Summary: A study on the Book of Romans

Work Or Promise, You Choose

Chapter 4

How can a holy and righteous God be just and holy and at the same time allow sinful man to come into His presence?

It also teaches that man is a sinful creature. In fact, he is dead in his sins and trespasses.

Paul views salvation in three ways:

1. as justification (imagery from the law court),

2. as redemption (imagery from the slave market),

3. and as propitiation (imagery from the appeasing of the wrath of God).

On the subject of salvation we had better make sure we have the right answers. Our sacred opinions, and philosophies, or religious undertakings won’t do. What does God say?

We discover that there are no double standards with God.

By His own character, God must be perfectly consistent with Himself. He can not break His own Law nor violate His own nature. He can not have a way for these people to make it and a different way for them.

So to the Jews He gave the Law so they could see their condition.

The law demands perfect righteousness, but it is powerless to produce the perfect righteousness that God demands The reason is because man is sinful at the very core of his being.

Paul goes on to tell us the purpose of Christ’s death. God imputes Christ’s righteousness to our account the moment we believe on Him. This is the only way sinful man can ever have a right relationship with God.


The Apostle Paul says, “Let me illustrate this fact. Here is an example from the Old Testament.”

“For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

Jews supposed Abraham was justified by works or the works of the flesh (4:1-2).

V1 Did Abraham behave right? Is that why the Lord went to him?

V2 If it was then Abraham could boast.

V3 Quotes Gen 15:6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

Accounted - imputed, credited to him

V4 God is in debt with no man.

The key word in Romans chapter four is “reckoned” (vv. 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 22, 23, 24). It means to charge to his account, to credit something to someone’s financial account.

V5 Faith is not our righteousness

Faith links us to the Lord and His righteousness.

Justication does not just mean forgivenss.

Not “Just-as’if-you-have-never-sinned” but it is “you-have never sinned”.

God declares you are guitless. He pronouces man just and righteous.

David understood something of this doctrine.

Ps 32:1-2

1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

2 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

King David is justified by faith (4:6-9).

David is another outstanding Old Testament saint who comes to Paul’s mind. David was a good, upright, righteous, law-abiding citizen, wasn’t he? Didn’t keeping the law save him? No, he wasn’t; he was an adulterer and a murderer with blood on his hands. He was guilty. Then how in the world would God save Him?

He was lost in his sins and “God reckons righteousness apart from works” (vv. 6-8). He was the recipient of God’s grace. He humbled his heart and asked God to forgive him of his transgressions. He believed God’s word.

V9-12 Who gets this blessedness? The circumcised or the uncircumsised?

Outward religious rites cannot give us acceptance before God. Rites can only reveal what already exists.


Gen 17:1-27

1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.

2 "And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly."

3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying:

4 "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.

5 "No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.

6 "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.

7 "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.

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