Today I am excited about Paul’s text 4:23 which connects…the faith of Abraham and the righteousness of God bestowed on him because of it… to OUR faith in God, and God bestowing His righteousness on us as well… :) but also!!
(I trespassed’ I am Justified)
Let's pick up reading in:
Romans 4:13 (CSB)
(God’s moral laws are so good! We just can't keep them all because of sin)
14 If those who are of the law are heirs,(O) faith is made empty and the promise nullified, (differing translations?)
(forgiveness is available through the grave that comes in ‘believing’ - as is we never broke the law))
16 This is why the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace,(R) to guarantee it to all the descendants(S)—not only to the one who is of the law[g] (Jewish ancestry) but also to the one who is of Abraham’s faith. He is the father of us all. (why? Believer in God 🙂)
(God - can do that in the physical… and the spiritual life )
He did it for Abraham - both physically…
And He wants to do it in US Spiritually. 🙂
?? Have we come to terms that without God's help we are in a world with evil spirits rebelling against the holy spirit of God the creator - and trying to get all of us to do
Abraham walked in faith with the creator of the universe.
He believed the One who promised ‘good’ to him. And he ‘followed’ him.
?? Do we believe God has given us spiritual life, when without His grace, we are existing ‘without Him; in a spiritual darkness leading to death of hopes of our oneness with God.
?? Can we let that sink deeper in?
It all comes down to believing in the same God Abraham did.
(If we are ‘dodging’ our common identity in the faith of Abraham’,
I wouldn’t be surprised if we are also ‘dodging our accountability to God’s Words.
Turn Eph 2:From Death to Life
2 And you were dead(A) in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world,(B) according to the ruler of the power of the air,(C) the spirit(D) now working in the disobedient.[a] 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly(E) desires, carrying out the inclinations(F) of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath(G) as the others were also. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy,(H) because of his great love(I) that he had for us,[b] 5 made us alive(J) with Christ even though we were dead(K) in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6 He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,(L) 7 so that in the coming ages(M) he might display the immeasurable riches(N) of his grace through his kindness(O) to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For you are saved by grace(P) through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created(Q) in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time(R) for us to do.
Unity in Christ
11 So, then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,”(S) which is done in the flesh by human hands.(T) 12 At that time you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise,(U) without hope(V) and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood(W) of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who made both groups one(X) and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In his flesh, 15 he made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that he might create(Y) in himself one(Z) new man from the two, resulting in peace. 16 He did this so that he might reconcile both to God in one body(AA) through the cross by which he put the hostility to death.[c] 17 He came and proclaimed the good news(AB) of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.(AC) 18 For through him we both have access(AD) in one Spirit to the Father.(AE) 19 So, then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,(AF) with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building, being put together,(AG) grows into a holy temple in the Lord.(AH) 22 In him you are also being built together(AI) for God’s dwelling(AJ) in the Spirit.
It all comes down to believing in the same God Abraham…. did.
(back to our text today in Romans ch 4.v 18
18 He believed, hoping against hope, (?)
according to what had been spoken: So will
“hoping against hope,”? He hoped? When others would stop hoping?..
Contrast Abrahams hope to that of another righteous old man promised a son in old age by God:
And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this for certain? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years." Luke 1..
19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel,(AA) who stands in the presence of God,(AB) and I was sent to speak to you and tell you this good news. 20 Now listen. You will become silent and unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”
Abraham… ‘believed’ - see the difference?
Rom :4:19 -
19 He did not weaken in faith
and also the deadness of Sarah’s womb.(AB)
20 He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith
(? how? It's unclear? God’s ways are mysterious. There are times He seems quiet when we are looking for answers.. Yet there are also times when He speaks clearly to the questions we may have: Look at Genesis 18:
(the Lord appears to Abraham with 2 other angels in the forms of men..
18 The Lord appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre (A) while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent during the heat of the day. 2 He looked up, and he saw three men standing near him.(B) When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them, bowed to the ground, (Abraham has had 5 interactions with the Lord prior - (gen 12, 13 ,14,15,17) to that end - he ‘somehow’ recognizes Him )
So he says:
3 and said, “My lord, if I have found favor with you, please do not go on past your servant.
4 Let a little water be brought, that you may wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 I will bring a bit of bread so that you may strengthen yourselves. This is why you have passed your servant’s way. Later, you can continue on.”
“Yes,” they replied, “do as you have said.”
6 So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Knead three measures[a] of fine flour and make bread.”[b] 7 Abraham ran to the herd and got a tender, choice calf. He gave it to a young man, who hurried to prepare it. 8 Then Abraham took curds[c] and milk, as well as the calf that he had prepared, and set them before the men. He served[d] them as they ate under the tree.
9 “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“There, in the tent,” he answered.
10 The Lord said, “I will certainly come back to you in about a year’s time, and your wife Sarah will have a son!” (C) Now Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him.
13 But the Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Can I really have a baby when I’m old?’ 14 Is anything impossible for the Lord?(F) At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.”
