ROMANS CHAPTER 4

OBSERVATION STAGE

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic which limits the observer to the content offered by the book of Romans. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

Notice that 4:1 begins with "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter?" This continues Paul's discussion of justification by faith alone as opposed to works. Immediately below is an excerpt from chapter three to review this:

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[Excerpt from chapter three below - or skip to verse 4:1 ]:

FAITHFUL HUMAN DOING IS NEITHER CONTRIBUTABLE, NOR ACCEPTABLE TOWARD, NOR A SURE RESULT OF AN INDIVIDUAL'S JUSTIFICATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE. NOR IS IT A RELIABLE MEASURE OF WHETHER OR NOT ONE IS SAVED

(v. 3:20) "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the Law; rather, through the Law we become conscious of sin. (v. 3:21) But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. (v. 3:22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (v. 3:23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (v. 3:24) and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (v. 3:26 NAS) for the demonstration, [I say] of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (v. 3:27) Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing [the] Law? No, but on that of faith. (v. 3:28) For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing law." =

Relative to an individual being declared righteous, (v. 3:20); i.e., justified unto eternal life, boasting is excluded. This implies that faithful human doing is neither contributable, nor acceptable toward, nor a sure result of an individual's justification unto eternal life. Hence believers may or may not be acting faithfully in their mortal lives from time to time. So faithfulness or a facsimile of it is not a reliable measure of whether or not someone is justified unto eternal life. This is corroborated by Paul's answer in v. 3:27 to the question he poses in 3:26 relative to an individual receiving justification unto eternal life: "On what principle [can one be justified]? On that of observing law?" His answer is "No, but on that of faith." Note that the word rendered "law" in Greek is without the definite article signifying not a specific law but the quality of law, i.e., laws governing human behavior which include the Mosaic Law. This is a repeat of what is conveyed in verses 3:20-22:

(v. 3:20) "No one will be declared righteous, [i.e., justified], in His sight by observing law, rather through law we become conscious of sin. (v. 3:21) But now a righteousness from God [unto eternal life] apart from law, [any human doing], has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets [the Scriptures] testify. (v. 3:22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe."

Notice that saving faith in Jesus Christ is mutually exclusive of any human doing. According to this passage, saving faith is something that one cannot boast about; nor does it have anything to do with observing the Law, nor any law governing human behavior. This refutes objectors who demand ongoing faithfulness, i.e., human doing, (works), in order to verify that one has or has not truly expressed saving faith in Christ Jesus' propitiation. For this faithful human doing activity puts one in a position wherein one can boast - even if one did not have that aspiration. According to Ro 3:27, any human doing cannot be a measure of whether or not one is justified unto eternal life because that would put one in a position wherein one can boast.

THERE IS ONLY ONE GOSPEL AND ONE GOD FOR ALL MANKIND WHO WILL JUSTIFY THE JEW AND THE GENTILE THROUGH A MOMENT OF FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE - ONGOING FAITH IS NOT IN VIEW, HENCE EXCLUDED

(v. 1:16) "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (v. 3:21) But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. (v. 3:22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (v. 3:23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (v. 3:24) and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (v. 3:29) Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, (v. 3:30) since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith." =

Paul declares that there is only one gospel and one God for all mankind Who will justify the Jew and the Gentile through a moment of faith alone in Christ alone. At the beginning of Paul's epistle he established in vv. 1:16-17 that the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, first for the Jew and then the Gentile, which encompasses all mankind. Notice that the phrase "everyone who believes" does not have any modifiers such as the adverb 'continuously' believes to be justified unto eternal life. Thus an ongoing faith is excluded in order to be justified or stay justified unto eternal life. This theme is reiterated in vv. 3:22-24: "This righteousness from God, [the gospel] comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe [i.e., any individual of mankind]. Hence Paul declares that there is only one way to eternal life, one gospel; and one God Who is the God of the Jew and the Gentile alike, i.e., all mankind, because His power is over all mankind. This message is repeated in vv. 3:29-30.

THE LAW IS THE INSTRUMENT FOR ONE TO REMEDY ONE'S FALLING SHORT OF GOD'S STANDARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS BECAUSE IT ENABLES ONE TO BECOME CONSCIOUS OF ONES SINS BEFORE GOD AND THEN REMEDY THAT PROBLEM BY FAITH IN CHRIST'S JESUS' PROPITIATION FOR SINS UNTO THE RECEPTION OF A RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM GOD AND ETERNAL LIFE. THEREBY WE UPHOLD THE LAW

(v. 3:19) "Now we know that whatever the Law says, it says to those who are under The Law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. (v. 3:20) Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the Law; rather, through the Law we become conscious of sin. (v. 3:21) But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. (v. 3:22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (v. 3:23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (v. 3:24) and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (v. 3:29) Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, (v. 3:30) since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. (v. 3:31) Do we, then, nullify the Law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the Law" =

Throughout Romans chapters one and two, author Paul has established that no man from any group of people, moral Gentiles, immoral individuals, religious Jews is able to keep the Law or any law governing righteous human behavior except for Jesus Christ Himself. Verses 3:19-20 summarize this key point on the purpose of the Law, which purpose is to lead one to the remedy for falling short of the Law's commands which fall short everyone inevitably does, (ref. v. 3:23):

Through the Law all men are to become conscious of sin:

(v. 3:19) "Now we know that whatever the Law says, it says to those who are under The Law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. (v. 3:20) Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the Law; rather, through the Law we become conscious of sin."

The Law, then, is the instrument which leads one to the remedy for falling short of God's standard of righteousness because the Law demands one live by it in order to avoid God's temporal and eternal condemnation and to receive eternal life. So the Law enables one to become conscious of ones sins before God and then to remedy this by a moment of faith alone in Christ's Jesus' propitiation for ones sins unto the reception of a righteousness from God and eternal life, (vv. 3:21-24). Thereby "We uphold the Law," (Ro 3:1).

Detailed review of verses 3:19-24

Finally the question is asked relative to this subject: (v. 3:31) Do we, then, nullify the Law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the Law". The purpose of the Law is to make one become conscious of sin because of ones falling short of God's standard of righteousness because one is unable to keep the Law. This is then to lead one to faith in Christ in order to receive a righteousness from God unto eternal life. So the Law is not nullfied when one comes to faith in Christ, rather upheld by those who do become conscious of sin before God and do remedy that situation by faith in Jesus Christ to receive a righteousness from God.

[End of excerpt]

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I) [Ro 4:1]:

(v. 4:1 NAS) "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to [the] flesh, has found?

OBSERVATIONS

A) THE QUESTION 'WHAT ADVANTAGE IS THERE IN BEING A JEW, BEING CIRCUMCISED' CONTINUES TO BE ANSWERED BY INVESTIGATING WHAT ABRAHAM THE JEWS' FOREFATHER HAS FOUND RELATIVE TO THE MATTER OF THE FLESH (HUMAN DOING) AND JUSTIFICATION BEFORE GOD UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

(v. 3:1 NAS) "Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? ...(v. 3:9) What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin ... (v. 3:20) Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the Law; rather, through the Law we become conscious of sin. (v. 3:21) But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. (v. 3:22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (v. 3:23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (v. 3:24) and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus... (v. 27) Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of Works? No, but by a law of faith. (v. 28) For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law." ... (v. 4:1 NAS) "What then shall we way that Abraham, our forefather according to [the] flesh, has found?"

(v. 4:1) "ti .......oun .eroumen ......Abraam ton patora hEmOn EurekEnai

............."What then shall we say Abraham .....father .our .......has found ..

kata ............sarka?"

according to flesh?"

The following phrase with key words italicized: "What shall we say that Abraham, our forefather" continues the theme of directly addressing whether or not Jews have an advantage or unique value before God. This theme was begun in verse 3:1 and reaffirmed in 3:9. To refer to Abraham as ones forefather in this context is a reference to one being Jewish. Since Abraham was indeed the forefather of the Jews, what he has found relative to justification unto eternal life and works is significant toward answering the thematic question of "What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision.?"

The phrase "according to [the] flesh" near the end of verse 4:1, wherein "sarka," rendered "flesh" is without the definite article, signifies the quality of flesh, i.e., some quality or input of ones humanity. The word rendered "flesh" thus modifies Abraham's having found something out about justification unto eternal life relative to human doing, i.e., 'justification according to works', and hence refers to and continues to focus on the key theme of Romans: justification unto eternal life by faith alone apart from any human doing begun in 1:16-17, emphasized in vv. 3:20-24 and clearly stipulated in v. 3:28.

II) [Ro 4:2]:

(v. 4:2 NAS) "For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God"

OBSERVATIONS

A) ABRAHAM FOUND THAT HE COULD BOAST THAT HE WAS JUSTIFIED BY WORKS NOT BEFORE GOD BUT BEFORE MEN - ANOTHER KIND OF JUSTIFICATION THAT REFLECTS TO MANKIND, JEWS ESPECIALLY, THAT THROUGH ABRAHAM'S WORKS ONE CAN SEE THAT GOD HAD ALREADY JUSTIFIED HIM UNTO ETERNAL LIFE (WHICH WAS BY FAITH ALONE)

(v. 3:1 NAS) "Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? (v. 4:1 NAS) What then shall we way that Abraham, our forefather according to flesh, has found? (v. 4:2 NAS) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God" =

The interlinear translation below indicates that the NAS translation of verse 4:2 provides a good rendering of the original text; so it is used here in this study:

"ei gar abraam ...ex .ergOn edikaiOthE ..echei ...kauchEma .............all ....ou ..pros theon"

"If .for .Abraham by .works .was justified he has .ground of boasting but ...not .with God"

Paul continues to answer the question posed in v. 3:1, "What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?" He focuses on the significance of works relative to being justified before God by examining the life of Abraham, the forefather and prime example to the Jews.

Abraham found that he could boast that he was justified by works not before God but before men - another kind of justification that reflects to mankind, Jews especially, (v. 3:1), that through Abraham's works, one can see that God had already justified him unto eternal life, (which was by faith alone).

The word rendered "if" is in a sentence with the verb rendered "was justified" which verb is in the indicative mood signifying a statement of fact, i.e., 'If - and it is true that - Abraham was justified by works.' It is even better rendered, 'Since Abraham was justified by works he has something to boast about but not with God'. We can conclude from this verse that Abraham was justified by works - faithful actions in his lifetime; but this was not the kind of justification which is before God unto eternal life by faith alone as Paul has so carefully taught so far. Another kind of justification is thus in view. The kind of justification which is not before God would be before a cognitive being who can justify another as having a righteousness from God as a result of observing ones behavior. This leaves mankind as a possiblity and which best fits the context. Evidently, mankind can justify that Abraham has a righteousness from God when evidence of Abraham's righteous actions coming out of God's justification is observed. Those righteous actions therefore can be concluded by men to reflect Abraham's having been declared righteous before God on the basis of faith alone and which actions come after and out of God's declaration of Abraham's righteousness.

III) [Ro 4:3]:

(v. 4:3 NAS) "For what does Scripture say? 'And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."

OBSERVATIONS

A) OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURE SAYS THAT ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD RELATIVE TO HIS PLAN OF SALVATION THROUGH ABRAHAM'S SEED AND IT WAS RECKONED BY GOD TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS, I.E., HE WAS JUSTIFIED BY GOD UNTO ETERNAL LIFE BY FAITH ALONE APART FROM ANY WORKS

(v. 4:1 NAS) "What then shall we way that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? (v. 4:2 NAS) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God (v. 4:3 NAS) For what does Scripture say? 'And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." =

1) God Promises That Abram Will Be Father Of A Great Nation Leading To Blessings To Abram And All People Through Abram And His Seed, Who Is Christ

a) [Compare Gen 12:1-7]:

(v. 1) '''The Lord had said to Abram, 'Leave you country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.'

