Romans 4:16-25
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16 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, - Romans 4:16


Question: Why are we saved by faith? We established last week that the plan God set forth to obtain righteousness has always been and would always be a credit gifted on the basis of faith and not a wage earned on the basis of works. The new and old testaments testify to this as Paul just established. Now the big question is why?


Answer: The answer is in this verse. "in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all," In other words, because it is a righteousness by faith it becomes sure as indicated by the word "guaranteed". Why are we saved by faith? Because then our salvation wouldn't depend upon us and our works but upon God "in accordance with grace". If we are righteous because of our works and good deeds or by following a list of rules than what happens if we fail to perform or break a rule? We become unrighteous. God would not have it! Salvation was to important of a matter to God for it to be contingent upon our performance. If it was contingent upon our performance we could do good 4 days out of the week but on the 5th day blow it royally. So God has made it by grace so that it is sure, it's certain. So then it doesn't depend on my faithfulness to God but it now depends on God's faithfulness to me. And because my relationship with God depends on His faithfulness to His word, His promise, I have a sure relationship! I can come anytime, the door is never closed. When I blow it royally, when I fail miserably I can still come anytime because God isn't imputing inequity to me, God isn't taking into account my sin (Rom. 4:8). Our salvation is a guaranteed thing because it rests entirely on Him and His accomplishments (John 19:30).


For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9


"For by grace you have been saved" the entire work of salvation is done by God and His grace and no part of it is accomplished by man and therefore it does not fail because He does not fail. "Through faith" this is the avenue in which salvation is received. It's like God gave us a bazillion dollar check but we can't bank it until we endorse it. If I wanted to give you a gift, even a colossal gift, that gift wouldn't be yours unless you received it. God has given us so great a gift, a free, unearned, unmerited, gift of eternal life (Rom. 6:23) but not everyone receives this gift (Rev. 3:20, Acts 7:51, 2 Thess. 2:10, Luke 13:34, John 5:40) though it's offered to all (1 John 2:2, Titus 2:11, 1 Tim. 4:10, Acts 17:30, John 12:32, Matt. 22:14). Note that faith should never be the focus, to make faith the focus is to make faith a rule and thus a work and puts us back into the realm of thinking our relationship with God is teetering on our performance. Abraham's faith did not justify him by it's own merit or value as if to earn the crediting of righteousness, but rather it was the actual act of God, in His grace, that gifted Abraham with righteousness. Absolutely nothing earns righteousness from God, not even faith. God credits righteousness based on faith but God does not pay righteousness as owed to one who has faith (Rom. 4:4-5).


17 (as it is written, “A father of many nations have I made you”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. - Romans 4:17


God is eternal, God is omniscient (meaning He knows everything), therefore God can speak of things that hadn't happened as though they have happened. God exists outside of time and therefore God is not limited by time. He calls those who will be His children His children before they accept Christ and here He says to Abraham "A father of many nations have I made you" before Abraham had any children at all. Now when God said that to Abraham he didn't look around as if he was wondering where they all were. You see, from Abraham's point of view he had no children but from God's point of view he was the father of many nations. Because God is not limited by time and God is the beginning and the end (Rev. 1:8, 22:13) this both hasn't happened (in terms of a present time view) but has also already happened (in terms of an eternal point of view). Though Abraham, from his point of view didn't see it, He believed God "who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist". By sight Abraham would have only been confused, but by faith, Abraham, though not knowing how believed God was capable and would do as He said.


18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” - Romans 4:18


"In hope against hope he believed". In other words in hope by faith which was in opposition to the hopelessness seen by sight since Abraham was an old man and he and his wife were past child bearing age (Gen 17:17, 18:11). In other words there was no hope that Abraham would have children, but Abraham believed God and continued to hope. One one hand, with his eyes, Abraham felt hopeless (Gen. 17:17) but on the other, with his faith, believed God and was hopeful. Hope against hope meant Abraham felt both at the same time. We too struggle with this. Sometimes both line up. Sometimes what we believe by faith lines up with what we see by sight. We believe God wants us to have a job, and then things line up making it look like we're gonna get that job, and we hope with hope, or hope on both levels. Other times though, we know God has every hair on our head numbered, and that He deeply cares for us, and then tragedy strikes. With our faith we know God cares for us and wants to take our anxieties (1 Pet. 5:7) on the other hand by sight things look dire. In this moment we can either take God at His word or listen to what the circumstances tell us. By faith Peter walked on water, but when he looked at the waves it was then he began to sink (Matt. 14:29-30). This is why Paul tells us we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). The two co-exist and the two do not always line up, not because they are contradictory, but sight is limited by our natural senses and in our flesh we do not have total knowledge, nor are we capable to understand the depths of God (Rom. 11:33). Therefore let's heed his advice and take God at His word!


19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; - Romans 4:19


Let's look at that contemplation in the old testament.


17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” - Genesis 17:17


This is what Abraham's human reasoning told him. Yet Abraham did not link his faith to his sight. Abraham wasn't blind to the natural senses, it even tells us that his very heart questioned the validity of what was promised since he and his wife's advanced age. Even though that's what the natural man was able to comprehend Abraham chose not to lean on His own understanding but chose to believe God despite what was perceived through his natural senses. Abraham acted according to Prov. 3:5-6


Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight. - Proverbs 3:5-6


Circumstances will arise in our life that if we focus on them we may say "It's hopeless!" Abraham could have very well said that about having a child but he didn't. Abraham could have surveyed Sarah's decades of infertility and given up but he didn't. Neither did Abraham tiptoe around God's promise asking cautiously skeptical questions but despite what his reasonings were telling him He deliberately took God at His word and plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what He had said.


