Summary: LENT 2(A) - God guarantees our inheritance not earned by man’s righteousness but freely and perfectyl given by Christ’s righteousness.
OUR GOD GUARANTEES AN INHERITANCE
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17 - March 7, 2004 = LENT 2
ROMANS 4:1-5, 13-17
1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about--but not before God. 3What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."
4Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness….
…13It 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. 14For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
16Therefore, 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. 17As 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.
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Dear Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
Last week as we looked at the Book of Romans, we heard that mankind is not in control. We are not in control when we consider how insignificant we are in comparison to the vastness of the universe around us. We are in control of some things. In the end we are comforted knowing that God is always in control. We are comforted knowing that God knows what is best for each and everyone of us. We are thankful that God does what is best for each and everyone of us. The fact is we are thankful as our text points out this morning that God has made each and everyone of us a guarantee--God guarantees our inheritance. The Lord God reminds us today with the example of Abraham that because of our faith our inheritance is guaranteed. Paul describes in another letter in Corinthians: "Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come" (2 CORINTHIANS 1:21,22). We now look at that guarantee that God has made for each one of us and to each one of us. GOD GUARANTEES OUR INHERITANCE – an inheritance
I. that we as people cannot earn with our own righteousness
II. that God provides through the righteousness of Christ
I. An inheritance not earned by man’s righteousness
We recognize Abraham as a great man of faith because of all the things that happened in his life and, because Scripture calls him that. Our text began with a question: 1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? Paul asked about a matter that Abraham learned about, and that matter was justification and faith. What did Abraham learn about justification and faith? When we look at the example of Abraham, we discover that God made many promises to Abraham, and God kept all of His promises. We think of the time when Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac. God promised, even though he didn’t take along anything else to sacrifice except his son, that He would provide a sacrifice. Abraham went, built the altar, had the wood to start the fire, and was drawing his knife to sacrifice his son; and the Lord stopped him. Abraham learned that as he put his faith and complete trust in God, God would always do as He said. God always did, always would and always could do just as He promised.
Our text describes that Abraham believed, not as a work, but because of the faith that God had given him. If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about--but not before God. Scripture describes many of the things that Abraham did in obedience to God’s promises and commands. Because of everything Abraham did some people say, "Look at all the things he did to save himself." If Abraham felt that way, he could boast about how he had saved himself; but that boasting would do no good before God. It was God who saved him. In order to better understand this, he uses the example of working and the debt that is owed to a worker compared to a gift. Paul writes, 3What does the Scripture say? 4Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. He says there is a difference, isn’t there? To those that work, they earn wages or a reward or some other kind of payment. It is a debt that is owed to them, but faith is entirely different. Faith is a gift. God’s righteousness is a gift. Our text explains, 3What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." It wasn’t what Abraham had done, but it was what God had done for him that saved him. It wasn’t Abraham’s righteousness that saved him, but it was the righteousness of God. Abraham could have kept all of the laws, and that still would not save him. In verse 13: 13It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise (Remember God made many promises to Abraham.) that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15because law brings wrath. Remember Paul was trying to remind these believers that the law could not save them, that their own works could not save them. The law was only able to show them their sin. The law did not show them their Savior.