FAITH IS FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS… WORKS ARE FOR WAGES- Rom.4:1-4

HNewsWire:

In my last message studying in Romans detailing Paul's statement regarding his teaching about what it means to be "a doer of the law", I explained in the context of ch.1, 2, and 3 that being a doer of the law is to trust God and love as God does. And has nothing to do with keeping the letter of the law. Or said another way, righteousness has nothing to do with works.

In Paul's letter to the Romans this is exactly what he wants us to find. That the Jews who were given the law that began to think keeping it equated to righteousness, needed to know that righteousness has nothing to do with works. And that if they did not get this they would never have eternal life. Let me repeat that. If people do not come to the righteousness that is by faith without works they will never have eternal life.

Now moving into ch.4 and following we will see that Paul's first statements here regarding the faith of Abraham are used by him to put a bow on the previous chapters. By showing that Abraham's relationship to righteousness was by faith without works. Saying that if his relationship to righteousness was by works then righteousness would not be by faith, but by works. And then righteousness would therefore be of reward, and not a gift.

But, when Paul says in vs.10-12, "How was it[righteousness] then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 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: 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."

When Paul says "a seal of the righteousness of faith which he had yet being uncircumcised", he is qualifying saving the righteousness that is of faith. That if works have anything to do with righteousness then it is not by faith. And therefore is not the righteousness that saves unto eternal life.

Now Paul once again makes it clear as he did in Rom.1:13 and 2:14 that he is writing this letter to Jews. By asking the question in Rom.4:1 "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?" When he says "as pertaining to the flesh" he is telling them that he is writing to those whose fleshly bloodline is directly from Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. Those who identify with the faith of Abraham by ceremonial circumcision. The Jews.

I wanted to make this point because there are many who wrongly believe that in this letter to the Romans Paul is writing to the whole assembly at Rome. Basing it on a misunderstanding of Rom.1:13 where he says, "that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles."

At first glance this may appear to mean by his reference to "other gentiles" that he is speaking here to gentiles. But, the word gentiles simply means nations. And because of what he also says in Rom.2:4 and 4:1, and also in Rom.7:1 that he is "speaking to them who know the law", it is abundantly clear that he is writing to Jews, and not the "other nations" or peoples. So what Paul says here can also be said, “… among you Jews also, even as I have among other nations”.

This is an important distinction. Because when we read these things and misunderstand who Paul is speaking to. We will then misunderstand the application of  the things he writes later in the chapter. Things like "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."

Because if as gentiles who were never under the law or held accountable to it, then the question must be asked, what "offenses" can Paul be referring to here? Certainly not our offenses. Because any sins we may have committed were never imputed to us. Because we were never under the law. Only Israel was. And Paul said plainly in Rom.5:13 that sin is only imputed to people who are under law.

So we see once again the importance of rightly dividing the word of truth. So that we do not apply to ourselves, as if we gentiles too are or were under the law, what Paul wrote only to Jews.

So it is Jews to whom he is speaking about these offenses. Because being under the law their violations of the law were imputed to them. They were held to account for them. While this has never been true for the gentile. Because they have never been, nor ever will be, under or accountable to the law.

So because Heb.9:15 tells us that Jesus' death gave power to a New Covenant.

Taking away the first to establish the second as Heb.10:9 says. Jesus being delivered for the Jews offenses who were under the Old Covenant, is what made it possible for their justification when they trust in Him by the New Covenant.

This is a very important point because many believe James2 and Paul's doctrine of faith without works are in opposition to each other. But, this happens only because they do not rightly divide the word of truth. And in not doing so have placed all men, both Jews and gentiles, under the law. Leading to the false belief that the reason that all who have sinned are guilty before God is that all men have broken the law.

Saying that because Paul taught faith without works for righteousness. And James taught that Abraham was justified by his works and not by faith alone. Paul and James must be contradicting each other. But, nothing could be further from the truth.

Because Paul was teaching about faith that saves. While James was teaching about faith that can be seen by others. Paul saying that faith that saves must be void of any works. And James saying that Abraham's faith that he had before doing any works was justified, or confirmed, by his works.

So their teachings about faith were not contradictory at all. To the contrary, they were complimentary. By Paul saying that a man who has saving faith as Abraham did before doing any works will love as God does. And when he loves as God does he will show his faith as James says by helping others in need to see God's love. Showing his faith so that others can see it by his works.