(v. 2) 'I [God] will make you [Abram] into a great nation and I will bless you;

I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

[Notice that the LORD does not say 'I will make you ruler over a great nation, but "I will make you into a great nation." For an individual to be made into a great nation he must have a great number of physical descendants and be alive to see that]

(v. 3) I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.'

[God's promise to Abraham to make him into a great nation and to be a blessing was a promise which was not fulfilled in Abraham's physical lifetime. It could only be fulfilled if Abraham is resurrected and permitted into the kingdom of God living eternally so as to continue to experience seeing his uncountable offspring and actually be a blessing to people of all nations as he lived on in the eternal kingdom of God]

(v. 4) So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.

(v. 5) He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

(v. 6) Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

(v. 7) The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your seed I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.'''

i) The Seed Is Christ

"To your Seed I will give this land." =

Paul further defines the meaning of the word "Seed" in Gen 12:7, 13:15 & 24:7 as Jesus Christ Himself:

[Compare Gal 3:16]:

"The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his Seed. The Scripture does not say 'and to seeds,' meaning many people, but 'and to your Seed,' meaning one Person, Who is Christ."

ii) God Promises Eternal Life To Abram

[Compare Gen 12:3]:

"and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." =

God is promising Abram that even after he dies, all peoples - all nations - from now on will be blessed "through" him. This is saying that through Abram's procreation - which has not had one child born to him yet - the nations of the world will be forever blessed. Abram soon thereafter understood this as the ultimate blessing - eternal life in the kingdom of God through his seed, a Savior, (Who is Jesus Christ):

[Compare John 8:56]:

[Jesus said]:"Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing My day; he saw it and was glad."

Abram could not be a blessing to the nations of the world unless God was going to bring a Savior from Abram's line to provide for the sins of the world, so when Abram followed God's instructions indicated in Gen 12:1 by leaving his home, his business, the highly developed civilization in Ur and even his people including his family and set out to an unknown, wilderness land, [remember that Abraham was a wealthy man, (v 5)], this was tantamount to expressing his faith in God's promises of future blessing for himself and the nations of the world through a coming Savior. Therefore, Abram's believing in God's promises of the future would include his personal salvation. Abram would be justified, i.e., become a born again man upon his trusting in God's provision of a future Savior through his line which Scripture records occurred later on when God reiterated His promise to Abram in Gen 15:1-6.

At that time Abram would trust in God's promises, which is tantamount to trusting in God's promise of the blessing of salvation through a coming Man, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. God then would credit Abraham with His divine righteousness unto eternal life. For God promised that Abraham would find that the number of his offspring would be beyond counting and only through Abraham's seeing the kingdom of God, i.e., having eternal life, could God fulfill this promise to bless Abram by seeing his countless offspring in the kingdom.

2) God Repeats His Promise To Abram

a) [Compare Gen 13:14-15]:

(v. 14) "And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, 'Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward;

(v. 15) for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your Seed [Jesus Christ, (Gal 3:16)] forever."

3) Abram Believes In God's Promise And God Credits It To Abram As Righteousness Unto Eternal Life

(v. 1:16) "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (v. 1:17 NKJV) For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed [in one to mankind] from faith to faith, [i.e., out of ones belief in the gospel to faithfulness in ones life to that belief] just as it is written: 'The righteous will live [out the length of their lives] by faith.' " =

Notice that being declared by God as having a righteousness from Him is unto salvation unto eternal life. The righteousness which Abram received when he believed in God's plan for him confirmed God's promise of eternal life:

a) [Compare Gen 15:1-6]:

(v. 1) "After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

'Do not be afraid, Abram.

I am your shield,

your very great reward.'

(v. 2) But Abram said, 'O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?'

(v. 3) And Abram said, 'You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.'

(v. 4) Then the word of the Lord came to him: 'This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.'

(v. 5) He took him outside and said, 'Look up at the heavens and count the stars - if indeed you can count them.' Then he said to him, 'So shall your offspring [lit. your Seed"] be.'

[" 'So shall your offspring ([lit. your Seed") be.' " =

In order for Abram to have countless offspring and be blessed by it in his own life he would have to have eternal life. The next verse indicates that God credited His perfect righteousness to Abram which is to say that Abram was granted entry into the kingdom of heaven, i.e., eternal life when he died]:

(v. 6) Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness."

So God presents a picture to Abraham to affirm His promise of an heir - an actual physical heir who was to come through the loins of Abraham, (Gen 15:4). This picture was 'painted' by God across the star studded night time heavens. An uncountable number of stars were visible to Abraham. God promised that just as the universe contained such an innumerable number of stars, so would be numbered the descendants of Abraham. This picture gave to Abraham the concept of him seeing countless numbers of descendants - a picture of his having eternal life in order for this to be possible. And so, Abraham was promised by God to have an infinite number of descendants evidently over an infinitely long lifetime, i.e., eternal life. When Abraham believed in God's promise of eternal life, God acounted to Abraham His righteousness. That is to say that Abraham was credited with God's perfect righteousness in conjunction with God's promise to Abraham of eternal life which evidently is required in order to have eternal life. This is the definition of justification unto eternal life: to be declared righteous by God. And note that it was received by a moment of faith alone. This cannot be misconstrued to mean that Abraham did or was expected to do anything in order to be perfectly righteous in his lifestyle to receive eternal life from God. There is no stipulation to that effect in the passage.

So Gen 15:5-6 is not just a picture of Abraham's countless descendants living long after he died and had gone into the Lake of Fire. What would be the purpose of that if Abraham would never see them - being condemned to the Lake of Fire? Why would God make such a promise to Abraham if Abraham had no chance of ever seeing them in person, i.e., having eternal life? So this indeed was a picture of God's promise to Abraham of eternal life - eternal life with countless descendants over an eternity of time.

Since a moment of faith in the gospel results in the reception of a righteousness from God and eternal life, (Ro 1:16-17), then Abram's moment of faith in what God promised to him, which resulted in God declaring Abram to have a righteousness from God, provides eternal life for him.

So Abraham was now qualified to have eternal life by being credited by God with the absolutely perfect Righteousness of Jesus Christ as a result of his faith alone in God's plan alone of eternal life. And this eternal life would be through God's promise of providing a physical heir to Abraham whose descendancy would lead to the Messiah/Savior through Whom all the promises would be fulfilled.

[The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Vol. 10, 1976, Frank E Gaebeliein, Editor, pp. 52-53]:

"18-22. The final value of Abraham in respect to justification is that his faith becomes the standard for all believers. 'In hope against hope,' this man believed. In view of his 'deadened' condition (and that of Sarah likewise) because of advanced age, the situation seemed past hope. Nevertheless, he believed the promise of God that offspring would be given. 'In hope' takes account of the great change that came over his outlook due to the pledge God gave him. After making the original promise (Gen 15:5), God waited until it was physically impossible for this couple to have children. Then He repeated His pledge (Gen 17:5). Abraham's act of faith was essentially the same as on the previous occasion, but meanwhile circumstances had made the fulfillment of the promise impossible apart from supernatural intervention. He was shut up to God and was able to rest his faith there.

He 'faced the fact' of his physical condition and that of Sarah and 'did not waver through unbelief.' The refusal to waver answers to the refusal to weaken in faith. Abraham apparently suffered a momentary hesitancy (Gen 17:17), but it passed and was not held against him. That he really trusted God for the fulfillment of the promise is seen in his readiness to proceed with circumcision for himself and his household before Isaac was conceived (Gen 17:23-27). This act in itself could be construed as giving 'glory to God' an expression of trust in the power of the Almighty to make good His promise. Moreover, it was an open testimony to others of his trust in God's faithfulness to His word...

As far as Abraham was concerned, he was not taking a chance. He was 'fully persuaded' that God's power would match His promise. This man of God was called on to believe in a special divine intervention - not after it occurred, as the Jews were challenged to do concerning the resurrection of Jesus."

IV) [Ro 4:4-5]:

(v. 4:4 NAS) "Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due.

(v. 4:5 NAS) But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness."

OBSERVATIONS

A) NO HUMAN DOING CAN BE A REQUIREMENT FOR JUSTIFICATION BEFORE GOD UNTO ETERNAL LIFE BECAUSE HUMAN DOING CANNOT BE RECKONED AS UNMERITED FAVOR, BY GRACE, A FREE GIFT - EXCLUSIVE OF INDEBTEDNESS WHICH IS HOW GOD HAS DECLARED HE PROVIDES ETERNAL LIFE

(v. 4:4 NAS) Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due.' =

"tO ......de ...ergazomenO ..ho ....misthos ..ou ..logizetai .....kata ............charin .alla

"to the .now [one] working .the ..reward ....not .is counted .according to grace ..but

.

kata ............opheilEma"

according to debt"

No human doing can be a requirement for justification before God unto eternal life because human doing cannot be reckoned as an unmerited favor, by grace, a free gift - exclusive of indebtedness which is how God has declared He provides eternal life. Paul summarizes what Abraham found relative to being justified before God unto eternal life beginning with "Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned (credited) to him as a favor (gift) but according to debt." Notice that if works are necessary for justification before God then God is indebted to the one who works to provide that justification. But justification by God is stipulated as a favor, i.e., according to grace, a free gift, hence works (any human doing), which is stipulated as indebting God to provide some kind of recompense, is mutually exclusive of grace, which is a favor, a free gift without obligation, no strings attached. Since justification before God is based on grace, and since grace is mutually exclusive of human doing, (works which implies wages due, i.e., indebtedness), then any human doing is excluded from what one must do to be justified before God before, during and after such justification.

B) GOD'S PROVISION OF SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JUSTIFICATION BY A MOMENT OF FAITH ALONE IN JESUS CHRIST ALONE PERMITS NO HUMAN INPUT WHATSOEVER AT ANY TIME, ONGOING FAITH AND FAITHFULNESS IS EXCLUDED

(v. 1:16) "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile... (v. 3:22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference... (v. 3:28) For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing law. (v. 4:4 NAS) Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. (v. 4:5 NAS) But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness." =

God's provision of salvation unto eternal life through justification by a moment of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone permits no human input whatsoever at any time, ongoing faith and faithfulness is excluded.

Verse 1:16 stipulates that salvation unto eternal life, (justification before God, being reckoned by God as righteous), is for everyone who believes in the gospel with a noticeable absence of any other requirement such as human doing, i.e., works or faithfulness. The moment you begin believing is the moment you are declared saved.This is repeated in verse 3:22 - the moment you begin believing is the moment you receive the righteousness from God. Verse 3:28 corroborates this message and goes one step further by emphasizing that not only is justification via a moment of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone the moment one begins believing, but it is "apart from observing law," i.e., any rules governing human behavior, any faithfulness. Verse 4:5 then corroborates this by stipulating all the more that one who does not work, but believes in God relative to being justified through the Seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, i.e., he is justified unto eternal life. There is no mistaking the message that God's provision of eternal life through justification by a moment of faith alone in Christ alone permits no human input whatsoever at any time; nor is ongoing faith or faithfulness a requirement.

C) THE MOMENT OF FAITH BY WHICH JUSTIFICATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE IS RECEIVED IS NOT A WORK AND IT IS NOT REQUIRED TO BE ONGOING. IT IS DEFINED AS A MOMENT OF MENTAL ASSENT OF THE INFORMATION OF THE GOSPEL

(v. 1:16) "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile... (v. 3:22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference... (v. 3:28) For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing law. (v. 4:4 NAS) Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. (v. 4:5 NAS) But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness." =(v. 1:16) "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile... (v. 3:22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference... (v. 3:28) For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing law. (v. 4:4 NAS) Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. (v. 4:5 NAS) But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness." =

Since it has repeatedly been made crystal clear...

that justification unto eternal life is by a moment of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, (the gospel, vv. 1:2-4; 16-17), wherein ongoing faith is not in view, hence excluded;

that it completely excludes any observation of laws governing human behavior, (vv. 3:22, 28);

that it completely excludes works, i.e., any human doing, even ongoing faith or faithfulness, (v. 4:5);

then the moment of faith by which justification unto eternal life is received neither can be considered human doing, nor an observation of law, nor any work toward receiving eternal life. Nor is such faith required to be ongoing because the justification unto eternal life is received the moment the faith is begun. Hence the moment of faith which results in eternal life, therefore, is not a proactive human response toward the end of receiving eternal life. It is a passive response, a mental acceptance, a moment of mental assent of information of the gospel information:

1) English Dictionary Definition Of Faith In This Context

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:

ftp://ftp.uga.edu/pub/misc/webster/

faith \Faith\, n.

1. Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting solely and implicitly on his authority and veracity; reliance on testimony. 2. The assent of the mind to the statement or proposition of another, on the ground of the manifest truth of what he utters; firm and earnest belief, on probable evidence of any kind, especially in regard to important moral truth. Faith, that is, fidelity, -- the fealty of the finite will and understanding to the reason.

believe \Be*lieve

v. t. [imp. & p. p. Believed; p. pr. & vb. n. Believing]

To exercise belief in; to credit upon the authority or testimony of another; to be persuaded of the truth of, upon evidence furnished by reasons, arguments, and deductions of the mind, or by circumstances other than personal knowledge; to regard or accept as true; to place confidence in; to think; to consider; as, to believe a person, a statement, or a doctrine. "

trust \Trust\, v. t.

1. To place confidence in; to rely on, to confide, or repose faith, in; as, we can not trust those who have deceived us. I will never trust his word after. --Shak. He that trusts every one without reserve will at last be deceived. --Johnson. 2. To give credence to; to believe; to credit. Trust me, you look well. --Shak. 3. To hope confidently; to believe; -- usually with a phrase or infinitive clause as the object. I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face. --2 John 12. We trust we have a good conscience. --Heb. xiii. 18. 4. to show confidence in a person by intrusting (him) with something.

Syn: Confidence; belief; faith; hope; expectation"

2) New Testament Greek Dictionary Definition Of Faith In This Context

The New Analytical Greek Lexicon which is a dictionary of the koine Greek language of the Bible, (Wesley J. Perschbacher, Editor, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Ma; 1992, p. 329), states as the meaning of the word pisteuo which is translated believe in the English Bible translations as follows:

"(4100)... [pisteuo] 1 pers. sg. pres. act. indic., fut... [pisteuso] ...to believe, give credit to, Mark 1:15; 16:13; Luke 24:25; intrns. to believe, have a mental persuasion, Matt. 8:13; 9:28; James 2:19; to believe, be of opinion, Rom. 14:2; in N.T. [pisteuein en, eis] to believe in or on, Matt. 18:6; 27:42; John 3:15, 16, 18; absol. to believe, be a believer in the religion of Christ, Acts 2:44; 4:4, 32; 13:48; trans. to intrust, commit to the charge or power of, Luke 16:11; John 2:24; pass. to be intrusted with, Rom. 3:2; 1 Cor. 9:17"

Note that the Greek word used in the Bible which is translated into forms of the verb 'to believe' is also defined according to the Greek dictionary to mean a trust in the information presented, i.e., a mental assent - devoid of additional actions on the part of an individual other than the mental agreement. Furthermore, the forms of the verb 'to believe' in Greek which are used in gospel passages all depict a moment of faith. Verb forms and contexts which depict an ongoing faith or faithfulness do not appear in gospel passages, hence the latter are excluded in what it takes to be justified unto eternal life.

D) THERE ARE NEITHER RIGHTEOUS DEEDS REQUIRED NOR A MANDATE TO BE GODLY IN ORDER TO BE OR STAY JUSTIFIED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE - FOR GOD JUSTIFIES THE UNGODLY NOT BY WORKS BUT BY A MOMENT OF FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE AS AN UNMERITED FAVOR, I.E., BY GRACE - THE GOSPEL

(v. 1:16) "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile... (v. 3:22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference... (v. 3:28) For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing law. (v. 4:4 NAS) Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. (v. 4:5 NAS) But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness." =(v. 1:16) "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile... (v. 3:22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference... (v. 3:28) For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing law. (v. 4:4 NAS) Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. (v. 4:5 NAS) But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness." (cont.) =

Notice that God justifies the ungodly as an unmerited favor, i.e., by grace apart from observing law, i.e., any human doing. This implies that there are no righteous deeds which an individual is obliged to perform in order to be justified or to stay justified by God. There is also implied in this that there is no obligation that an individual become a godly person at some time before one is justified nor afterward in order to be or continue to be justified.

V) [Ro 4:6-8]:

(v. 3:1 NAS) "Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?

(v. 4:1 NAS) What then shall we way that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?

(v. 4:2 NAS) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God

(v. 4:3 NAS) For what does Scripture say? 'And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.

(v. 4:4 NAS) Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due.

(v. 4:5 NAS) But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.

(v. 4:6 NAS) Just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:

(v. 4:7 NAS) 'Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered.

(v. 4:8 NAS) Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD will not take into account.' "

OBSERVATIONS

A) PAUL CONTINUES TO ANSWER THE QUESTION, 'WHAT ADVANTAGE IS THERE IN BEING A JEW, IN BEING CIRCUMCISED' BY REFERRING TO ANOTHER WELL RESPECTED JEW, DAVID AND WHAT HE SAID IN PSALM 32. DAVID SPEAKS OF THE BLESSING UPON THE MAN WHOM GOD RECKONS RIGHTEOUSNESS APART FROM WORKS, I.E., WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED - WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT. THIS BLESSING CAME ABOUT AS A RESULT OF DAVID CONFESSING HIS SINS TO GOD. THIS KIND OF JUSTIFICATION BEFORE GOD IS A TEMPORAL ONE WHICH IS ALSO APART FROM WORKS

(v. 3:1 NAS) "Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? (v. 4:1 NAS) What then shall we way that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? (v. 4:2 NAS) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God (v. 4:3 NAS) For what does Scripture say? 'And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. (v. 4:4 NAS) Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but one who does not work, but believes in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. (v. 4:6 NAS) Just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: (v. 4:7 NAS) 'Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. (v. 4:8 NAS) Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD will not take into account.' " =

The example was given in Romans 4:1-5 of Abraham's justification before God unto eternal life by faith alone apart from works wherein his faith in God's promise of a coming Savior through Abraham's seed, was reckoned to him before God as righteousness unto eternal life, (vv. 4:1-5).

Paul continues to answer the question, 'What advantage is there in being a Jew, in being circumcised' by referring to another well respected Jew, David and what he said in Psalms 32. David speaks of the blessing upon the man whom God reckons righteousness apart from works, i.e., whose lawless deeds have been forgiven and whose sins have been covered - whose sin the LORD will not take into account. This blessing came about as a result of David confessing his sins to God. This kind of justification before God is a temporal one which is also apart from works.

The passage in Psalms goes on to indicate that at a particular time in his life when he was a believer, David confessed certain sins wherein the emotional and physical blessings of temporal forgiveness with God were evidently restored.

The verb "will confess" in Ps 32:5 is the translation of "yada" in the Hebrew, (Str. # 847).

[Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 'TWOT', R. Laird Harris, Editor, Moody Press, Chicago, 1980, vol I, p. 364]:

"The primary meaning of this root is 'to acknowledge or confess sin, God's character and works, or man's character.' The basic difference between this verb and its synonym, 'halal', is that the latter term tends to stress 'acclaim of,' 'boasting of,' or 'glorying in' an object, while 'yada' emphasizes 'recognition' and 'declaration' of a fact, whether good or bad. The LXX normally renders [the indicatesrew word] 'yada' with 'exomologeO'. "

[Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Kittel and Friedrich, translated and abridged by Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, Mich, 1985, pp. 687-689]:

"The LXX prefers the compounds 'exomologeisthai' and 'exomologesis', [from the verb exomologeO] which in secular Greek denote public admission or acknowledgment. On the basis of indicates 'yada', however, the idea of praising God is added to that of confessing sin (cf. 1 Kgs 8:33, 35; Neh 9:3 for the linking of the two [root words ex meaning 'out' and 'logeisthai' meaning 'confess', i.e., to confess out]. 'Homologia' may still denote the confession of sin public confession is presupposed.

The root verb is employed three basic ways. First, it was used to convey the acknowledgment or confession of sin, individually or nationally. The basic idea was clearly observed in David's personal confession described in Ps 32:5 in which the poetic parallelism demonstrates that confession was making known the sin to God and not hiding it. It is important to note that the confession is to be made to God."

So the kind of blessing received when God reckons one righteous, i.e., justification resulting from expressing faith in the gospel or confession of sins, it is emphasized by Paul in Romans 4:6-8, is achieved apart from works, (any human doing). Note that confession, i.e., acknowledgment of ones sins, like faith, is not a work but a mental assent that one has sinned against God in specific acts.

******** EXCERPT FROM PSALMS 32 *******

I) [Ps 32:1-5 NAS]:

(v. 1 NAS) "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered,

(v. 2 NAS) How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

(v. 3 NAS) When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.

(v. 4 NAS) For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat [lit. droughts] of summer;

(v. 5 NAS) I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD;' And You forgave the guilt of my sin."

OBSERVATIONS

A) THE THREE NOUNS IN PSALMS 32:1-2 RENDERED TRANSGRESSION, SIN AND INIQUITY COVER EVERY KIND OF SINFUL EXPRESSION OF MANKIND

(v. 1 NAS) "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, (v. 2 NAS) How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Notice that the three nouns used for sin cover every kind of sinful expression of mankind:

1) "pesha' "= "transgression"

(v. 1 NAS) "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" =

[TWOT #1846a, vol 2 pp. 741-42];

"This masculine noun designates those who reject God's authority... Predominately pesha' is rebellion against God's law and covenant and thus the term is a collective which denotes the sum of misdeeds and a fractured relationship [with God]. Not only does pesha' create a gulf between God and man, it generates distortions within himself, i.e., a tendencey to hide his actions (Job 34:6), deceitfulness (Prov 28:24), apathy (Ps 36:1), illness (Ps 107:17), a love for strife (Prov 17:19), a sense of enslavement (Prov 12:13), easily angered (Prov 29:22), hypocritical worship (Isa 58:1) and a sense of defilement (Ezk 14:11). In one case, pesha' is depicted as a heavy, crushing weight (Isa 24:20)."

a) [Compare Romans 4:7]:

(v. 4:7 NAS) " 'Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered.' "

Paul renders the Hebrew word "pesha" = "transgression" in Psalm 32:1 for his letter to the Romans in verse 4:7 in the Greek as "anomiai" = "lawless deeds" which accurately reflects the idea of deliberate violation of a known law of behavior, with the Jew and the Mosaic Law especially in view as part of the context theme begun in Romans 3:1.

Psalms 32:3-4 describes the author, David, (ref. Ro 4:6), during a particular time when he kept silent about certain sins before God. He tried to hide his iniquity, neither acknowledging, nor confessing his transgressions to God. Hence he was deceitful about his sins by not confessing them to Him. So he did not receive God's forgiveness nor the emotional and physical blessings that accompany it.

2) "hata' " = "sin"

(v. 1 NAS) "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" =

[TWOT #638d, vol 1 p.277]:

"The basic meaning of the root is to miss a mark or a way.... the concept of failure is implied... the object is either God or His laws... In so acting, man is missing the goal or standard God has for him, is failing to observe the requirements of holy living, or falls short of spiritual wholeness. Thus like other words related to the notion of 'sin' it assumes an absolute standard of law. But, whereas pesha' signifies a revolt against the standard,' and 'aw‚ means either 'to deviate from the standard' or 'to twist the standard,' hata' means 'to miss, to fall short of the standard."

3) "'awon" = "iniquity"

(v. 2 NAS) "How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit." =

[TWOT, #1577a, vol 2 p. 650]:

"Iniquity, guilt or punishment for guilt... The noun is a collective [which reflects a pattern of behavior]. The widow of Zarephath complains to Elihah that he came to 'bring my perversion/iniquity... (singular) to remembrance" (1 Kgs 17:18)... It denotes both the deed [sin] and its consequences [punishment], the misdeed and its punishment.

