as the divinely appointed example in justification by faith and the most
complete illustration to us would follow him who is called the “father
of the faithful.” (see v. 16)
AIM: That we
might seek to be found in the way of faith as was Abraham and to be
known by the evidences of faith in all we do.
persuasion of Paul is thorough and so having provided many proofs
regarding salvation and righteousness without the Law, he provides us
with the designated example of faith and justification.
first appears to us in the last part of Genesis 11, and his death is
recorded in chapter 25.
2. Of course, that is not the end of the
story and that which we learn from his life lives on in the Gospel
testimony that was delivered to him.
3. Paul devotes most of Romans 4
to the biblical testimony of Abraham and we do well to give attention to
it in that the pattern for our own faith in practice is set forth.
THESIS: As we have before
encountered justification is a most precious truth to those who receive
it by faith and who are found after the example of faithful Abraham in
believing God and so claiming the righteousness that is without the
works of the Law.
I. The truth asserted (vv. 1-3)
1. We are
challenged with yet another question from Paul (v. 1)
1) He claims,
as do other Jews, to be descended from Abraham but only incidentally.
2) It is rather that something has been discovered that is of importance
to all and so
3) It is not what we have found – but what Abraham has
found and left as a heritage for us.
2. Paul’s conclusion is that the
prominence of Abraham would be owing to his works if, indeed, this were
1) Not only would Abraham glory in his works but so would
all if such were the way of salvation.
2) But, there again, as we
have said before, men just do not glory in the presence of God – they do
it for themselves and before other men.
3) Certainly, there is no
boasting with him (see v. 3:27)
3. The question is resolved in
Scripture: And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for
righteousness. Genesis 15:6.
4. What was it that Abraham believed
(first promised in chapter 12): 1 After these things the word of the
LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy
shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what
wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is
this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast
given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And,
behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be
thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall
be thine heir. 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. Genesis 15:1-5.
importantly is who Abraham believed. He certainty desired what the Lord
had promised and the fact that he believed him.
6. Counted to him for
righteousness – Christ was the righteousness to be received!
The truth contrasted (vv. 4-5)
1. The thought of working is connected
to the reward and how it comes. Abrahams’s real reward was not merely of
lands and nations – It was the Lord himself (Gen. 15:6)
1) There are
two benefits we share with Abraham the first being that the Lord is our
2) The second is that He is our “exceeding great reward.”
2. If any aspect of this is related to works or obedience outside of
faith, It would be of debt
1) Many today proceed to teach men to make
deals with God
2) One might make the same demands of God that one
does for wages owed.
3. It is rather to him that offers no works but
rather takes the Lord at His word believing that it is He that
4. Faith does not equal righteousness, but is counted so
because of what it believes – that justification is by grace, by the
blood, and has no connection at all with works.
5. God does not make
deals – He mercifully justifies through Christ – Faith is the outcome
and the vindication of divine justification.
III. The truth
applied in the testimony of David (vv. 6-8)
1. David calls this a
matter of blessedness (happiness)
1) The pride of many would dictate
that they claim some credit for themselves
2) Yet, true blessedness
comes in knowing Christ and that His righteousness is imputed and that
“not of works lest any man should boast.”
2. There is forgiveness:
sin and iniquities removed
3. There is covering: out of the sight of
justice through the atoning work of Christ and so: As far as the east is
from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Psalms
4. Having imputed their sins to Christ, the blessedness is in
knowing that God will not impute them to those who come unto God by Him
5. The prospect before us because of these things of mercy and grace
produce happiness now and assure that it shall be so forevermore.