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Rom 4:6  Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

Rom 4:7  Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

Rom 4:8  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.


God does not impute (or charge) us with our sin when we know Christ as Savior.


Psa 32:1  A Psalm of David, Maschil. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Psa 32:2  Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.



II.                  Salvation is Independent of Ordinances


Rom 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.

Rom 4:10  How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

Rom 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:

Rom 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.


We see that all received the blessings of God concerning forgiveness of sin whether they were circumcised or not.  Righteousness was reckoned to Abraham while he was yet still uncircumcised.   Circumcision had no saving power but was but a sign.  The sign of the covenant God made with Abraham.


Gen 17:9  And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

Gen 17:10  This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

Gen 17:11  And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.

Gen 17:12  And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.

Gen 17:13  He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

Gen 17:14  And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.


The question of circumcision and following the law for salvation before the apostles in Jerusalem.


Acts 15:1  And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

Acts 15:2  When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.


Acts 15:10  Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

Acts 15:11  But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.



III.                Heirs by Faith Only 

Rom 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.

Rom 4:14  For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

Rom 4:15  Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.


J. Vernon McGee had these comments concerning Abrahamís justification by faith.  ďThe argument now returns to Abraham to illustrate that justification is universal.  Since David has spoken of the joy of the man under the law who has been forgiven, the answer of the Jew would be that David belonged to the circumcision and only the circumcision could expect this joy.  For this reason, Paul returns to show that Abraham was justified before the Law was given and also before he was circumcised.  God made the promise to him, and he believed God long before there was any kind of agreement made at allóother than that God said He would do it.  Abraham believed the Word of God.Ē


By this, we can conclude that any who seek to be saved by their works make void the faith in Christ.  In other words, if once could be justified by works, faith would not really be needed since it would become void and of none effect.  But as verse 15 shows, there is no law that can bring salvation.  The law is our schoolmaster to show us our sin, and no righteousness has ever come by the law.  The law was given to condemn us, not to save us.


IV.               Abraham, the Father of all Believers 

Rom 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,

Rom 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.

Rom 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.


If a person belongs to Christ, then he is Abrahamís seed and an heir.


Gal 3:29  And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.


If we are Abrahamís seed, we should do the works of Abraham.


John 8:39  They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.


What are some of the works of Abraham that we should also do.


        He believed God.

        He walked by faith.

        He was a tither.

        He was a peacemaker.


All of these works are things we should strive to do also.


Rom 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 Sarah's womb:

Rom 4:20  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

Rom 4:21  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

Rom 4:22  And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

Rom 4:23  Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

Rom 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;


Abraham was a man strong in faith who did not stagger at the promises of God.  No matter how impossible Godís promises may have seemed, he simply believed God with unwavering faith.   Those instances of faith are here in the word of God to encourage us.


V.  Raised for our Justification 

Rom 4:25  Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 

Jesus died for our sins and was raised for our justification.  If Christ did not rise from the death bed, we are of all men most miserable. 

Rom 5:6  For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly..


1 Cor 15:17  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

1 Cor 15:18  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.



Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge.  The lessons may not be sold without consent.   If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-322-4343.


Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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