Notice that the three words, rendered "transgression', 'sin', and 'iniquity' overlap in meaning, and cover all that man does outside of the will of God.

a) Compare Romans 4:8]:

" 'Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD will not take into account.' "

Paul renders the Hebrew word "pesha" = "transgression" in Psalm 32:2 for his letter to the Romans in verese 4:8 in the Greek as "hamartian" = "sin", singular which is a broad term for all that man does outside of the will of God, i.e., all of his iniquities.

B) COMPLETE AND ABSOLUTE FORGIVENESS OF A BELIEVER AT A PARTICULAR TIME OF PARTICULAR SINS CONFESSED IS IN VIEW

(v. 1 NAS) "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, (v. 2 NAS) How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit" =

The three verbs in verses 3:1-2 express a complete and absolute forgiveness of all sins in whose spirit there is no deceit, (v. 2b), i.e., when those sins are not hidden in a spirit of deceit but are acknowledged (confessed) to God, (vv. Ps 32:35):

1) "nasa' " = "are forgiven"

(v. 1 NAS) "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" =

"nasa" literally means "carried away." It connotes the act of removal of sin, guilt, and the remembrance of sin

[TWOT #1421, vol 2 pp. 600-601: 'No doubt the classical expression of this meaning is to be found in Ps 32:1, 5. Sin can be forgiven and forgotten, because it is taken up and carried away']

2) "kasa" = "is covered"

(v. 1 NAS) "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" =

"kasa" means "is covered" It depicts God's grace when via an atonement for sin by which the sinner is reconciled to God and the individual's sin is a matter of the past, so that the LORD does not bring it up anymore as a ground for His displeasure. It is as if the sin is covered over, i.e., hidden.

[TWOT #1008, vol 1 pp. 448-449: 'It is probably the meaning 'hide' that leads to the sense, forgive. In the well-known verse, Ps 32:1, 'cover'... is paralleled by 'forgive'. The word is used in v. 5 in the sense of 'hide.' Psalm 85:2 is very similar and has the same parallel 'forgive'. This sense also occurs in Neh 4:5 where the parallel is 'blot out'. In prov 17:9 and 28:13 the meaning is likely 'conceal'... It has been argued, more on the basis of 'atone' which some translate 'cover,' that the OT sacrifices merely covered sin until it was dealt with de facto on the cross. This view of course has the truth that the blood of bulls and goats could not pay the price of sin in the OT. But it seems that we should say that the OT sin was indeed forgiven by God on the basis of the final sacrifice to come. The OT sacrifices were symbolic and typical but the forgiveness was real.]

3) "hashab" = "imputed"

(v. 2 NAS) "How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit." =

"hashab" means "counted" or "imputed". In verse 2 it appears in the negative, i.e., does not impute or does not count. It expresses God's attitude toward those forgiven as not having their iniquity counted against them.

[TWOT #767 vol 1 pp. 329-330: 'More significantly, God is spoken of as imputing. Abraham believed God and God 'counted' (imputed) it to him for righteousness (Gen 15:6...). David states that the man is blessed to whom the LORD 'imputes' not iniquity (Ps 32:2...)]

So verses 1 & 2 contain the phrase rendered "How blessed is" which describes an individual (1) whose transgression is forgiven (2) whose sin is not covered (3) whose iniquity God does not impute to him (4) With the phrase "How blessed is.." which is repeated, there is an expression of joyous expectation of blessing in these verses due to confession of ones sins which is contrasted with the picture painted in vv. 3 & 4 wherein is described much physical and emotional distress as a result of being silent about ones sins before God.

C) WHEN THERE IS NO DECEIT IN ONE'S HUMAN SPIRIT RELATIVE TO NOT HIDING ONE'S CURRENT SINS BEFORE GOD, (I.E., THERE IS CONFESSION OF KNOWN SINS TO GOD) THEN THERE IS COMPLETE AND ABSOLUTE FORGIVENESS OF ALL SINS, INIQUITIES AND TRANSGRESSIONS AND RESTORATION OF EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL BLESSINGS - FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD

(v. 1 NAS) "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, (v. 2 NAS) How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. (v. 3 NAS) When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. (v. 4 NAS) For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat [lit. droughts] of summer; (v. 5 NAS) I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD;' And You forgave the guilt of my sin." =

"ruach" = "spirit."

The meaning which best fits the context is the human mentality. Since it is implied that the particular spirit in view in this verse can have deceit, and since the spirit is depicted as a man's, then the word rendered "spirit", (Heb 'ruach'), in this context refers to the human mentality which is stipulated as needing to be without deceit relative to being honest about ones sins before God such that one qualifies for forgiveness by confessing them.

[Compare TWOT #2131a vol II p. 837]:

("ruach" = "spirit") "The principle of man's rational and immortal life, and possesses reason, will, and conscience." The phrase "and in whose spirit there is no deceit' qualifies the one who receives complete forgiveness from all offenses toward God stipulated in vv. 3:1 and 2.

The meaning of the phrase "without deceit" is established in the next three verses. Notice the phrase "When I kept silent about my sin" in verse 3:3 which being silent caused the author's body to waste away, his vitality to drain away, (vv. 3-4). And when the sin was acknowledged before God through confession, forgiveness was the result, (v. 3:5). Hence the phrase "without deceit" which is stipulated as necessary in order to receive forgiveness has in view not hiding ones sins, i.e., a complete confession of them in order to receive forgiveness. The phrase "and in whose spirit there is no deceit" cannot refer to one who is never deceitful, for there is no one who never deceives except the Messiah Himself, Jesus Christ.

D) VERSES 1 AND 2 REFLECT ON HOW BLESSED IS THE FORGIVENESS OF ONES SINS BEFORE GOD IN WHOSE [HUMAN] SPIRIT THERE IS NO DECEIT RELATIVE TO SINS COMMITTED DURING A PARTICULAR TIME; I.E., ONES SINS ARE ACKNOWLEDGED/ CONFESSED TO GOD BY A BELIEVER

(v. 1 NAS) "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, (v. 2 NAS) How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. (v. 3 NAS) When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. (v. 4 NAS) For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat [lit. droughts] of summer; (v. 5 NAS) I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD;' And You forgave the guilt of my sin." =

Verses 1 and 2 reflect on how blessed is the forgiveness of ones sins before God in whose [human] spirit there is no deceit relative to sins committed during a particular time; i.e., ones sins are acknowledged/ confessed to God by a believer and not hidden from God wherein one keeps silent about them. Contrary to some who hold that vv. 1 & 2 have justification by faith alone unto eternal life in view, verses 3-5 continue the context of vv. 1 & 2 which is the forgiveness of current sins through confession by a believer. Notice that verse 3 begins with the phrase "When I kept silent about my sin..." referring to David, a believer, which immediately connects to and continues what is being said in verses 1 & 2 relative to forgiveness of sins. The book of Psalms, which is largely the work of David, to which Paul testifies, depicts David as a believer who repeatedly looks to the LORD GOD for deliverance from his enemies and for forgivenenss of his sins.

1) [Compare 2 Sam 23:5]:

"Is not my house right with God? Has He not made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part? Will He not bring to fruition my salvation and grant me my every desire?"

Notice that David refers to an everlasting covenant that God has made with him, one which includes a promise of salvation which has been arranged and secured in every part. So forgiveness of current sins as stipulated in Psalm 32 cannot be about a promise of salvation, for that David has already received through God's everlasting covenant with him which is secure.

2 Sam 23:5 corroborates the context of verses Ps 32:1-2 being a particular time in ones life relative to particular sins being acknowledged and forgiven by a believer. So verses 3 and 4 of Ps 32 speak of a particular time in author David's life when he kept silent about his sins as opposed to being without deceit before God. So in his spirit there was deceit, (v. 2c). At that time when there was deceit in his human spirit, (for he kept silent about his sins), David did not receive the blessedness of forgiveness but instead received the opposite:

(v. 3b) "My body wasted away through my groaning all day long. (v. 4) For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat [lit. droughts] of summer."

So confession of sins committed during a particular time brings forgiveness and an emotional and physical well being to the believer.

Thus verses 3-5 continue the subject of the blessedness of temporal, (moment to moment), forgiveness begun in vv. 1-2, pointing to a time in author David's personal experience of the consequence of keeping silent about his sins and not being without deceit before God. Verse 5 then provides the means by which one is to receive the blessedness spoken of in vv. 1 & 2: to do the opposite of keeping silent to God about ones sins, to acknowledge them, to not hide ones iniquity but instead in ones spirit be without deceit about them, (v. 2b), to confess ones transgressions to God; in other words, as verse 2c says to be as one, "in whose spirit there is no deceit," relative to ones sins before God. This results in the blessedness of forgiveness spoken of in verses 1 & 2 and at the end of verse 5.

E) TEMPORAL FORGIVENESS OF A BELIEVER INCLUDES BEING BLESSED WITH AN EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL WELL BEING - A PART OF THE BELIEVER'S RESTORATION OF DAILY FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD WHICH OCCURS WHEN HE CONFESSES HIS SINS TO GOD. THE RECEPTION OF ETERNAL LIFE IS NOT IN VIEW IN PSALMS 32

(v. 1 NAS) "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, (v. 2 NAS) How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. (v. 3 NAS) When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. (v. 4 NAS) For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat [lit. droughts] of summer; (v. 5 NAS) I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD;' And You forgave the guilt of my sin." =

Temporal forgiveness of a believer includes being blessed with an emotional and physical well being - a part of the believer's restoration of daily fellowship with God which occurs when he confesses his sins to God. the reception of eternal life is not in view in Psalms 32

Notice that when David kept silent about his sin, as an example to all believers, "[his] body wasted away through groaning all day long. Day and night God's hand was heavy upon [him]; [his] vitality was drained awayas with the fever heat of summer." Hence unforgiven sin breaks a believer's blessed relationship - fellowship with God and causes physical and emotional stress. On the other hand, verses 1 & 2 describe a believer (1) whose transgression is forgiven (2) whose sin is not covered (3) whose iniquity God does not impute to him (4) and in whose spirit [human mentality] there is no deceit, i.e., when there is honest acknowledgment/ confession to God of those sins, (v. 5). So forgiveness of a believer's confessed daily sins is in view resulting in restoration of fellowship with God. Justification by faith alone in Christ alone before God unto eternal life is not in view. Eternal life is not received via confession of sins, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that since justification unto eternal is portrayed in Scriptrure as a one time event begun at the moment of faith alone in Christ alone, (cf Romans 4), then ongoing confession of known sins or ongoing anything is not in view. Furthermore, since justification unto eternal life is a one time event, at that time one is justified, one cannot confess future sins that are as yet unknown and not committed yet. Finally, confession not what Scripture stipulates something one must do to receive justification unto eternal life. The context of Psalms 32 implies a particular time and a number of particular sins that David, who is already justified unto eternal life, had committed to which he remained silent, suffered and then changed his mind and confessed them before God. At this time David was a believer, (cf. 2 Sam 23:5), justified by faith unto eternal life. He is portrayed as an example of a believer who has received the restoration of temporal blessings and forgiveness when he confessed his sins to God.

******** END OF EXCERPT FROM PSALMS 32 *******

VI) [Ro 4:9-12]:

(v. 4:9 NAS) "Is this blessing then upon the circumcised, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say, 'Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.'

(v. 4:10 NAS) How then was it reckoned? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised;

(v. 4:11 NAS) and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised that righteousness might be reckoned to them,

(v. 4:12 NAS) and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised."

