Christ's Disciples Web Site

Romans Chapter 4

(Galatians 3:24-25)
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

This entire chapter is not about the physical act of circumcision at all, but that physical act being a sign of a spiritual change as an example only, that one is indeed truly changed inside, separate, different. The circumcision did not save Abraham, did not make him a man of God or a man of great faith at all, because it came later on. It merely was (and is) an outward sign of an inner change, much like baptism by water immersion is today. The water makes us wet. It never saves us-Jesus Christ does.

The purpose of the Law was to have Israel be obedient to God, to show God in His Holiness through their obedience. No other nation was to act like them, as no other nation was to be given that law directly from God, only through the nation of Israel. The purpose of the Law was also to protect them from harm, disease, their enemies, the wild beast, protect the family unit, keep societal order and, most of all, separate them from the world merely by being different, so as to bring the pagan gentiles to God through them. Finally, the purpose of the Law was to point them to Christ as a schoolmaster in every way, through ever law. The nation gave rise to the Messiah despite them breaking the Law, despite the work of the enemy to destroy the nation, destroy the lineage, destroy the firstborn in Israel (Bethlehem), etc. because God is Sovereign, period! God is able to do so without the Law, as God does not need the Law-He gave it! Further, this was conditional, as long as they obeyed. They we re an example always-a good one, when obeying, a bad one, when disobeying. They because a byword and God was mocked because of it. It is the same with us, in the often heard questions, "You call yourself a CHRISTIAN?!".

(Romans 4:1)
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
  • Speaking to Romans who are both Jews and Gentiles, Paul calls Abraham OUR father, not just the father to the Jews
  • This is the one side of any man, the flesh and not the spirit
  • Paul will continue to contrast the flesh and the spirit, the promise through faith and the the promise through the law, the faith and the law
  • The implied answer here, in the context of the previous and upcoming chapters, is death through the flesh
  • Jesus made this case to them in John chapter 8, and Paul
  • There is an eternal, massive difference between being a seed of Abraham in the flesh only, and a seed of Abraham and a child of God by the Holy Spirit
  • "In other words........"
  • Abraham is our father(Jews and Gentiles) spiritually, of the Jews(Jacob) and Arabs(Edom) literally, physically, genetically
  • Abraham did not find works saved him
(John 8:33-45)
They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

(Romans 9:6)
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

(Romans 4:2)
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
  • To be justified by men and glory, boast is not God's Grace, not salvation
  • Anyone attempting to get to God by works, on their own, is not justified with God and will not stand before God innocent
(Romans 4:3)
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
  • A quote, the same as saying, "It is written"
  • Abraham was not justified by works at all, as Paul has been saying throughout, as the Scriptures of the Old Testament have said throughout
  • The "IF" means he was not, because "IF" Abraham were justified by being a good person, we all know how he would boast of it, like any religious adherent would do today in any other religion than Christianity, which live by useless, dead faith and works. Take your pick.
  • Abraham believed God when he was told by God,
    1. Leave your home
    2. You will not know the destination "A land that I will show you" (future)
    3. I will (future) bless you
    4. I will make of you a great nation(future)
    5. You will have so many descendants that no one will be able to count them(future)
    6. In addition, God made him wait for Isaac until both he and Sarah were very old!
  • Abraham looked to God, not at his circumstances, which would have brought family resistance.
(Genesis 15:6)
And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

(Galatians 3:6)
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

(Romans 4:4)
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
  • One would think that working might produce some reward from God, as this is how the world thinks.
  • We are born already in debt, from the age of accountability, owing God for our sin as it is
  • So when we practice religion "to be saved", it not only stands for nothing-it puts us into debt to God, behind!
  • The more one works to be saved (works salvation), the more debt. Think about that..that is religion
  • This is because it is quite is not what is required and so, lacking faith, the debt is paid in eternity in never gets paid off
(Romans 4:5)
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
  • All one has to do is believe and come by faith, period.
  • notice it says that God justifies the UN-godly, not the godly!
  • this is because that, by faith through faith, the ungodly are made godly by God only
(Romans 4:6)
Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
  • There is no way that a person receiving a free, unearned, unmerited gift of salvation from God could not be blessed
  • To impute means to put into one's account
  • "Righteousness without works" is the exact polar opposite of all religions in the world
  • Adam's sin was accounted to us unwillingly, with no participation by us, automatically, by merely entering this world
IMPU'TE, v.t. [L. imputo; in and puto, to think, to reckon; properly, to set, to put, to throw to or on.]
  1. To charge; to attribute; to set to the account of; generally ill, sometimes good. We impute crimes,sins, trespasses, faults, blame, etc., to the guilty persons. We impute wrong actions to bad motives, or to ignorance, or to folly and rashness. We impute misfortunes and miscarriages to imprudence.
    And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Rom 4.
  2. To attribute; to ascribe.
    I have read a book imputed to lord Bathurst.
  3. To reckon to one what does not belong to him.
    It has been held that Adam's sin is imputed to all his posterity. Thy merit Imputed shall absolve them who renounce Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds.

