Summary: Through faith we appropriate God’s free gift of salvation.
The Ramifications Of Faith
Text: Romans 4:13-25
1. Illustration: For God does not want to save us by our own but by an extraneous righteousness, one that does not originate in ourselves but comes to us from beyond ourselves, which does not arise on earth but comes from heaven. – Martin Luther
2. Many associate the term Sola Fide-Faith Alone with Martin Luther.
3. In his letter to the Romans Paul has been stressing this ideal that we are saved not by our works, but by faith alone.
4. There was a song that I was fond of when I first became a Christian called, “I’ve Been Redeemed.” It was one of those songs that seemed liked it had hundreds of verses to it. One of my favorites was, “Oh you can’t get to heaven in an old Ford car, because you know it just won’t go that far!” That verse reminds me that we can’t work our way into heaven. We can only accept it by faith.
5. In our text today Paul tells us that…
a. Faith Brings God’s Promises
b. Faith Brings Hope
c. Faith Brings Salvation
6. Let’s read rom. 4:13-25.
Proposition: Through faith we appropriate God’s free gift of salvation.
Transition: First we learn…
1. Faith Brings God’s Promises (13-17).
A. Comes By Faith
1. Paul turns from the topic of circumcision to the topic of receiving the promises of God. His argument is that it was Abraham's faith and not keeping the law that appropriated God's promises to Abraham.
2. In v. 13 Paul says, “Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith.”
a. Paul here begins his argument concerning the promises of God.
b. Promise is a key term in this section of the letter, and it appears four times in vv. 13-22.
c. The term that is used here "involves a declaration to do something with the implication of an obligation to carry out what is stated (BDAG 355d). (Harvey, Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament: Romans, 115).
d. Paul's point in this verse is that the promises of God could not be achieved through keeping the law but only through the righteousness that comes by faith.
e. We should notice that Paul refers to the promise of God as a free gift, and that gift is received by anyone who has the faith of Abraham because he is the father of all who believe (Osborne, 113-114).
3. Now look at what Paul says in vv. 14-15, “If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. 15 For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)”
a. Here Paul clarifies his point by saying that if you the promise came by keeping the law then both faith and the promise of God are pointless.
b. In fact, in the Greek text is uses the phrase "null and void."
c. In other words, if it was possible to be holy and gain our eternal inheritance by our own achievements, then faith would be unnecessary.
d. If we could achieve God's standard by works and obedience than the need for God's promises would be removed.
e. Faith would have no value and be emptied of its purpose and role in God's plan of salvation, and the promise of God would be pointless and ineffective.
f. Galatians 3:18 (NLT2)
18 For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise.
g. Too many churches are focusing on the law rather than on grace, and too many Christians are placing their trust in what they are doing rather than on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
h. Too many people are trusting in their own ability rather than on the cross!
i. In fact, Paul goes on to say that the only thing the law does is bring punishment.
j. Does that mean that the law is bad? Of course not! If it wasn't for the law, we wouldn't know that we are sinners.
k. He gave the law as a means for us to maintain a right relationship with him.
l. The problem is that we are incapable of keeping it, which produces sin; and sin produces judgement.
m. You have to love the way Paul puts it here, "the only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!"
n. It is impossible to keep the law, and that was never the intention, but rather to show us our need for a savior!