Summary: Paul makes clear there is only one way to righteousness and the promises associated with salvation - Faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ
Romans 4:13-25 – Righteousness by Faith
Who wants to earn a $1,000.00?
If you can jump up and touch the ceiling I will give you $1,000.00
Background to the Book of Romans
Paul wrote this letter to the Church of Rome primarily made up of Jews who had brought the gospel message back there after the Day of Pentecost
Major book outlining the Christian faith
Paul approaches the task like a lawyer presenting his case
He presents the good news
Salvation is available to all, regardless of a persons identity, sin or heritage
We are saved by grace, (unearned, undeserved favor from God)
Through faith (complete trust) in Christ and His finished work
Through him we stand before God justified, (not guilty)
Subject here is how we are to attain righteousness before God
We all stand guilty before God in our carnal state because of our sin (sin separates us from God)
God because he loves us even in our carnal state, wants to move us legally to a position where he can accept up and grant us the gift of salvation
The only way he can accept us is if we are righteous – a holy God and sin do not mix
Rom 4:13-15 It 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. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
What are the two ways we can attain righteousness?
One that comes through obedience to the law,
and one that comes through faith
So we have a choice – we can attain righteousness through perfect obedience to the law, or we can trust in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ
What is the risk involved in the way of the law? For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath.
The big risk we take in trying to attain salvation by trying to live up to the requirement of God’s law is we may fail and experience the wrath of God
The law is a stern taskmaster, it requires 100% obedience, in other words – perfection
How many of us have lived perfect lives?
In our analogy, it means jumping up and touching the ceiling every time even though it is impossible
What Paul is arguing is, the only way to true righteousness is by the path of faith
If we try any other way, we are not living by faith, but rather by our own “Works”
We keep jumping but never ever achieving the goal
So true faith is not expecting God to accept and love us simply because we have tried our best to obey some standard
In fact, if we live on those terms, we cannot receive what God wants to give us
Paul’s cites Abraham’s example as proof that this method can never bring us the gift of righteousness and he tells us why
First, notice that Abraham received the gift, the promise of righteousness, long before the Law ever was given.
V.13"It was not through the law," Paul says, "that Abraham and his offspring received the promise."
In fact, if you look at Galatians 3:17-19, you find that Abraham received the gift of righteousness 430 years before the Law was given
Galatians 3:17-19 This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. 18 For if the inheritance could be received only by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God gave it to Abraham as a promise.19 Well then, why was the law given? It was given to show people how guilty they are
Notice that last line. The law was not given so we could attain righteousness, but to show us how guilty we really are
So its impossible for us to attain righteousness through the law
Now we have another problem if we try to attain righteousness through the law
Paul says, If we insist on trying to attain righteousness through the law, it renders the promise worthless.
v.14 "For if those who live by the law are heirs [of the promise], faith has no value and the promise is worthless"
Let’s go back to the jumping exercise