(Romans 4:7)
Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
  • Salvation....forgiveness.....what a blessing.
  • In the Old testament, sins were covered by the sacrifices of the innocent animals, temporarily for the lost Jews, not looking to the Messiah, for earthly
  • In the same Old Testament, the sins were removed for those who believed in the Coming Messiah
  • In the New Testament, our sins are removed completely for the believer, (Jew or Gentile)
  • In the New Testament, our sins are left imputed, and places debt on us completely for the unbeliever, (Jew or Gentile)

(Psalms 103:12)
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

(Romans 4:8)
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
  • God will not impute sin by His Divine Will, not by our works
  • We have no influence, as our "work" is only to believe
(John 6:29)
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

(1 John 3:23)
And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

(Romans 4:9-10)
Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
  • Is this salvation available to just Jews? Or Gentiles
  • Paul is saying in the second part that Abraham was uncircumcised and not a Jew yet, but a future father of the future Jews, since Isaac and Jacob and the nation were not yet in existence, only foretold
  • All Abraham did was believe God in Genesis 12 when God made many promises to him.
  • Abraham was called in chapter 12
  • Abraham was circumcised later, in chapter 17
  • Abraham is the prime Scriptural example to us all (Jews, Gentiles, Church) of being justified as UNcircumcised, versus being justified before God as CIRCUMCISED

The Call of Abraham, the Uncircumcision and the Circumcision

(Genesis 12:1-4)
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

(Genesis 17:9-10)
¶ And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

(Romans 4:11)
And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
  • This is because circumcision is in the flesh, and is a work, and must be still accompanied by the work of faith
  • The work of faith is what was needed; the circumcision was a fleshly, bodily, earthly sign (a seal) of that belief in God-but it was not absolute proof!

SEAL, n. [L. sigillum.]

  1. A piece of metal or other hard substance, usually round or oval, on which is engraved some image or device, and sometimes a legend or inscription. This is used by individuals, corporate bodies and states, for making impressions on wax upon instruments of writing, as an evidence of their authenticity. The king of England has his seal and his privy seal. Seals are sometimes worn in rings.
    The wax set to an instrument, and impressed or stamped with a seal. Thus we give a deed under had and See l. Wax is generally used in sealing instruments, but other substances may be used.
  2. The wax or wafer that makes fast a letter or other paper.
  3. Any act of confirmation.
  4. That which confirms, ratifies or makes stable; assurance. 2 Tim 2.
  5. That which effectually shuts, confines or secures; that which makes fast. Rev 20.

(Romans 4:12)
And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
  • Abraham is an example of salvation without legalism, faith without works, Jew and Gentile kin becoming one
  • Those who walk in the steps of circumcision, Jew (circumcision) or Gentile (who walk in the steps of faith only), by faith, become the Church
(Romans 4:13)
For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
  • The promise was made to the Messiah, because believers or not the promise to Israel was the land of Israel forever, not the world
  • Israel inherits Israel forever; Jesus redeemed the world, the earth, at the Cross, forever to Himself
  • We all as believers partake in that conquest of the Cross
(Exodus 19:5)
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

(1 Corinthians 10:26)
For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.

(Psalms 50:12)
If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.

(Revelation 11:15)
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

(Romans 4:14)
For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
  • If the Law saves, if religion saves, there is no need to believe
  • If the Law saves, if religion saves, there is no need for grace
  • In fact, if the Law saves, if religion and works save, there is no need for believing faith at all, it is destroyed
(Romans 4:15)
Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
  • Without the Law, mankind in his natural state will do whatever he wants and the earth would be filled with violence, as it is now
  • This is the internal conscience sort of law, and the actual laws and law enforcement of governments ordained of God on earth through all of history, until today
  • The fact is, without an absolute right and wrong, there can be nothing declared as wrong. Ask any pagan, any New Ager, any staunch atheist!
(Romans 4:16)
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
  • We only have to believe and it is freely extended, given as a gracious free gift
  • Otherwise we would all have to convert to Judaism and perfectly keep the Law....any takers?
  • "Of the law"...the Jews, the Old Testament, those Old Testament promises made to Israel
  • Of the faith.....the Gentiles, the Church, the New Testament, the promises made to us
(Romans 4:17)
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
  • Before God, Abraham in the Spirit is our father also, as we are grafted into the tree
  • =We are not direct descendants in a bloodline of earthly heritage, but in the Blood of Jesus
  • God alone raises the dead, raised Jesus, will raise us, will raise all of the dead, some to everlasting life, some to everlasting death
(Romans 4:18)
Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
  • Abraham saw impossible things come to pass, from him and Sarah giving birth to Isaac, to Isaac's attempted sacrifice
  • This was to fulfill his destiny by faith, seeing these miracles.
  • When it is not against hope, it is a mere occurrence. When a miracle happens that is so incredible, it is by faith we believe it, so this is what makes Abraham our father by faith, not by the flesh, by sight....he had to be our father by faith
(Romans 4:19)
And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb:
  • In the flesh, he was unable to father children, as was his wife Sarah, but trusted that God was able
  • That was all not even required, trust/faith for God to fulfill His promise, but he did anyways
(Romans 4:20-21)
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
  • Pretty much explains itself from the previous verses, as a recap
  • Staggering not means he never once even doubted it, but said, "OK. I trust you, LORD"
  • What was easy for Abraham is often too hard for us, and yet he had no Scriptures like we do to read about the full history of his son, his people, his nation, his very life from then on until his death-all unexperienced, yet foretold
(Romans 4:22)
And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
  • Because of this faith exercised while uncircumcised, God blessed him and this faith was saving faith. like ours-only he had no Messiah for centuries yet!
(Romans 4:23-24)
Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
  • This is why we have this entire part of a man's life recorded and handed down to us
  • We can understand that this saving faith is available to us in the exact same manner
  • Abraham kept no law, yet righteousness was imputed to him, as with us having no law
(Romans 4:25)
Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
  • The death of Jesus Christ took away our sin and imputed to us God's righteousness
  • The Resurrection from the dead gave us life and is our justification to stand before Him


Daily Verse

Read more