Summary: We must get over the law, and come in with faith.

Romans 4:1-5, 13-17


BY: Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport

News, VA

A lot of us think we can become acceptable or right with God by simply doing the best

we can.

Many of us actually believe that we can gain God’s approval by being reasonably

good--by being a respectable and upright citizen, and by occasionally helping others who

are less fortunate.

But in our scripture lesson for this morning we are faced with an amazing fact: human

beings can not get right with God by simply doing good works.

We can only get right with God through faith!

Let’s take another look at verses 4 and 5.

“Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.

However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith

is credited as righteousness.”

When a person works, someone owes them something.

And if we could work for righteousness, that is, work so that God would owe us

righteousness, God would owe us something!

But God, being God, is completely self-sufficient--God cannot be put in debt to


Therefore the only way we can be righteous in the eyes of God is to do what Abraham

did--and that is to believe God.

Romans Chapter 5 states that it is the ungodly people--those ungodly people who

believe God--

Those are the people who are counted as righteous.

But how can this be?

It’s because we are all ungodly. We are all sinners. We all fall short of God’s glory!

There is no one who is perfect! Not one!

Therefore we all must admit our ungodliness--rejecting self--knowing that we need


We must give ourselves up completely, and give our lives to God alone.

We must believe God through faith that God is more than willing, and more than able

to save us from our sins.

But if we do not admit our ungodliness, reject self, and call on God for God’s help--

Then we have declared ourselves to be self-sufficient and self-righteous.

And we have condemned ourselves to be unjustified.

Not because God rejects us, but because we have not believed God--and therefore

have rejected God!

As Jesus states so clearly in John chapter 3, “Whoever believes in Him is not

condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not

believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

And just think of how many people do not believe!

The Bible states that without faith there is no forgiveness.

And without forgiveness there is no salvation, there is no relationship with God, there is

only condemnation.

Therefore, as Christians our job is one of urgency!

We’ve got to get out the Word!

We’ve got to lead others in the right direction--the direction that leads to faith in Jesus

Christ--the direction that brings humankind into a right relationship with God.

We who have been saved through faith have the truth!

We who have been saved through faith have the light!

Are we letting our lights shine?

Are we inviting others to church?

Are we telling others about the difference that our faith in Christ has made in our lives?

Are we doing what God requests of us?

The Bible says that Abraham did as God requested.

He went out not knowing where he went.

He completely and unquestionably trusted God and took God at God’s Word.

Notice that it was not Abraham’s keeping of the law that pleased God.

As a matter of fact, the law had not even been given yet!

What pleased God and what caused God to justify Abraham was that Abraham did what

God said.

Abraham simply believed the promise of God that God would give him a new life--in a

new nation--with a new people.

And isn’t this what God promises those of us who put our faith in Christ?

How many testimonies from how many Christians down through the ages have there

been--where the converted never would have expected the new life that faith in Christ

brings--would never have expected to become a citizen of heaven while still on earth--would

never have expected to be surrounded by a community of faith--a new people?

Let’s look at verses 14 and 15:

“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.”

The law voids faith: it erases any hope of ever recieving the promise of eternal

life--because the law demands perfection.

The law insists that it be obeyed.

But no person can keep from coming short and breaking the law of God at some point.

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