OBSERVATIONS

A) THE BLESSING OF BEING JUSTIFIED, I.E., RECKONED RIGHTEOUS BEFORE GOD APART FROM ANY RULES OF HUMAN DOING IS INVESTIGATED RELATIVE TO WHAT ADVANTAGE THERE IS IN BEING A JEW AND WHETHER THIS BLESSING IS UPON THE UNCIRCUMCISED, (GENTILES) AS WELL. THE ANSWER IS GIVEN VIA AN EXAMINATION OF ABRAHAM'S JUSTIFICATION BEFORE GOD APART FROM LAW, (ANY HUMAN DOING)

(v. 4:6 NAS) "Just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: (v. 4:7 NAS) 'Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. (v. 4:8 NAS) Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD will not take into account.' (v. 4:9 NAS) Is this blessing then upon the circumcised, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say, 'Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.' =

Note that the Greek phrase "Ou gar dia nomou", literally, "not for through law", rendered in the NAS, "For not through law" omits the definite article with law, hence we have a quality of law rather than a specific law in view. So any kind of rules governing human behavior is in view, which includes the Mosaic Law.

Paul continues to answer the question posed in v. 3:1, "What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?" His focus is on whether the blessing of being justified before God apart from works is only for the circumcised [Jews] or also for the uncircumcised [Gentiles]. The answer is given via an examination of Abraham's justification before God by faith with a notable absence of the word or concept of 'works'.

B) ABRAHAM IS THE FATHER - THE PRIMARY EXAMPLE - TO THE CIRCUMCISED (JEWS) AND UNCIRCUMCISED (GENTILES - THE REST OF HUMANITY) SO THAT THEY MIGHT CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IN WHAT HE BELIEVED - THE GOSPEL - SO THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS MIGHT BE RECKONED TO ONE UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

(v. 4:9 NAS) "Is this blessing then upon the circumcised, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say, 'Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.' (v. 4:10 NAS) How then was it reckoned? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; (v. 4:11 NAS) and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised that righteousness might be reckoned to them, (v. 4:12 NAS) and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised." =

It is discovered that when Abraham believed in God's plan of salvation, his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness unto eternal life while he was still uncircumcised - like the Gentiles were. After being declared righteous before God unto eternal life, Abraham was circumcised, which circumcision is stipulated as a sign and a seal of the righteousness of the faith with which he had been reckoned while uncircumcised. A seal represents a guarantee of the righteousness unto eternal life. Abraham's circumcision is also declared to be a sign of God's promise of eternal life to others who choose to express the same faith in the gospel as Father Abraham did - Jew and Gentile alike. Hence, Abraham is declared the father of all who believe, Jew and Gentile.

[Further details of when Abraham was declared righteous and the significance of circumcision ]

Verses 4:11-12 stipulate that the circumcision of Abraham was received after he received the righteousness of faith so that he might be the father, i.e., the primary example to those who are of the faith of Abraham without being circumcised, (Gentiles who are of the faith of Abraham), and also to those who are not only of the circumcision but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham (Jews who are of the faith of Abraham).

So both Jew and Gentile are declared to have righteousness unto eternal life not through law, i.e., human doing, but through the righteousness of faith in which Abraham first believed.

[The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Vol. 10, 1976, Frank E Gaebeliein, Editor, pp. 50]:

"The issue discussed here [in Romans 4:9-12] is the importance of the time of God's declaration of righteousness on behalf of Abraham in relation to the time of his circumcision. By using the term 'blessedness' from the opening of Psalm 32 Paul makes the transition from David back to Abraham. Are the uncircumcised [Gentiles] able to share in this blessedness?... Paul dissents [from the opinion of the Jews that such blessedness was confined to the them], arguing skillfully that the benefit David enjoyed was enjoyed by Abraham, and Abraham received it when he was still uncircumcised! To all intents and purposes, he was like one of the Gentiles. This opens the door to the extension of the blessedness of justification to the Gentiles. Paul is still using the method of analogy regarding logizesthai ('credited'). As Genesis 15:6 had been explained with the aid of Psalm 32:1, 2; now the apostle reverses direction and explains Psalm 32 with the aid of Genesis 15. David, of course, was circumcised, but Abraham was not circumcised at the time of his being credited with righteousness on the basis of faith. According to the record, it was fourteen years later that he received the rite (Gen 17:24-26). Circumcision, then, was really a sign of what he previously had. It was a testimony to justifying faith, not something in which to take any pride."

[Note that Abraham's circumcision occurred after his justification such that all mankind would be in view relative to expressing the faith of Abraham - a fact which evidently was orchestrated by God so that both Jew and Gentile were included in God's provision of justification]

[Expositor's, cont.]:

"It could even be said that the Gentile has first claim on the patriarch, who was just like himself when justified."

C) ABRAHAM'S CIRCUMCISION IS A SIGN, A SEAL - A MARK OF GOD'S ETERNAL SECURITY - OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE FAITH HE EXERCISED IN GOD'S PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE WHICH ETERNAL LIFE IS ETERNALLY SECURE IN ANYONE WHO EXPRESSES THE SAME FAITH THAT ABRAHAM EXPRESSED

(v. 4:9 NAS) "Is this blessing then upon the circumcised, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say, 'Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.' (v. 4:10 NAS) How then was it reckoned? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; (v. 4:11 NAS) and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised that righteousness might be reckoned to them, (v. 4:12 NAS) and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised." =

Abraham's circumcision is stipulated as a sign, a seal of the righteousness of the faith he excercised in God's promise of eternal life through Abraham's seed, through an Individual, (Jesus Christ) Who would be physically born and bear his sins so that Abraham would have eternal life.

The word rendered sign is from the Greek word "sEmeion", Strongs # 4592.

[Webster's New Intercollegiate Dictionary, G & C Merriam Co., Springfield, Ma, 1980, p. 1071]:

"1 a A motion or gesture by which a thought is expressed or a command or wish made known."

The word rendered seal is from the Greek word "sphragida", Strongs # 4973.

[Websters, cont., p. 1033]:

"1 a. Something that confirms, ratifies, or makes secure. GUARANTEE ASSURANCE"

Hence the motion of circumcision by Abraham was an outward manifestation of the fact that God had promised Abraham eternal life as a result of Abraham's moment of faith in that promise. Notice that the force behind the guarantee of Abraham's justification unto eternal life and anyone who expressed the same faith that Abraham did is not the circumcision itself but God Himself.

VII) [Ro 4:13]:

(v. 4:13 NAS) "For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through law, but through the righteousness of faith"

OBSERVATIONS

A) THE LORD'S PROMISE TO ABRAHAM AND TO THOSE OF HIS PHYSICAL DESCENDANTS, (JEWS), WAS TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE AND BECOME ETERNAL HEIRS OF THE WORLD, NOT THROUGH LAW, (HUMAN DOING), BUT THROUGH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF FAITH

(v. 3:1 NAS) "Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? (v. 4:9 NAS) Is this blessing then upon the circumcised, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say, 'Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.' (v. 4:10 NAS) How then was it reckoned? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; (v. 4:11 NAS) and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised that righteousness might be reckoned to them, (v. 4:12 NAS) and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. (v. 4:13 NAS) For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through law, but through the righteousness of faith" =

The Old Testament teaches that the LORD's promise to Abraham and to his physical descendants through Isaac through Jacob, (Jews), was to have eternal life and become eternal heirs of the world, not through law, (human doing), but through the righteousness of faith in Abraham's Messiah-Savior Descendant through Isaac through Jacob. Notice that the word rendered "law" in verse 4:13 is without the definite article and refers to rules of human conduct of which the Mosaic Law is the supreme example. Paul continues with the subject of being declared righteous before God apart from law, (human doing), but through faith by referring to what the Old Testament has to say on the matter. The result of being declared righteous before God has repeatedly been indicated as eternal life, (cp Ro 1:2-4; 16-17 ). Paul stipulates that Abraham and his physical descendants through Isaac through Jacob, (Jews), will become heirs, i.e, eternal inheritors or possessers of the world, not through law, (human doing), but through the righteousness of a moment of faith, i.e., through expressing a moment of faith alone in God's promise of a coming Messiah-Savior Descendant, the faith of Abraham, which results in their being declared righteous before God and their becoming eternal heirs of the world, (Ro 4:13). Since it is stipulated that a Jew, (and all men), must have the righteousness of faith in order to have eternal life, then one must choose to believe as Abraham believed to achieve that end. Given that it is a choice, it is implied that not all Jews, (nor all men), will receive eternal life nor all Jews eternal heirship of the world because not all will choose to believe.

In the same way that the promises of God to Abraham would be fulfilled on the basis of Abraham having believed God in fulfilling those promises, so it is with Abraham's physical descendants, Jews, (and all men), who choose to be of the faith of Abraham.

1) [Compare Gen 12:1-3]:

(v. 1) "The LORD had said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.

(v. 2) I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

[Notice that the LORD does not say 'I will make you ruler over a great nation, but "I will make you into a great nation." For an individual to be made into a great nation he must have a great number of physical descendants and be alive to see that]

(v. 3) I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.' "

[Notice that the LORD told Abram (Abraham) to leave his country and go to the land He will show him. He promised Abram that He would make him into a great nation which implies that Abraham will be physically alive and have a nation of physical descendants. The LORD also promised that Abraham will be blessed, that He would make his name great, that Abraham would be a blessing [to others], that whoever curses him will be cursed by the LORD, and that all peoples on earth will be blessed through him. The extent of this universal blessing to all mankind is not stipulated, but the implication of all the promises, adds up to Abraham having a rulership on the earth in the future. Since God's promise to Abraham to make him into a great nation and to be a blessing was a promise which was not fulfilled in Abraham's physical lifetime. It could only be fulfilled in the future if Abraham is resurrected and permitted into the kingdom of God living eternally so as to continue to experience seeing his uncountable offspring and actually be a ruler and a blessing to people of all nations]

2) [Compare Gen 15:1-7]:

(v. 1) "After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: 'Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.'

(v. 2) But Abram said, 'O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?'

(v. 3) And Abram said, 'You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.'

(v. 4) Then the word of the LORD came to him: 'This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.'

(v. 5) He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, 'So shall your offspring be.'

[Notice that the LORD'S promise to Abraham to make him into a great nation and make his name great, (Gen 12:2) is further clarified to include a nation of his physical descendants, Jews]

(v. 6) Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

(v. 7) He also said to him, 'I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.' "

Part of the blessing the LORD promised Abraham for leaving his country, his people and his father's house hold and for going to the land the LORD will show him, (Gen 12:1-3), was to give Abraham possession of that land, (Gen 15:7), as well as to have eternal life, (Gen 15:6); hence the land was to be an eternal possession.

3) [Compare Gen 22:15-18]:

(v. 15) "The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time

(v. 16) and said, 'I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son.

[The LORD is referring to Abraham's obedience to the LORD's command to sacrifice his son Isaac, (ref. Gen 22:1-14)]

(v. 17) I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,

(v. 18) and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.' "

Further information about the LORD's promise to Abraham, first given while he lived in Ur, (Gen 12:1-2), and reiterated in Gen 15:6-7, is given in Gen 22:17-18:

(v. 17) I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,

(v. 18) and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."

Not only would Abraham receive eternal life and eternal possession of the land, but so would his physical descendants who were of the faith of Abraham. Abraham's physical descendants will also take eternal possession of the cities of their enemies which is virtually the whole world since every city was an enemy of the Jews at one time or another. They will be heirs of the world in effect as Paul stipulates in Ro 4:13. Those physical descendants of Abraham who have received the righteousness of faith, the faith of Abraham in the gospel are in view.

4) [Compare Isa 59:20-60:22]:

(v. 59:20) " 'The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,' declares the LORD.

[Notice that the Redeemer = the LORD, (v. 59:21, cf. Ps 19:14), will come to Zion, a term referring to Jerusalem, (cf 2 Sam 5:7; Ps 51:18). And the LORD will come "to those in Jacob", a phrase referring to the nation Israel, (cf. Gen 32:28), whose capital is Jerusalem]

(v. 59:21) 'As for Me, this is my covenant with them," says the LORD. 'My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,' says the LORD.

[Notice that the LORD is addressing Israel]

(v. 1) "Arise, shine, for your [Zion's (Jerusalem's and Israel's)] light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.

