These faithful acts seem to give Abraham cause for boasting, but Abraham’s deeds were not always faithful. Come to Jesus, crucified for sinners! He explained (ibid. 5But to him who doesn’t work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. As noted above, Jews considered Abraham to be justified by works. • and the fact that righteousness is possible only through faith (3:21-31). • the righteous judgment of God (2:1-16); “But to him who doesn’t work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (v. 5). For a Jew, a quote from the writings of Moses had great theological weight, especially relating to Abraham, who was seen as the father of the Jewish nation. 5:6). It’s an accounting term that means that God credited to Abraham a righteousness that did not inherently belong to him (Moo, p. 262). While Abraham was relatively good when you compare humans with humans, in God’s sight we all have sinned and fall short of His glory. We can be saved only if God chooses to save us. Faith means taking the gift of Christ’s full payment for your sins, much as you would thankfully receive a check from a wealthy man who offered to pay a large fine that you couldn’t afford to pay. ), The Lectionary Commentary: The Second Readings: Acts and the Epistles (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001), Briscoe, D. Stuart, The Preacher’s Commentary: Romans, Vol. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. Just as God created a people of God out of Abraham’s physical descendants who had become slaves in Egypt, so also God also created a people of God out of lowly Gentiles. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. He spends eternity in the unspeakable joy of heaven. It’s a short step from there to believing that any person who follows Abraham’s example of obeying God will be accepted by God. This privilege of an immediate transformation will belong to the believers who shall be alive at … First (4:4) Paul gives a negative example from everyday life that we can easily understand. It was common for letters to begin with the name of the person writing the letter and the What Paul says about sin and grace in Romans flies in the face of the traditional Jewish belief about Abraham, in part because of Genesis 26:4-5, where God promised Isaac a blessing “because Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my requirements, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” In Romans 4, Paul seeks to show that it was not Abraham’s works that made him righteous before God, but his faith. That’s not fair! Who can boast of personal accomplishment in the presence of the creator of the universe? That, however, is not what Paul says. In the 1990’s, many evangelicals signed a document, “Evangelicals and Catholics Together,” that would relegate justification by faith alone to the sidelines. So it’s a very important text to understand. Just as the believer cannot storm the gates of heaven demanding admittance on the basis of righteous deeds, neither can he/she demand admittance on the basis of belief. No political volunteer can demand to visit the Oval Office. It would be accurate, therefore, to say that the employee enjoys a certain power over the employer at this point. Copyright, Steven J. Cole, 2010, All Rights Reserved. Why/why not? The verb, elogisthe, is an accountant’s word. The only fulfillment of the promise that Abraham was allowed to witness was the birth of Isaac—his son and heir. Why must I see myself as ungodly before I can be justified? A street sweeper who was unkempt, ragged, and filthy was known to everyone and there was a suitable place in the picture for him. The ASV, which is also in the public domain due to expired copyrights, was a very good translation, but included many archaic words (hast, shineth, etc. Saul means asked and this was the name he was using when he was persecuting the Christians. He/she has no currency to purchase salvation, but is wholly dependent on God to provide it as a gift. However, this does not mean that, in the absence of the law, there is no sin or accountability for sin. The key personalities in the book of Romans are the … 3For what does the Scripture say? That evil, depraved murderer deserves to burn in hell!” If that’s your reaction, then you may not understand the crucial, bedrock message that Paul sets forth in our text, that…. Come with your despair. If God justifies the ungodly and you’re ungodly, there’s hope for you! B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), Wright, N. Thomas, The New Interpreter’s Bible: Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Vol. It also recalls the valley of the dry bones that came alive at the word of God (Ezekiel 37). The World English Bible is based on the American Standard Version (ASV) of the Bible, the Biblia Hebraica Stutgartensa Old Testament, and the Greek Majority Text New Testament. Create. As she nears death, you ask her why God should let her into heaven. See also Genesis 17:15-21; 18:11-14). The passage in Genesis raises the question, “What did Abraham believe and why did God credit it to him for righteousness then?” We know that he had believed God previously, when he left Ur and set out for Canaan (Heb. But you trust God’s promise that “while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. “Now to him who works, the reward is not counted as grace, but as something owed” (v. 4). No, he owes you the money. The Catholic Church launched the counter-Reformation and published The Canons and Decrees of Trent in large part to attack justification by faith alone (see my “Justification by Faith Alone,” Aug. 11, 1996, on fcfonline.org). “but not toward God” (v. 2). Some commentators argue that the phrase, “according to the flesh,” should not modify “forefather,” but rather, “has found.” Thus Paul would be asking whether Abraham found some way, according to the flesh apart from God’s grace, to be justified. Christ’s substitutionary death paid the just penalty for the sins of those who will trust in Him (3:25). 4-5). 3 For what does the Scripture say? Romans 5:12 - Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread... - Verse-by-Verse Commentary Hi, ... as usually explained, means nothing else. Much you appreciated his kindness was as much in need of God ’ service! 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