15 Sarah denied it. “I did not laugh,” she said, because she was afraid.
But he replied, “No, you did laugh.”
We see here, God doesn’t stick his head in the sand when we question his plans for us - He cares enough in this case - to clearly speak to them - to both encourage.. And correct our lack of faith..
Back today in Romans 4:20 Paul teaches of Abraham:
Strengthened (endunamoo - to put power in)
Jesus encourages us that the smallest faith that begins will grow to do big things.. Faith as small as a mustard seed will be able to move mountains’
?Is the idea that we have to exercise our faith.. Test it.. For it to grow?
and gave glory to God,
One definition of glory - ‘to give a proper opinion of’..
John MacArthur any faith that does not glorify God is not of or from Him.
Metaphorically, diakrino means to distinguish, discern, judge, decide, and came to mean to be divided in one’s mind, to hesitate and to doubt
This passage is causing me to re=think…. My thoughts..
I.e.’ am I being anxious over something because of lack of faith in God.. It's causing me to wonder.. Has God said things in the bible.. That are promises…. To me… some 4000 years later?
What a great reason to search the scriptures.. Looking for promises of God’s commitments?... to Me? ]
That's fantastic.. But God’s spirit.. In the life of those He is drawing… and the lives of those who have received Him - tells us.. Yes.. the promises of God are something YOU should fix your eyes on.. And explore them.. And put a priority on letting THAT exploration.. Lead your journey in life.
22 Therefore, (!! see above verse)
(Spurgeon) “Whenever, dear hearers, you catch any of us who are teachers doubting and fearing, do not pity us, but scold us. We have no right to be in Doubting Castle. Pray do not visit us there. Follow us as far as we follow Christ, but if we get into the horrible Slough of Despond, come and pull us out by the hair of our heads if necessary, but do not fall into it yourselves.”
‘Godet’ defines the Greek word for waiver: and then summarizes Abrahams ‘imperfect faith -that should encourage us: Listen in for a moment and imagine it..
The idea of diakrino is that Abraham was not divided, did not vacillate between two opinions, between belief and unbelief or between faith and doubt like many believers do. When from the human viewpoint things are going well, it is easy to trust God. But when things seem impossible, it is often easier to not trust Him.
Don't misunderstand. A struggling faith is not necessarily a doubting faith, any more than temptation to sin is not actually sin. Tests of our faith are designed to strengthen our faith, not to strip us of faith. Abraham was tested as few have been tested and his faith grew as a result.
Abraham’s faith was not perfect, just as no believer’s faith is perfect. The first test he had to face was a famine in Canaan, and Abraham went to Egypt for help instead of to God. That disobedience put him in a compromising situation with the Pharaoh. He claimed that his beautiful wife was his sister, fearing that the Pharaoh might kill him in order to have her for himself. In so doing, Abraham dishonored the Lord and caused plagues to come upon the pharaoh’s family (Ge 12:10-17).Despite his spiritual imperfection, Abraham always came back to the Lord in faith, and the Lord honored that faith and continued to renew his promises to Abraham.
The Lord gave repeated assurances to Abraham, and Abraham responded in faith, which God “reckoned … to him as righteousness” (Ge 15:6). But again, when testing came, he relied on his own judgment rather than the Lord’s word. When Sarah was getting beyond normal childbearing age and remained barren, Abraham took her foolish advice and took matters into his own hands. He committed adultery with Hagar, Sarah’s maid, in the hope of having a male heir by her. But (as always happens with disobedience) his disobedient act backfired and again caused misery to the innocent (Ge 16:1-15). He also brought future misery to his own descendants, with whom the Arab descendants of Ishmael, the son by Hagar, would be in continuous conflict, as they are to this day.
Despite his spiritual imperfection, Abraham always came back to the Lord in faith, and the Lord honored that faith and continued to renew his promises to Abraham. God miraculously caused Sarah to bear a son in her old age, the son whom God had promised to give Abraham. And when the greatest test of all came, Abraham did not waver in his trust of the Lord. When God commanded him to sacrifice Isaac, the only human means through which the promise could be fulfilled, Abraham responded with immediate obedience, and God responded by providing a substitute for Isaac (Ge 22:1-18 Heb 11:17-19).
As is always the case with true belief, the Holy Spirit enlightened 🙂 Abraham’s mind and heart to recognize the true and only God, and enabled him to respond in faith. 🙂
:) wow! What a great verse!!!
We are the future generation God told Abraham to look up to the stars in the sky and see.. Us… our choice in 2023..