[Notice that the light of Zion, (Jerusalem and Israel), wherein the glory of the LORD rises upon them is in view. The context of the verses that follow verify this, especially vv. 9-10]:

(v. 2) See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.

(v. 3) Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

(v. 4) Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm.

(v. 5) Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.

[Notice that "nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn" and the riches of the nations of the world will come to Jerusalem, to Israel, implying that Israel is the ruling nation of the world at this time]

(v. 6) Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the LORD.

(v. 7) All Kedar's flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on My altar, and I will adorn My glorious temple.

(v. 8) Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests?

(v. 9) Surely the islands look to Me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your sons from afar, with their silver and gold, to the honor of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.

[The subject of the passage is indicated as having sons who are brought from afar,and the location of where the nations of the world come to honor the "LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel" - a further indication that the subject of the passage is Jerusalem and the nation of Israel whose capital is Jerusalem]

(v. 10) Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you. Though in anger I struck you, in favor I will show you compassion.

(v. 11) Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that men may bring you the wealth of the nations - their kings led in triumphal procession.

(v. 12) For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined.

(v. 13) The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the pine, the fir and the cypress together, to adorn the place of My sanctuary; and I will glorify the place of my feet.

(v. 14) The sons of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

[Notice that the subject of the passage will have walls rebuilt by foreigners, their kings will serve her, in anger the LORD struck her, and in favor He will show her compassion, (v. 10); her gates will always stand open, men will bring her the wealth of nations, kings will lead in triumphal procession, (v. 11); the nation that will not serve her will perish, (v. 12); The sons of her oppressors will come bowing before her and call her the City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel, (v. 14). This is not only the city of Jerusalem, (cf Ps 51:18), it is the capital city and represents the people of Israel who occupy, possess and run the city, who are rulers of it. A city without the people who it represents is not in view, for when Jerusalem was being oppressed it was her people that were being oppressed, not just the buildings and the wall of the city. Often when you speak of a capital city you are speaking of the people]

(v. 15) Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations.

(v. 16) You will drink the milk of nations and be nursed at royal breasts. Then you will know that I, the LORD, am Your Savior, Your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

[It is the people of Israel that had been forsaken and hated. A city does not drink the milk of nations nor is it nursed at royal breasts; its people who occupy that city are. Notice that the LORD refers to Himself as "Your Savior, Your redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob". The word "Jacob" refers to Israel, of which Jacob was a patriarch and renamed Israel, (Gen 32:28). Hence the people of Israel are in view in this passage]

(v. 17) Instead of bronze I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron. Instead of wood I will bring you bronze, and iron in place of stones. I will make peace your governor and righteousness your ruler.

(v. 18) No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise.

(v. 19) The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.

(v. 20) Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.

[The future eternal Kingdom of God over which the people of Israel will rule eternally is in view here]

(v. 21) Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of My hands, for the display of My splendor.

[The phrase "all your people" refers to all the people of Jerusalem, i.e., Israel, who will possess the land forever. According to Scripture, they alone "are the shoot I have planted, the work of My hands, for the display of My splendor"

(v. 22) The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly."

[Notice that the smallest of the people of Jerusalem will become "a mighty nation", i.e., the physical descendants of Abraham, Jews who are of the faith of Abraham, will be rulers and heirs of the world, (Ro 4:13)]

VIII) [Ro 4:14-16]:

(v. 4:14 NAS) "For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified;

(v. 4:15 NAS) for law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

(v. 4:16 NAS) For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all 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."

OBSERVATIONS

A) MAN IS UNABLE TO KEEP THE RIGHTEOUS STANDARD OF ANY LAW, ESPECIALLY THE MOSAIC LAW. THIS MAKES MAN CONSCIOUS OF HIS TRANSGRESSIONS BEFORE GOD AND OF BEING UNDER THE WRATH OF GOD

(v. 4:14 NAS) For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified.(v. 4:15 NAS) for law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation." =

Man is unable to keep the righteous standard of any law, especially the Mosaic Law. This makes man conscious of his transgressions before God which bring upon himself the wrath of God.

[EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 3 SUPPORTING THIS POINT

OR GO TO END OF EXCERPT ]

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NO MAN IS ABLE TO KEEP THE RIGHTEOUS STANDARD OF THE LAW. RATHER THROUGH THE LAW ALL MEN BECOME CONSCIOUS OF SIN AND OF BEING UNDER THE WRATH OF GOD

(v. 1:16) I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (v. 1:17 NKJV) For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed [in one to mankind] from faith to faith, [i.e., out of ones belief in the gospel to faithfulness in ones life to that belief] just as it is written: 'The righteous will live [out the length of their lives] by faith.' (v. 2:13) For it is not those who hear the Law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the Law who will be declared righteous. (v. 3:19) Now we know that whatever the Law says, it says to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. (v. 3:20) Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing law; rather, through law we become conscious of sin." =

Since perfect obedience to the requirements of the Law was stipulated as the standard of behavior for all individuals to be declared righteous unto eternal life, (v. 2:13), then the Law's requirements are righteous by definition. In verses 3:19-20, which continues this theme, law is portrayed as impossible to keep in order to be declared righteous in God's sight. Rather through law, because of our inabililty to live up to its standards of God's righteousness, we become conscious of sin, (v. 3:20), and of being under the wrath of God, which is to then lead one to faith in Jesus Christ unto a righteousness from God, (vv. 1:16-17). The phrase "so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God" implies that any and every man under law will fall short of God's righteousness that God expects all men to live by; so everyone's mouth will be silenced in the realization that his life is held accountable to God and falls short of the righteousness that God demands of him. Note that the Greek text in verse 3:20 has the word rendered "law" without the definite article, which emphasizes the quality of the particular kind of law in view - rules governing human behavior such as the prime example in view in verse 3:19: the Mosaic Law.

[END OF EXCERPT]

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VIII cont.) [Ro 4:14-16 cont.]:

(v. 4:14 NAS) "For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified;

(v. 4:15 NAS) for law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

(v. 4:16 NAS) For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all 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."

B) GOD'S PROMISE TO ABRAHAM OF RIGHTEOUSNESS UNTO ETERNAL LIFE WAS NOT THROUGH LAW, BUT THROUGH FAITH. IF IT HAD BEEN BY LAW, FAITH WOULD BE MADE VOID AND THE PROMISE NULLIFIED; FOR LAW BRINGS WRATH, NOT ETERNAL LIFE

(v. 3:1 NAS) "Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? (v. 4:4 NAS) Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. (v. 4:5 NAS) But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. (v. 4:6 NAS) Just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: (v. 4:7 NAS) 'Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. (v. 4:8 NAS) Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD will not take into account.' (v. 4:9 NAS) Is this blessing then upon the circumcised, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say, 'Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.' (v. 4:10 NAS) How then was it reckoned? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; (v. 4:11 NAS) and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised that righteousness might be reckoned to them, (v. 4:12 NAS) and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. (v. 4:13 NAS) For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through law, but through the righteousness of faith. (v. 4:14 NAS) For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified. (v. 4:15 NAS) for law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation." =

God's promise to Abraham of righteousness unto eternal life was not through law, but through faith. If it had been by law, even the Mosaic Law, faith would be made void and the promise nullified; for law brings wrath, not eternal life.

The word "Law" in verse 4:14 appears with the definite article in the phrase "For if those who are of the Law." It is used to describe a specific group of individuals, Jews, as opposed to those who are not of the Law, i.e., who are not under the Mosaic Law as a rule of life.

Paul continues his theme of receiving a righteousness from God unto eternal life by faith alone apart from human doing, which excludes keeping law, especially the Mosaic Law, as he continues to address what advantage there is in being a Jew, (v. 3:1). The Jew remains especially in view because of the focus on the promise of God to Abraham or to his physical descendants; and the consideration of keeping law, (human doing), as an avenue to receive God's promise to Abraham or to his physical descendants. It has been repeatedly stipulated that God's promise to Abraham of righteousness unto eternal life was not through law, (human doing), but only through a moment of faith. On the other hand, if eternal life and heirship of the world were by law - which is impossible for man - then the faith that God would deliver on His promises would be been made void because the promise - now dependant upon man's capacity to obey the Law, would be thwarted because man cannot keep any laws. Thus man would bring wrath upon himself, not eternal life.

Furthermore, if eternal life and heirship of the world were by law, and since faith and law are mutually exclusive, then faith relative to receiving eternal life and heirship of the world would be made void, useless. It is implied here that faith and keeping law, (works), are mutually exclusive - it is either one or the other. This has already been made clear in 4:4-5. Paul just got through saying in the previous verse, (4:13), that "the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through law, but through the righteousness of faith," and then makes the statement that if it were through observing law then faith is made void and the promise is nullified. This is a chilling statement, for it has been repeatedly stipulated in Romans that man by any human doing has no chance to receive eternal life because he is unable to keep any rules governing human behavior, especially the righteous standard of the Mosaic Law. Hence law, especially the Mosaic Law, brings wrath not eternal life to mankind.

C) SINCE THE PROMISES OF ETERNAL LIFE AND HEIRSHIP OF THE WORLD ARE RECEIVED BY FAITH ALONE WHERE THERE IS NO LAW IN VIEW, THEN MAN'S TRANSGRESSIONS ARE NOT IN VIEW. THEREFORE THE ONE WHO BELIEVES IS NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR HIS TRANSGRESSIONS AND THE PROMISES OF ETERNAL LIFE AND HEIRSHIP OF THE WORLD ARE DELIVERABLE

(v. 4:13 NAS) "For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through law, but through the righteousness of faith. (v. 4:14 NAS) For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; (v. 4:15 NAS) for law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation." =

The word rendered "violation" = "parabasis", lit. 'transgression'.

[Kittle's Abridged Dictionary, p. 772]:

"In the NT it [parabasis] denotes sin in relation to the Law."

In the context of Romans 4:13, "parabasis" is a violation of a stipulated rule of behavior in order to achieve the righteousness of God.

Since the promises of eternal life and heirship of the world are received by faith alone where there is no law in view, then man's transgressions, which are violations of law, are not in view. Therefore the one who believes is not held accountable for his transgressions and the promises of eternal life and heirship of the world are deliverable.

D) IN ORDER FOR THE PROMISES OF ETERNAL LIFE AND HEIRSHIP OF THE WORLD TO BE CERTAIN, THEY CANNOT BE VIA ANY HUMAN DOING, BUT ONLY THROUGH FAITH IN ACCORDANCE WITH GRACE = UNMERITED FAVOR, NO STRINGS ATTACHED

(v. 3:1 NAS) "Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? (v. 4:4 NAS) Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. (v. 4:5 NAS) But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. (v. 4:6 NAS) Just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: (v. 4:7 NAS) 'Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. (v. 4:8 NAS) Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD will not take into account.' (v. 4:9 NAS) Is this blessing then upon the circumcised, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say, 'Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.' (v. 4:10 NAS) How then was it reckoned? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; (v. 4:11 NAS) and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised that righteousness might be reckoned to them, (v. 4:12 NAS) and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. (v. 4:13 NAS) For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through law, but through the righteousness of faith. (v. 4:14 NAS) For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified. (v. 4:15 NAS) for law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation." (v. 4:16 NAS) For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all 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." =

"Grace" is defined as unmerited favor, something provided that is free, without strings attached. In verse 4:16, it qualifies the reception of justification unto eternal life, for which one does absolutely nothing, hence eternal life and heirship of the world is received by unmerited favor, i.e., freely, a gift, with no strings attached.

The phrase "for this reason" in v. 4:16 refers to the previous text which indicates that since law only brings wrath, then "for this reason" justification unto eternal life must come solely by a moment of faith alone in God's promise of a Savior alone apart from law, (any human doing). So God has to provide this justification unto eternal life "by faith in accordance with grace in order that the promise may be certain."

