Summary: Justification by faith apart from works has always been God’s plan for salvation. Abraham was an Old Testament example.
Justification by faith apart from works has always been God’s plan for salvation.
Old Testament example is Abraham.
1. Only Blind Faith Leads to Righteousness
What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?
2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
3For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
4Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
5But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, Romans 4:1-5
Only blind faith leads to righteousness since any reliance on human achievement makes grace impossible!
The Proof Case of Abraham
Abraham was justified before circumcision, circumcision is not a basis of justification.
Romans 4:13-17 proves that since Abraham was justified hundreds of years before the Mosaic Law, then justification cannot be based on the Law.
Romans 4:18-25 summarize Paul’s arguments by concluding that Abraham was justified by his faith and not by his works.
a. Abraham makes for a good proof case
b. Human Achievement cannot contribute to salvation by
grace thru faith since it leaves room for boasting
c. The Testimony of the Old Testament is clear
d. Human Achievement cannot contribute to salvation by
grace thru faith since it leaves room for obligation
e. Only Blind Faith leads to God imputing righteousness
to the undeserving
2. Only the Forgiveness of Sins Brings True
Just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
7"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;
8Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin." Romans 4:6-8
Only the forgiveness of sins brings true happiness since even the best of us can never atone for our own failures!
Paul turns for support of his argument to Psalm 32:1-2, a penitential psalm written by David after his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband (2 Samual 11).
In spite of the enormity of his sin and the utter absence of personal merit, David knew the blessing of imputed righteousness.
According to Jewish law a question was settled by two or three witnesses.
Paul calls two witness from the Old Testament to testify to justification through faith: one from the Law (Romans 4:1-5) and one from the Prophets (Romans 4:6-8; 3:21; Acts 2:29-30 where David is called a Prophet).
What an we do to get rid of guilt?
King David was guilty of terrible sins-adultery, murder, lying-and yet he experienced the joy of forgiveness.
We, too, can have this joy when we;
1) quit denying our guilt and recognize that we have sinned,
2) admit our guilt to God and ask for his forgiveness, and
3) let go of our guilt and believe that God has forgiven us. Yet, this can be difficult when a sin has taken root in our life over many years, when it is very serious, or when it involves others.
We must remember that Jesus is willing and able to forgive every sin.
In view of the tremendous price he paid on the cross, it is arrogant to think that there is any sin too great for him to forgive.
Even though our faith is weak, our conscience is sensitive, and our memory haunts us, God’s Word declares that sins confessed are sins forgiven (1 John 1:9).
3. Justification Cannot Depend on Religious Rites
Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.
10How then was it accounted?
While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised?
Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.
11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also,
12and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised. Romans 4:9-12
Justification cannot depend on religious rites (Like Circumcision) or be restricted to any special group (Like the Jews) since faith is God's universal plan of salvation.
Remember Abraham was justified before he was ever circumcised and before the Law.
4. Justification Cannot Depend On Obedience to
For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
14For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, 15because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.