Romans 4:18-25

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

The first major section of Romans deals with man's lack of righteousness. It shows the need for the righteousness of God. All humanity lacks the righteousness of God, and, therefore, stands condemned before God and deserves to spend eternity in hell. Romans 3:21 begins the second major division of the book of Romans. It deals with God's provision of righteousness: justification by faith and extends from Romans 3:21 through 5:21. In Romans 3:21-31 we see God's righteousness provided by faith; in Romans 4 we see righteousness by faith illustrated in the life of Abraham.

We remind ourselves that Abraham is the father of the Jewish nation. All Jews are descended from Abraham through his son Isaac. Therefore, the Jews were quite proud of their relationship to Abraham. No one doubted Abraham's salvation. Was the way in which Abraham was saved consistent with what Paul has been writing, that we are saved by faith rather than by any works which we might do? Romans 4:1-8 shows that Abraham was saved in exactly the same way we must be saved. He believed what God said.

We have seen the necessity of faith - 4:1-2

We have also seen that the object of faith is God - 4:3a

Furthermore, we have seen that the result of faith is righteousness - 4:3b

Then we looked at the principle of faith contrasted with the principle of works - 4:4-5

Finally, we saw the outcome of faith - 4:6-8

We saw that righteousness is reckoned (4:6), that sin is forgiven (4:7a), that sin is covered (4:7b), and that sin is not reckoned (4:8).

In Romans 4:9-17 we have seen that Abraham's righteousness was by faith and was independent of circumcision. This proves that righteousness is available for Gentiles as well as for Jews.

We have seen that righteousness was given to Gentiles as well as to Jews (4:9)

because righteousness was reckoned to Abraham before he was circumcised (4:10)

because circumcision was merely a seal of the righteousness that Abraham had already obtained by faith - (4:11a)

because justification by faith prior to circumcision enabled Abraham to be the father of all believers - (4:11b - 12)

because the promise that Abraham should be the heir of the world was intended to be brought to pass by means of the righteousness of faith rather than by means of keeping the law (4:13-17)

I. ABRAHAM'S RIGHTEOUSNESS WAS ENTIRELY BY FAITH - 4:18-22

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.

Romans 4:18 Who (i.e. Abraham) against hope (i.e. contrary to hope - there was not even the slightest hope that he would be able to father a child at about age 100.) believed (because God said so) in hope (i.e. in expectation - He knew it would happen), that (in order that or for the purpose that) he might become the father of many nations (it was what Abraham definitely believed was going to happen), according to that which was spoken (Abraham based his faith, belief, or trust upon God's word), So shall thy seed be (a quotation from Genesis 15:5 ).

Genesis 15:5 - And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

Romans 4:19-22 - 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: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

Romans 4:19 19 And being not weak (i.e. being not powerless or not being powerless. It is understood in a causal sense, i.e. because {or since} he was not weak {or powerless}.) in faith (i.e. because he was very strong in faith. He believed what God had said. Therefore, it mattered not to him that he was about one hundred years old and that Sarah at age ninety was physically well past any natural possibility of conceiving and bearing a child.), he (i.e. Abraham) considered not (i.e. he did not even begin to consider or he never considered) his own body (physical body) now (i.e. already or by this time) dead (i.e. worn out, impotent, or as good as dead), when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb (Humanly speaking, Sarah was incapable of conceiving or of bearing a child, but God had promised him a son. That was all there was to it. It was a settled matter.). It simply did not matter to him that he was impotent. God had promised him a son, and that was all he needed. He believed that God was capable of fulfilling His word. It also did not matter to Abraham that Sarah was too old to conceive or to bear a child.

Romans 4:20 20 He staggered not (he did not begin to doubt, he did not begin to waver, he did not begin to be at odds with himself). ) at the promise of God (i.e. because of the promise of God) through unbelief (i.e. in unbelief or by means of unbelief. Abraham did not even begin to fail to believe God's word even though the circumstances were completely unfavorable.); but (indicates a strong contrast) was strong in faith (suggests he became strong {or he grew strong} in faith and reminds us that he was not always strong in faith.), giving glory to God (i.e. while he gave glory to God).

Romans 4:21 21 And being fully persuaded (suggests because {or since} he was fully persuaded, i.e. fully convinced, completely assured, or absolutely certain) that, what he (i.e. what God) had promised, he (i.e. God) was able also to perform (i.e. to do). Abraham recognized that God was quite capable of accomplishing whatever He had promised.

Romans 4:22 22 And therefore (i.e. wherefore or for this reason - i.e. because Abraham was fully persuaded that God was able to accomplish whatever He had promised, Abraham believed God's promise that he would have a son.) it was imputed to him for righteousness (the righteousness of God was credited to Abraham's account).

II. JUST AS ABRAHAM WAS JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, SO WE CAN BE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST HAS PROVIDED FOR OUR JUSTIFICATION - 4:23-25

Romans 4:23-24 - 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 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.

Romans 4:23 23 Now (introduces an explanation in which Paul begins to explain why the Holy Spirit saw fit to include in the inspired Scriptures the statement that) it was not written for his (i.e. Abraham's) sake alone (i.e. only), that it (i.e. righteousness) was imputed to him (credited to Abraham's account). The obvious implication is that it was written for someone else's sake in addition to Abraham's.

Romans 4:24 24 But (the fact that righteousness was imputed to Abraham was written) for us (i.e. for our sake) also, to whom it (i.e. righteousness) shall be imputed (i.e. shall be reckoned or shall be counted), if we believe on him (i.e. if we trust or commit ourselves to God the Father) that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. The form shall be imputed indicates that righteousness will definitely be reckoned to those who believe on God Who raised Jesus from the dead; it is not just something with a potential for happening. Righteousness will be imputed to us if we believe God and take Him at His word.

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

Romans 4:25 25 Who (i.e. Jesus) was delivered (i.e. given over to those who crucified Him) for (because of or on account of) our offences (i.e. our transgressions, our sins, or our false steps), and was raised again (from the dead) for (because of or on account of) our justification (i.e. our vindication or our acquittal).

It pictures God as the judge and the believer standing before Him receiving His judicial verdict. He declares us righteous, He gives us the righteousness of Christ, and He forever afterward treats us as righteous. The reason Jesus was raised from the dead was in order to demonstrate God's seal of approval upon Jesus' sacrifice for sin. If He had not been raised from the dead, we might have concluded that God had rejected His sacrifice because of some personal sin on Jesus' part. Instead of being viewed as our sin-bearer, He would have been viewed as a sinner who died, suffering the just consequences for His own sin. Of course, Jesus never committed sin of any kind. Therefore, He was raised from the dead in order to demonstrate that we can be justified by faith.

CONCLUSION:

The conclusion of the matter is that righteousness comes by means of faith and is available for all people, not for Jews only.

Have you placed your trust in Christ as Savior?

If not, won't you do so today?