Notice that in order for the promises of eternal life and heirship of the world to be certain it cannot be via any human doing, but only through "faith in accordance with grace," where grace is unmerited favor, as a gift, no strings attached.

E) GOD'S PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE FOR THOSE WHO ARE OF THE FAITH OF ABRAHAM, I.E., BELIEVE IN GOD'S PROMISE OF A SAVIOR TO COME THROUGH ABRAHAM'S SEED, JEW AND GENTILE ALIKE, IS CERTAIN

(v. 4:11 NAS) and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised that righteousness might be reckoned to them, (v. 4:12 NAS) and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. (v. 4:13 NAS) For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through law, but through the righteousness of faith. (v. 4:14 NAS) For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified. (v. 4:15 NAS) for law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation. (v. 4:16 NAS) For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all 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." =

God's promise is certain, a sure thing, for everyone, Jew and Gentile alike, who expresses a moment of faith alone in the promise of God unto eternal life like Abraham did. The phrases "those who are of the Law" vs. "those who are of the faith of Abraham" are used to refer to Jews and Gentiles respectively. The phrase "of the law" does not refer to Jews who endeavor to keep the Law to be justified unto eternal life as opposed to Jews who do not. Rather the phrase is a defining factor to differentiate Jews from Gentiles. It refers to those who are under the Mosaic Law as a rule of life, (Jews), as opposed to Gentiles, who are not. Gentiles are referred to as those "who are of the faith of Abraham" in the sense that they are outside of being under the Mosaic Law rule of life, but nevertheless are those Gentiles who are of the faith of Abraham. This is not to say that Jews, who are under the Law, are not also of the faith of Abraham when they believe. Abraham's fatherhood is not limited in the context of this particular passage to his physical descendants through Isaac and Jacob, i.e., Jews; as it is in Rom 4:13 and other passages. It refers to "all descendants" in a spiritual sense. Abraham is the father of all groups of people in a spiritual sense who trust in the promise of God of eternal life to Abraham.

IX) [Ro 4:17]:

(v. 4:17 NAS) "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."

OBSERVATIONS

A) ABRAHAM IS THE FATHER OF ALL BELIEVERS IN THE SIGHT OF GOD - A SPIRITUAL FATHERHOOD NOT LIMITED TO THOSE OF ABRAHAM'S PHYSICAL DESCENDANTS WHO BELIEVE IN THE PROMISE

(v. 4:11 NAS) And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised that righteousness might be reckoned to them, (v. 4:12 NAS) and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. (v. 4:16 NAS) For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all 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. (v. 4:17 NAS) (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." =

Verses 4:11-12 pointed out that Abraham is the father of all believers in the sight of God - a spiritual fatherhood not limited to those of Abraham's physical descendants who believe in the promise:

******** REVIEW OF VERSES 4:11-12 ********

..................OR SKIP TO NEXT SECTION

OBSERVATIONS

ABRAHAM IS THE FATHER - THE PRIMARY EXAMPLE - TO THE CIRCUMCISED (JEWS) AND UNCIRCUMCISED (GENTILES - THE REST OF HUMANITY) SO THAT THEY MIGHT CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IN WHAT HE BELIEVED - THE GOSPEL - SO THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS MIGHT BE RECKONED TO THEM UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

(v. 4:9 NAS) "Is this blessing then upon the circumcised, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say, 'Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.' (v. 4:10 NAS) How then was it reckoned? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; (v. 4:11 NAS) and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised that righteousness might be reckoned to them, (v. 4:12 NAS) and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised." =

It is discovered that when Abraham believed in God's plan of salvation, his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness unto eternal life while he was still uncircumcised - like Gentiles. After being declared righteous before God unto eternal life, Abraham did have himself circumcised, which circumcision is stipulated as the sign of the seal of the righteousness of the faith unto eternal life which he had been reckoned with while he was still uncircumcised. Circumcision after the example of father Abraham is stipulated in Scripture as a sign of the seal, i.e., the absolute certainty of God's promise of eternal life to the one who expressed the faith of Abraham in the gospel, with Jews especially in view.

[Details of when Abraham was declared righteous and the significance of circumcision ]

The circumcision of Abraham was received that he might be the father, i.e., the primary example to the circumcised, (Jews), as a seal of the righteousness of a moment of faith in God's promise of eternal life through the seed of Abraham. Abraham is also declared to be the father of the uncircumcised, (Gentiles), as an example to those Gentiles who believe in God's promise of eternal life through the seed of Abraham, which Abraham had done while he was still uncircumcised. So both Jew and Gentile are declared to have righteousness unto eternal life not through law, i.e., human doing, but through the righteousness of faith in which Abraham first believed.

********* END OF REVIEW OF VV. 4:11-12 ********

The message of vv. 4:11-12 is reiterated in verse 4:16. Then in verse 4:17, Paul refers to Old Testament passages which teach that God has made Abraham the father of many nations within the context of what he wrote in Romans which stipulates that Abraham is the father of us all who believe in the promise - Jew and Gentile alike, and not limited to Abraham's physical descendants who believe. Notice that the context of the Old Testament passage quoted below is not restricted to physical descendants:

1) [Compare Gen 17:1-9]:

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

(v. 2) I will confirm my covenant between Me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.

(v. 3) Abram fell facedown, and God said to him,

(v. 4) As for me, this is My covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.

(v. 5) No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

(v. 6) I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.

(v. 7) I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.

(v. 8) The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.

(v. 9) Then God said to Abraham, As for you, you must keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come."

C) THE GOD, WHO GIVES LIFE TO THE DEAD AND CALLS INTO BEING THAT WHICH DOES NOT EXIST, WILL CERTAINLY FULFILL HIS PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN HIM

(v. 4:9 NAS) "Is this blessing then upon the circumcised, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say, 'Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.' (v. 4:10 NAS) How then was it reckoned? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; (v. 4:11 NAS) and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised that righteousness might be reckoned to them, (v. 4:12 NAS) and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. (v. 4:13 NAS) For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through law, but through the righteousness of faith. (v. 4:14 NAS) For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; (v. 4:15 NAS) for law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation. (v. 4:16 NAS) For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all 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. (v. 4:17 NAS) (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. =

The God, Who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist, will certainly fulfill His promise of eternal life to those who believe in Him. Paul characterizes God as absolute Creator Who created the world out of nothing, the One Who promises eternal life to those who believe in the promise He [God] made to Abraham of eternal life through his seed - a coming Savior, Jesus Christ. Paul says that He is "the God Who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist." Certainly if the One Who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist, then His promise of eternal life is reliable and absolutely certain. Note that Paul affirms that God creates out of nothing refuting those who argue that God recreated the world out of existing matter.

X) [Ro 4:18-22]:

(v. 4:18 NAS) "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.'

(v. 4:19 NAS) 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;

(v. 4:20 NAS) yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God,

(v. 4:21 NAS) and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.

(v. 4:22 NAS) Therefore 'It was reckoned to him as righteousness.' "

OBSERVATIONS

A) SINCE GOD GIVES LIFE TO THE DEAD AND CALLS INTO BEING THAT WHICH DOES NOT EXIST, I.E., CREATES SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING, EVEN LIFE; THEN GOD'S PROMISE TO ABRAHAM OF ETERNAL LIFE WHEN ABRAHAM BELIEVED IN A SAVIOR COMING THROUGH HIS SEED BEGINNING WITH THE MIRACULOUS BIRTH OF ISAAC IS CERTAIN

(v. 4:13 NAS) For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through law, but through the righteousness of faith. (v. 4:14 NAS) For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; (v. 4:15 NAS) for law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation. (v. 4:16 NAS) For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all 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. (v. 4:17 NAS) 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. (v. 4:18 NAS) 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.' (v. 4:22 NAS) Therefore 'It was reckoned to him as righteousness.' " =

Romans 4:17 stipulates that God gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist, i.e., creates something out of nothing, even life. Hence God's promise to Abraham of eternal life when Abraham believed in a Savior coming through his seed beginning with the miraculous birth of Isaac is certain. Verse 4:18 reflects Abraham's point of view on this issue: he believed in God's promise in spite of circumstances to the contrary:

(Ro 4:18): "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."

"In hope" = In a sure confidence in God's will and supernatural capacity to fulfill His promise.

"against hope" = against the possibility of success in the natural, for Abraham was about a hundred years old, evidently impotent and there was no hope in the natural world of Abraham having a child with Sarah who was also physically incapable of conception with a dead womb.

"he believed" = Abraham believed in God's promise of eternal life through faith alone in a Messiah to come through his physical seed.

"and so became the father of many nations." = History shows that Abraham did give birth to Isaac and through successive generations through Isaac, was born the promised Savior Jesus Christ.

"according to that which was spoken, (so shall your descendants be)" = This phrase reflects on the fact that Old Testament Scripture prophesied this outcome, whereupon God promised eternal life to Abraham when He said what Paul recorded from the Old Testament passage Genesis 15:1-6 in Romans 4:22:

(v. 4:22 NAS) "Therefore 'It was reckoned to him as righteousness.' "

1) [Compare Gen 15:1-6]:

(v. 1) "After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

'Do not be afraid, Abram.

I am your shield,

your very great reward.'

(v. 2) But Abram said, 'O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?'

(v. 3) And Abram said, 'You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.'

(v. 4) Then the word of the Lord came to him: 'This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.'

(v. 5) He took him outside and said, 'Look up at the heavens and count the stars - if indeed you can count them.' Then he said to him, 'So shall your offspring [lit. your Seed"] be.'

[" 'So shall your offspring ([lit. your Seed") be.' " =

In order for Abram to have countless offspring and be blessed by it in his own life he would have to have eternal life. The next verse indicates that God credited His perfect righteousness to Abram which is to say that Abram was granted entry into the kingdom of heaven, i.e., eternal life when he died]:

(v. 6) Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness."

So God presents a picture to Abraham to affirm His promise of an actual physical heir who was to come through the loins of Abraham, (Gen 15:4). This picture was 'painted' by God across the star studded night time heavens. An uncountable number of stars were visible to Abraham. God promised that just as the universe contained such an innumerable number of stars, so would be numbered the descendants of Abraham. This picture gave to Abraham the concept of him seeing countless numbers of descendants - a picture of his having eternal life in order for this to be possible. And so, Abraham was promised by God to have an infinite number of descendants evidently over an infinitely long lifetime, i.e., eternal life. When Abraham believed in God's promise of eternal life, God acounted to Abraham His righteousness. That is to say that Abraham was credited with God's perfect righteousness in conjunction with God's promise to Abraham of eternal life which evidently is required in order to have eternal life. This is the definition of justification unto eternal life: to be declared righteous by God. And note that it was received by a moment of faith alone. This cannot be misconstrued to mean that Abraham did or was expected to do anything in order to be perfectly righteous in his lifestyle. There is no stipulation to that effect in the passage.

So Gen 15:5-6 is not just a picture of Abraham's countless descendants living long after he died and had gone into the Lake of Fire. What would be the purpose of that if Abraham would never see them - being condemned to the Lake of Fire? Why would God make such a promise to Abraham if Abraham had no chance of ever seeing them in person, i.e., having eternal life? So this indeed was a picture of God's promise to Abraham of eternal life - eternal life with countless descendants over an eternity of time.

Since a moment of faith in the gospel results in the reception of a righteousness from God and eternal life, (Ro 1:16-17), then Abram's moment of faith in what God promised to him, which resulted in God declaring Abram to have a righteousness from God, provides eternal life for him.

So Abraham was now qualified to have eternal life by being credited by God with the absolutely perfect Righteousness of Jesus Christ as a result of his faith alone in God's plan alone of eternal life. And this eternal life would be through God's promise of providing a physical heir to Abraham whose descendancy would lead to the Messiah/Savior through Whom all the promises would be fulfilled.

