Summary: Jusification and Abraham. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Romans chapter 4
Last week we looked at the word ‘Justification’:
• Which we noted was a legal term that describes a persons standing.
• Ill: Court of law - to be ‘Justified’ is to be declared innocent.
I emphasised last week that in a human court of law:
• Someone who is found guilty, can never be found not guilty.
• Ill: Always have a record.
• Even though the law may be satisfied.
• A record of your guilt is recorded and kept.
Now the great thing about justification is this:
• God has done something that a human court of law could never do;
• Declare a guilty person innocent.
• “Just as though you had never sinned”.
• Human court may keep a record, but not heaven!!!
We noted how that was done that:
• “By grace” Chapter 3 verse 24.
• “By faith” Chapter 5 verse 1.
• “By blood” Chapter 5 verse 9.
In this chapter Paul continues this idea of justification:
• And he teaches that justification by faith is not new to salvation.
• In fact it was God’s plan right from the beginning.
• And he uses the example of Abraham;
• To illustrate 3 great truths about justification.
• Chapter 4 divides up into three sections,
• In this first section Paul will contrast faith and works.
(2). Justification: Is by faith, not works (1-8)
“1Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What were his experiences concerning this question of being saved by faith? 2Was it because of his good deeds that God accepted him? If so, he would have had something to boast about. But from God’s point of view Abraham had no basis at all for pride. 3For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, so God declared him to be righteous.”
4When people work, their wages are not a gift. Workers earn what they receive. 5But people are declared righteous because of their faith, not because of their work.
6King David spoke of this, describing the happiness of an undeserving sinner who is declared to be righteous:
7 “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sins are put out of sight.
8 Yes, what joy for those
whose sin is no longer counted against them by the Lord.”
A contrast between faith and works.
• Salvation by faith is not a new idea.
• Paul argues that it was God’s plan right from the beginning.
• What Pele & George Best are to football;
• What Van Gogh is to painting,
• What Shakespear is to english litriture,
• So Abraham was to the Jews and much more.
• He is often called “Father Abraham”.
• For he was the founder of the Jewish race.
• Abraham is also called in the Bible the ‘Friend of God’.
No Jew ever questioned that;
• It was considered such a basic fact that Abraham’s was accepted by God,
• That Jews referred to heaven as Abraham’s bosom.
• Paul points to Abraham and asks the question:
• How did Abraham enjoy such friendship with God?
• How was he justified?
• Was it by works?
Answer is no!
• Abraham never boasted before God,
• Because like the rest of us he had fallen short (Rom chapter 3 verse 23)
• Twice he lied about Sarah being his wife (Genesis chapter 12 & 20)
• Which put himself, his wife and others in big trouble, hardly a perfect record.
Question: So how was Abraham justified?
• Verse 3 is a quote from Genesis chapter 15 verse 6 and gives us the answer:
• “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness”.
God made Abraham a promise and he believed it:
• The Hebrew word translated believed means “to say amen.”
• God gave a promise, and Abraham responded with “Amen!”
• Abraham was saved:
• By faith in God’s word, not by works.
Notice the key word:
• Again and again in his argument Paul uses the same word;
• Actually in Greek it is the same word (used eleven times) in this chapter:
• Translated in English in three different ways:
• “Reckoned”; “Imputed”, as well as “Counted.”
• The word he uses is a banking term;
• Which means “to put to one’s account.”
• When a person works, he or she earns a salary,
• And this money is put to his or her account.
• They do not have to beg or bow and scrape before their employer,
• Thanking him for allowing them to work day by day,
• They do not express hollow words like; “They do not deserve their money”.
• In fact the very opposite is true: