Romans 4 illustrates the concept of faith through the life of Abraham. To correctly interpret this chapter we must read Genesis 15:1-6 and Genesis 17:1-14, 22-24. Then we must factor in when and to whom was the Law given. When we have all these reference points clear, then we see how Paul makes his argument that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ and not by the Law or Circumcision.
Today we look at Romans 4:13-25.
The promise realized through faith (13-25)
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.14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.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,
Remember our introduction. The Law was given many years after Abraham lived. It is not the Law that makes us righteous, but faith in God and His promises.
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.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.
God chose Abraham to be the father of all of us. Gentiles and Jews. The promise God made to Abram in Genesis 15 was carried out by allowing Abraham to be father to both the Gentiles and Jews. The conflicts we have today in the Middle East are the result of this sibling rivalry.
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: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.
Do women conceive at the age of 90? No. Abraham believed God could do whatever He said. Do we have that kind of faith?
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;25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
And yet we have believed the impossible. Who would believe that God would send His only Son to die on a cross, shedding His perfect blood to pay our sin debt, be buried, and three days come out of the grave alive? WE DID! We did it by faith in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As Abraham’s act of faith changed the world, so does ours. When our faith is put in Jesus, the result is a changed life, and one ready to reach others for Christ, ultimately changing the world.
“Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”
Go do the same.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001