B) BELIEVING THAT GOD HAD THE ABILITY AND THE WILLINGNESS TO FULFILL HIS PROMISE TO ABRAHAM OF ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH ABRAHAM'S SEED RESULTED IN GOD ACCOUNTING ABRAHAM'S FAITH AS RIGHTEOUSNESS UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

(v. 4:13 NAS) For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through law, but through the righteousness of faith. (v. 4:14 NAS) For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; (v. 4:15 NAS) for law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation. (v. 4:16 NAS) For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all 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. (v. 4:17 NAS) 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." (v. 4:18 NAS) 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.' (v. 4:19 NAS) 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; (v. 4:20 NAS) yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, (v. 4:21 NAS) and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform, (v. 4:22 NAS) Therefore 'It was reckoned to him as righteousness.' ." =

Paul records further details of Abraham's faith that God would provide a son through himself, (his seed), and Sarah, his wife. Notice in verse 4:19 that Abraham's faith that he and Sarah would give birth to a son did not become weak in spite of contemplating his own body which was about a hundred years old and contemplating the deadness of Sarah's womb. Then in verses 4:20-21, Paul continues to emphasize Abraham's steadfast faith in God's promise, even giving glory to God, being persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised. Finally, in verse 4:22, a summary verse, author Paul stipulates that believing that God had the ability and the willingness to fulfill His promise to Araham of eternal life through Abraham's seed resulted in God accounting Abraham's faith as righteousness unto eternal life.

[The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Vol. 10, 1976, Frank E Gaebeliein, Editor, pp. 52-53]:

"18-22. The final value of Abraham in respect to justification is that his faith becomes the standard for all believers. 'In hope against hope,' this man believed. In view of his 'deadened' condition (and that of Sarah likewise) because of advanced age, the situation seemed past hope. Nevertheless, he believed the promise of God that offspring would be given. 'In hope' takes account of the great change that came over his outlook due to the pledge God gave him. After making the original promise (Gen 15:5), God waited until it was physically impossible for this couple to have children. Then He repeated His pledge (Gen 17:5). Abraham's act of faith was essentially the same as on the previous occasion, but meanwhile circumstances had made the fulfillment of the promise impossible apart from supernatural intervention. He was shut up to God and was able to rest his faith there.

He 'faced the fact' of his physical condition and that of Sarah and 'did not waver through unbelief.' The refusal to waver answers to the refusal to weaken in faith. Abraham apparently suffered a momentary hesitancy (Gen 17:17), but it passed and was not held against him. That he really trusted God for the fulfillment of the promise is seen in his readiness to proceed with circumcision for himself and his household before Isaac was conceived (Gen 17:23-27). This act in itself could be construed as giving 'glory to God' an expression of trust in the power of the Almighty to make good His promise. Moreover, it was an open testimony to others of his trust in God's faithfulness to His word...

As far as Abraham was concerned, he was not taking a chance. He was 'fully persuaded' that God's power would match His promise. This man of God was called on to believe in a special divine intervention - not after it occurred, as the Jews were challenged to do concerning the resurrection of Jesus."

XI) [Ro 4:23-25]:

(v. 4:23 NAS) "Now not for his sake only was it written that it was reckoned to him,

(v. 4:24 NAS) but for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,

(v. 4:25 NAS) He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification."

OBSERVATIONS

A) PAUL REITERATES A KEY THEME OF HIS LETTER TO THE ROMANS, FROM A PERSPECTIVE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT ACCOUNT OF ABRAHAM'S JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE UNTO ETERNAL LIFE: THAT ANYONE, JEW OR GENTILE, WHO EXPRESSES THE SAME FAITH THAT ABRAHAM EXPRESSED IN THE PROMISE OF GOD TO PROVIDE THROUGH ABRAHAM'S SEED A MESSIAH/SAVIOR, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST - THAT PERSON HAS ETERNAL LIFE

(v. 4:17 NAS) "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. (v. 4:18 NAS) "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.' (v. 4:19 NAS) 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; (v. 4:20 NAS) yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, (v. 4:21 NAS) and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. (v. 4:22 NAS) Therefore 'It was reckoned to him as righteousness.' (v. 4:23 NAS) Now not for his sake only was it written that it was reckoned to him, (v. 4:24 NAS) but for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, (v. 4:25 NAS) [He] who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification." =

Paul reiterates a key theme of his letter to the Romans from a perspective of the Old Testament account of Abraham's justification by faith alone unto eternal life: that anyone, Jew or Gentile, who expresses the same faith that Abraham expressed in the promise of God to provide through Abraham's seed a Messiah/Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ - that person has eternal life.

A review from the Old Testament of Abraham's justification by faith alone unto eternal life follows:

1) Abram Believes In God's Promise And God Credits It To Abram As Righteousness Unto Eternal Life

(v. 1:16) "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (v. 1:17 NKJV) For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed [in one to mankind] from faith to faith, [i.e., out of ones belief in the gospel to faithfulness in ones life to that belief] just as it is written: 'The righteous will live [out the length of their lives] by faith.' " =

Notice that being declared by God as having a righteousness from Him is unto salvation unto eternal life. The righteousness which Abram received when he believed in God's plan for him confirmed God's promise of eternal life:

a) [Compare Gen 15:1-6]:

(v. 1) "After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

'Do not be afraid, Abram.

I am your shield,

your very great reward.'

(v. 2) But Abram said, 'O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?'

(v. 3) And Abram said, 'You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.'

(v. 4) Then the word of the Lord came to him: 'This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.'

(v. 5) He took him outside and said, 'Look up at the heavens and count the stars - if indeed you can count them.' Then he said to him, 'So shall your offspring [lit. your Seed"] be.'

[" 'So shall your offspring ([lit. your Seed") be.' " =

In order for Abram to have countless offspring and be blessed by it in his own life he would have to have eternal life. The next verse indicates that God credited His perfect righteousness to Abram which is to say that Abram was granted entry into the kingdom of heaven, i.e., eternal life when he died]:

(v. 6) Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness."

So God presents a picture to Abraham to affirm His promise of an heir - an actual physical heir who was to come through the loins of Abraham, (Gen 15:4). This picture was 'painted' by God across the star studded night time heavens. An uncountable number of stars were visible to Abraham. God promised that just as the universe contained such an innumerable number of stars, so would be numbered the descendants of Abraham. This picture gave to Abraham the concept of him seeing countless numbers of descendants - a picture of his having eternal life in order for this to be possible. And so, Abraham was promised by God to have an infinite number of descendants evidently over an infinitely long lifetime, i.e., eternal life. When Abraham believed in God's promise of eternal life, God acounted to Abraham His righteousness. That is to say that Abraham was credited with God's perfect righteousness in conjunction with God's promise to Abraham of eternal life which evidently is required in order to have eternal life. This is the definition of justification unto eternal life: to be declared righteous by God. And note that it was received by a moment of faith alone. This cannot be misconstrued to mean that Abraham did or was expected to do anything in order to be perfectly righteous in his lifestyle to receive eternal life from God. There is no stipulation to that effect in the passage.

So Gen 15:5-6 is not just a picture of Abraham's countless descendants living long after he died and had gone into the Lake of Fire. What would be the purpose of that if Abraham would never see them - being condemned to the Lake of Fire? Why would God make such a promise to Abraham if Abraham had no chance of ever seeing them in person, i.e., having eternal life? So this indeed was a picture of God's promise to Abraham of eternal life - eternal life with countless descendants over an eternity of time.

Since a moment of faith in the gospel results in the reception of a righteousness from God and eternal life, (Ro 1:16-17), then Abram's moment of faith in what God promised to him, which resulted in God declaring Abram to have a righteousness from God, provides eternal life for him.

So Abraham was now qualified to have eternal life by being credited by God with the absolutely perfect Righteousness of Jesus Christ as a result of his faith alone in God's plan alone of eternal life. And this eternal life would be through God's promise of providing a physical heir to Abraham whose descendancy would lead to the Messiah/Savior through Whom all the promises would be fulfilled.

Since God gives life to the dead and created the world - even life - out of nothing and since God fulfilled His promise that Abraham and Sarah would give birth to a son, when Isaac was born, in spite of the fact that this was physically and naturally impossible for both of them, then it has been established that God is capable of fulfilling the promise He made to Abraham and to all of those who express the same faith Abraham did, of justification unto eternal life through faith in Abraham's physical descendant, Jesus Christ.

Notice that the word "promise" repeated in vv. 4:13, 14, 16, 20, 21 and the phrases "the righteousness that comes by faith", (v. 4:13), and "credited... as righteousness", (vv. 4:22, 23, 24) refer to and describe the justification, i.e., being declared as perfectly righteous enough and qualified to have eternal life, of the one who believes in Jesus Christ. This justification is received via a moment of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone whereupon one is declared by God to have such righteousness of God and thereby freely receive eternal life as a free gift.

[The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Vol. 10, 1976, Frank E Gaebeliein, Editor, pp. 52-53]:

"Having dealt with Abraham's situation, the apostle turns finally to applying God's dealings with the patriarch to the readers of the Epistle."

Notice that vv. 22-24 indicate that Abraham's experience with God relative to his justification was recorded in Scripture for the benefit of mankind so that any individual may express the faith that Abraham did and be reckoned righteous unto eternal life:

(v. 4:22 NAS) "Therefore 'It was reckoned to him as righteousness.' (v. 4:23 NAS) Now not for his sake only was it written that it was reckoned to him, (v. 4:24 NAS) but for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead."

B) SINCE JUSTIFICATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE IS REPEATEDLY STIPULATED IN ROMANS CHAPTERS 3, 4 AND ELSEWHERE AS RECEIVED WHEN ONE BELIEVES WHAT ABRAHAM BELIEVED AS RECORDED IN OT SCRIPTURE, THEN AN UNDERSTANDING AND BELIEF IN OUR LORD'S RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD AND A NUMBER OF OTHER DETAILS NOT IN THE OT ACCOUNT OF ABRAHAM'S JUSTIFICATION BUT NEVERTHELESS PRESENT IN LATER SCRIPTURE PASSAGES ARE NOT ESSENTIAL TO KNOW AND BELIEVE IN ORDER TO BE JUSTIFIED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE. ON THE OTHER HAND SINCE THESE DETAILS IMPLY THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE ITSELF THEN IF ANY ARE REJECTED AS UNTRUE, THIS IMPLIES A REJECTION OF THE GOSPEL ITSELF

(v. 4:22 NAS) "Therefore 'It was reckoned to him as righteousness.' (v. 4:23 NAS) Now not for his sake only was it written that it was reckoned to him, (v. 4:24 NAS) but for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead." =

Notice that additional information beyond what the OT Scriptures indicate was revealed by God to Abraham relative to justification unto eternal life is stipulated here, namely, that "our Lord Jesus Christ ... was raised [from the dead] because of our justification."

Since justification unto eternal life is repeatedly stipulated in this chapter and elsewhere as received when one believes what Abraham believed as recorded in OT Scripture, then an understanding and belief in our Lord's resurrection from the dead and a number of other details not in the OT account of Abraham's justification but nevertheless present in later Scriptural passages are not essential to know and believe in order to be justified unto eternal life. On the other hand, further details of God's plan for justification unto eternal life beyond what God revealed to Abraham as revealed in later passages of the Old and New Testaments provide for a more complete understanding of ones justification unto eternal life and the believer's walk of faith. The occurence in history of what God had promised to Abraham which included these additional details might more easily afford the faith of an individual in the gospel. Since these further details have intrinsically implied in them the basics of the gospel given and believed by Abraham unto eternal life, then if accepted as true, they also provide justification; but no more and no less that the justification that Abraham received. Since the additional details imply an understanding of the basics of the gospel message, then rejection of any of these additional details implies a rejection of the gospel itself.

[Expositor's, cont., p. 54]:

"It may be helpful to recognize that justification, considered objectively and from the standpoint of God's provision, was indeed accomplished in the death of Christ (5:9) and therefore did not require the resurrection to complete it. Paul does not mention the resurrection in his definitive statement on justification in 3:21-26."

Continue to Romans chapter 5