20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. - Romans 4:20-21


So on one hand Abraham did contemplate the circumstances, that is, that he was impotent and Sarah had gone through the change of life. Yet on the other hand it was not by this he chose walked, but rather, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God. Abraham was deliberately choosing to take God at His word and even gave glory to God, that is, Abraham celebrated what hadn't even been performed yet. Reasonings didn't line up with God's promise but Abraham chose to take God at His word even though his reasonings and even his heart were in opposition (Gen. 17:17). When your heart is in opposition to God's word it means even what you feel isn't lining up with what God has said. Feelings are powerful. Very poweful and they shout for attention. Abraham didn't feel his way into God's promise, nor did he reason until he could understand it. Rather, blind to the flesh with eyes of faith He chose to take God at His word despite what everything in his natural being was telling him.


33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33


I've heard the saying "seeing is believing" but that's not true. It's the other way around, "believing is seeing". Christ did not say "but take courage; you'll figure it out and be victorious." He said take courage He overcame it and was victorious! One of the fundamentals of exercising faith is not focusing on the problem but focusing on Jesus Christ and His word. When we focus on our problems they get bigger and are magnified. Like Peter after he focused on the waves we find ourselves crying out "Lord I'm perishing" (Matt. 14:30). The beautiful thing though is God is still faithful. We may feel like we are perishing but as He was faithful with Peter He is also faithful with us when we're looking at the waves and crying out. The very next verse says "Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him...". While Christ physically had a hold of Peter that was symbolic as Christ always had a hold of Peter and in the same way He also has us secured.


God speaks to us about our salvation and sanctification as having already happened. The very name Jesus means "He will save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). In God's eyes they are already His though He came here to save them. This is what's so exciting when God speaks about our sanctification and glorification in Him (Rom. 8:29-30). To us it's happening but to Him it's already happened. He's already been successful in doing it in His eyes! Therefore we can find great assurance when God speaks about our salvation and sanctification, why? Because while I'm in the process of being sanctified God sees it as an accomplished fact. Therefore He speaks on it as past tense because He's been to the future and to Him who is the beginning and the end (Rev. 22:13), it's already happened! Did you know when you read through the book of John Jesus speaks of one who believes having eternal life in past tense? He does not speak as it being something we will obtain but as something we've already obtained.


47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. - John 6:47 (see also 3:36, 5:24, 6:54).


How could this be unless God was confident that what He started in us by His grace He would also finish in us by His grace. I in my own weakness and my limitation see my progression and my growth and I'm struggling but God sees it as already accomplished and speaks of it as an accomplished fact!


For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. - Philippians 1:6


Coming full circle, Salvation is by God's grace. Because it's by God's grace it's bulletproof. Yes there is a work to do but God has taken on that task Himself and we will most definitely succeed and we can be assured of that! Not because of who we are or what we're doing but because of who God is and what He's done and God is always faithful to His word and His character (2. Tim. 2:13). God will finish in you what He started, because He has said it, we can take Him at His word and we can rest! It's what we need and it's what He wants!


28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30


As a struggling legalist I honestly read this and on faith, accepting it, it makes me want to go outside, and like a 4 year old just twirl in the yard as an adult it makes me want to praise God! I'm so exhausted, the idea of God taking on the work load that I should be doing, to meet the demands that are required of me, well it's quite exciting! And since He's going to do ALL of it, I honestly can go waste my time twirling in the yard, care free, like I once did as a very young child. So yes, Christ, I'm putting my trust in you. If you need me, I'll be on the front lawn.


22 Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. - Romans 4:22


God delights in us trusting in Him. This is what He wants. God loves it when people accept the cop-out from work that He provides on the basis of faith. God loves to credit us with righteousness! It's a delight to Him, It's actually something He longs to do! (Isa. 30:18). If it were not so than salvation would not be by faith. But the very fact that God made salvation by faith tells you that Him, His goodness, His nature, loves to bless, to gift us with salvation, sanctification, and even share in His glory (John 17:22, Rom. 8:16-17, 2 Thess. 2:14)!


23 Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, - Romans 4:23-24


In other words it's not just to the benefit of Abraham these things were written but just as it was with Abraham so it is with us. That if we believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead it will be imputed to us His righteousness! (2 Cor. 5:21).


25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. - Romans 4:25


Christ was crucified because we transgressed, because we sinned. He was raised from death to make us right with God.


God will always speak truth, everything He says is true, completely true and is always true. God, though infinite in power, because of His pure and righteous character cannot lie (Heb. 6:18, Num. 23:19). Satan on the contrary, who's very name means "adversary" seeks to put us under condemnation. Satan, who Christ said is the "father of lies" (John 8:44), will draw our focus to anything but Christ. Like he does with Paul he will seek to torment you by way of a messenger (2 Cor. 12:7). You need to be deliberate in choosing who you will believe, who you will listen to. Satan will draw your attention to reasonings, feelings, and anything that will get you to question the truth (John 17:17) like he did with Adam & Eve in the garden (Gen. 3:1) and attempted to do with Jesus in the wilderness (Matt. 4:6). All lies originate from Satan, this is what makes him the father of lies. The issue comes that will you listen to what God has said, or will you listen to the father of lies and doubt what God has said and remain under that false sense of guilt and unworthiness. Or will we trust God and rejoice that God has given us His word that we stand before Him righteous, holy, complete in Christ Jesus in His righteousness which has been imputed to us through our faith and trust in Jesus.


He's the Great Physician because His healing is solid, it's sure, it's lasting, and it doesn't change. When I'm changing it's unchanging, when I'm varying it's unvarying, when I'm wavering it's unwavering. My relationship with God is certain, it's sure, it is established, because it isn't relying on my accomplishments, that is my works, but it is relying on the accomplishments of Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross on my behalf. God is resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ, we need to also rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ.


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