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Chapter 4

Commentary by Tom Brown

Rom 4:1
1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter?
Paul uses the patriarchs to prove his points.
2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about-- but not before God.  
3 What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."  
4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. A boss does not give a wage, but pays a wage. To follow the Law is the same as "working" and trying to earn one's salvation. It is amazing that the Seventh-Day Adventists still insists on obeying the law of Moses for one's evidence of salvation.
5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.  
6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:  
7 "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  
8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him." never count against him. God does not keep record of our sins once we come to Christ. Some have falsely taught that God does not keep record of the sins of sinners. This is not true, or else, God could not judge the sinner for his actions.
9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness.  
10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! Paul proves that it is not necessary to become a Jew before becoming a Christian. He uses Abraham as an example. He was credited as righteous before he was circumcised.
11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.  
12 And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. The fact that Abraham was declared righteous before circumcision and then later was circumcised is proof that he is the father of both the circumcised and uncircumcised.
13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.  
14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless,  
15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. where there is no law there is no transgression. The difference between sin and transgression is this: sin is breaking an unspecified commandment; transgression is breaking a specified commandment. Jews transgressed; Gentiles sinned.
16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring-- not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace. Grace is the free provision that God made to meet all our needs. Faith is the hand that takes what God has provided. There is no dichotomy with grace and faith. Grace is Godís action; faith is manís action.
17 As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed-- the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. "I have made you a father of many nations." God speaks of future events with as much certainty as though they were already past. This is how the believer should talk. He should declare that "by his stripes, I was healed", "My God meets all my needs", "I have the mind of Christ", ect. Don't confess simply what you can see, but instead confess what God has given you.

He is our father. Abrahamís action of faith is an example of what true faith is: 1. He believed in God who raises the dead. This is generally not a problem with most believers. 2. He believed in God who calls things that are not as though they were. This is still a problem to most believers. They often do no understand the need to call things that are not as though they were. 

18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."  
19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-- since he was about a hundred years old-- and that Sarah's womb was also dead. he faced the fact. True faith does not deny the existence of facts, but believes that facts can change when God promises to change them.
20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,  
21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. To show God that he believed, Abram changed his name to "father of many nations" even before he had a child. Abraham changed his name before he saw the promise. This shows that Abraham was calling things that are not as though they were.
22 This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness."  
23 The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone,  
24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness-- for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. Many things are called dead: Sarahís womb and Abrahamís old body. God can give life to some of the dead things in your life, so long as you call things that are not as though they were.
25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. The cross is not effective without a resurrection.

Previous  Chapter 5

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