Now when the Jew asked "should we sin that grace might abound" in Rom.6:1, they showed they completely misunderstood what Paul meant. Because 1Cor.15:56 says it's the law that gives sin it's power.

This what Paul just told them in Rom.5:20,21 where he wrote, "Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."

So even though sin reigns unto death when it is empowered by the law, grace through faith in the promise that came 430 years before the law, abounds even more for those who were under the law when they believe as Abraham did. Because even though sin was empowered by the law to cause many to believe their righteousness was by works of the law. Grace through faith was empowered even more by the promise when they would believe as Abraham did for righteousness.

This is why Paul spends so much time speaking about works vs faith. Or works vs grace. It is his intention that the Jews he is writing to at Rome be made aware that they are not to think of righteousness as if it was the result of their works. But, that righteousness only comes by grace through faith.

The "faith of Christ" he writes of in Gal.2:16. Showing that it is when we believe in Jesus in the same way He believed the Father that is righteousness. So that "no flesh shall be justified/righteous by the works of the law".

So, remember while you are reading Romans, that Paul is speaking to Jews about righteousness. Showing them that the righteousness that comes through works of the law that has made the law an idol to them is the "sin that dwelleth in them" and "in their members" he said in Rom.7:20-25 makes them wretched men still in need of deliverance from the body of this death. Which deliverance is available to them only through faith in Jesus.

Agreeing also with Isaiah who said, "Your righteousness' are as filthy rags to the Lord." Why? Because their righteousness' were of works. Works of the law. And as Rom.6:23 says the wages of that sin is death. It is only the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus without works that brings the gift of eternal life and immortality.

Through the rest of ch.4 Paul gives greater detail of what this looks like. Saying of Abraham again, "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. 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.

For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

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."

Adding in vs.20,21 that "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."

In this Abraham was a doer of the law when there was no law. Because a doer of the law is not one who keeps the letter of the law. He is one that believes God. And that believing is righteousness. And through that trust he learns to love as God does. And when we love as God does we have eternal life. Because to love God is to know Him. John17:3. And John17:20-23 tells us that by loving God and each other we are made one with God and with one another.

Abraham shows this love when interceding with God for his nephew Lot in Gen.18. Showing the spirit of the law, or as Paul put it in Rom.2:14,15, "the work of the law written in his heart", before there was ever a law given, by doing to others as Abraham would want them to do to him.

So what we see here in Rom.4 is Paul expounding and building upon what he wrote in the first 3 chapters of his epistle. Showing that our faith in Jesus apart from any works is our side of the relationship that makes us righteous. Joining us to Him in the love of God that makes us one with Him and with each other.

In our next study in Romans we will look at how this love is developed in us by the Holy Spirit that comes to dwell in every believer. Leading us who are the sons of God by a spiritual birth that comes when we believe in Jesus and His resurrection. Through our life experiences learning to love as God does.

A birth that is required for us to be His children and heirs to His kingdom. A birth that 2Cor.5:17 says makes us "new creatures in Christ". New as in something that never existed before. A spiritual man like Jesus was when He came as a man to live among us.

In 1Cor.15:45-50 Paul explains how and why this had to happen. He says, "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.

As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."

So Paul says it is because the first Adam was made a living soul, and not a living spirit, that men need Jesus. And only Jesus because only by the power of His resurrection has mortality and death been defeated. So that only through faith in Him and His resurrection we can be made "as the heavenly". By a spirit that has been birthed in us now, to live in eternity in an immortal body because of the resurrection.

No longer "of the earth earthy" as Paul said Adam was when he was made a living soul. But, a new creation in Christ which is "of the heavenly". A spiritual being made so by the new birth. By being born from above as Jesus said we must to see the kingdom of God.

So if you want immortality and eternal life then ask Jesus and He will give it to you. Trust in Him as He trusted the Father. Having the faith of Christ that alone can make you righteous.

If you will do this then you will be born from above. If you will do this then you will have eternal life. If you will do this then you will receive immortality through the mystery of the change that happens at the speed of "the twinkling of an eye". If you will be a doer of the law by trusting in Jesus without works... then I will see you there or in the air!

This message can also be heard at: https://rumble.com/v2l5x2u-april-29-2023.html

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