“Us” says Paul 🙂
Commentators try to clarify and summarize:
justification is God’s declaring us to be righteous based on Jesus taking all of our sins on Himself on the cross. God credits the perfect righteousness of Christ to every ungodly person who believes in Him (Ro 4:5)
God does not credit our faith as righteousness as if faith were a work on our part that God agrees to accept as payment for our sins. Our faith is not viewed as some sort of righteousness that is good enough to cover our sins. Rather, faith lays hold of Jesus Christ, who becomes the righteousness of God for us
(The Faith of our Father) Ray Stedman - Now if we believe upon the God who raised Jesus from the dead and we are ready to live on the basis of his death and his life for us, we, like Abraham, are heirs of all the world. All these things are yours, Paul says. The indwelling of the Spirit is granted to us moment by moment, and day by day, all our life long. And we, like Abraham, are the friends of God
Today can we ask ourselves.. As others have:
?? DO I personally believe in God who delivered over Jesus to pay for our sins and raised Him from the dead to confirm our justification.
Who…. believes in Him .. who RAISED Jesus our Lord from the dead!?
The God of Abraham.. Raises up.. His only Son.. who becomes the permanent sacrifice for atonement of sin. “Atonement”
He made us One with Him again..
He pays for sin so I don’t have to.
He’s Holy, so He is raised to life again after suffering the death of sin…
I can be.. Because ‘holiness’ died for me.
Incredible. Today’s passage encourages.. Be thrilled that the God of the universe calls us to relationship just as Abraham was..
"For whatever was written in earlier times (referring to the Old Testament) was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." rm 15:4
And we can be thrilled that HE.. God … became our sacrifice for sin as well.
Outcome. Peace with God for us.
?? What is He calling us to see today? For me?
“See the wonder of walking through this life with the God of Abraham…
As we share in the faith… of Abraham
“See the wonder of being forgiven of sin, and walking daily in that forgiven state - that loved state… loved that much.. By God..
Confessing our sins to Him as they occur, genuinely our ‘way of escape’ from those sins… and accepting the freedom and peace that forgiveness brings..
James says there is no sin that is not common to man… and God is faithful to show us our way of escape :)
CH 5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,(A) we have peace[a] with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.(B) 2 We have also obtained access through him(C) by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand,..
‘Justified’ (Wuest) “Here it speaks of the judicial act of God the Father delivering God the Son to the justice that required the payment of the penalty for human sin.”
Let's close with this final consideration, possible application for us, and a prayer:
Steven Cole (What is a Christian) noticed how Martyn Lloyd-Jones expresses his concern that some people speak only about Jesus, but never mention God the Father.
Others put the emphasis on God, but don’t see their need for Jesus.
And others put all their emphasis on the Holy Spirit, while some hardly mention the Spirit.
Lloyd-Jones’ plea is that we maintain the balance of Scripture, where everything starts with God and ends with God. The work of Christ is designed to bring us to God and reconcile us to Him. The work of the Holy Spirit is to apply the work of Christ to us who believe. But it is all aimed at bringing us to glorify God. OUR FAITH MUST HAVE SPECIFIC CONTENT, NAMELY, WHAT SCRIPTURE REVEALS ABOUT GOD, SIN, CHRIST, AND SALVATION.
Abraham didn’t have faith in himself or faith in faith itself or faith in positive thinking. Rather, he believed the specific promises of God. Even so, our faith must have the specific content of what the Bible teaches about God, who is holy, just, and loving.
We must believe the biblical revelation about the pervasiveness of human sin, which renders us all incapable of seeking after God or pleasing Him.
We must believe in the full deity and sinless humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to die as the substitute for sinners.
And, we must believe that we are saved—rescued from God’s wrath—by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
It is important to say that our faith must have specific content because there are those who… argue that we are to believe in Jesus, but not in specific doctrines about Jesus or about salvation. They contend that doctrine only divides us, so we should set it aside and just believe in Jesus without the doctrines. But clearly the apostle Paul didn’t spend an entire chapter arguing that we are justified by faith alone if that doctrine doesn’t matter for our salvation!
The Bible is filled not only with stories, but also with many doctrines that are vitally important to our salvation and our spiritual health.
Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons claim to believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord, but their doctrines contradict and deny the Jesus and the way of salvation set forth in the Bible.
There are many Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Protestants who believe in the Jesus of the Bible …, but contrary to Scripture, they believe that we are saved at least in part by our good works. But Paul said that the Judaizers, who taught that to be saved we must believe in Jesus plus keep the Mosaic Law (especially circumcision), were damned (Gal. 1:6-9). So we must believe in sound doctrine, especially regarding doctrines related to salvation…. So we need wisdom and discernment to major in the things that matter. We all need to be growing in our understanding of the content of the Bible so that we don’t minimize key doctrines or maximize minor ones.
Today is a day to ask ourselves afresh.. Am I standing in faith in the God of the bible?
In the grace of God, in the bible? :)
- Like Abraham… through faith in relationship with the Father.
Like Paul In grace through God’s ‘Unmerited’ forgiveness through His Son..
?? Are we responding in faith.. To the encouragements in faith.. That the Lord is giving us?
?? Should we be surprised that God.. would have something for each of us ‘to believe’ what others….don't’?
(Mark 5:35-36) “While (Jesus) was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?" 36 But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, "Do not be afraid, only believe."
20 He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith