Sunday, March 30, 2014

Paul's Epistles Part 12 – Justified by Faith: Abraham

Paul's Epistles
Part 12 – Justified by Faith: Abraham
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

We are going to look at the Epistles of Paul in this series of sermons. We have already looked at who Paul was, our faith being reported around the world, not being ashamed of the Gospel, being Guilty of sin, Apostasy, the Results of Apostasy, You are Without Excuse, Jews and the Law, God's Faithfulness, No One is Righteous.

Last week we discussed The Remedy.

Today we will take a look at Romans 4:1-12, Justified by Faith: Abraham.


What then, shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.

Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

                   I.            WHO IS RIGHTEOUS?
a.      Paul showed last week that none are righteous
                                                                         i.      The Law of God has been given to both the Jew and Gentile

                                                                      ii.      No one has an excuse from it

                                                                   iii.      God has made Himself known

b.     Jew and Gentile are both guilty according to God's standards
                                                                         i.      The commands of God give us the Characteristics of righteousness

                                                                      ii.      No one person is capable of keeping these characteristics

                                                                   iii.      They were given to us by God, not to save us, or make us righteous, rather, to show us the need for the Lord and Salvation

c.      However, there is a remedy to unrighteousness
                                                                         i.      To be right with God, one must be righteous

                                                                      ii.      To be righteous, one must have the characteristics of righteousness described in the commands, not once, or for a while, but continuously and forever, without faltering or stumbling.

                                                                   iii.      Therefore, the ONLY way for man to be righteous, is for it to be credited to us.
1.      Not earned, but given. (credited)
2.      We shall be covered with the righteousness of Christ.
3.      The "white garment" in Revelation
4.      The "Covering of Sin" in scripture

Philippians 3:7-9 "...whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

               II.            ABRAHAM
a.      Abraham was credited with righteousness
                                                                         i.      Not because of works (like the commands call for)
                                                                      ii.      Rather, he was credited because of his faith in the Lord

b.     The "FREE GIFT" we hear of
                                                                         i.      Remembering what Paul says in Romans 3:10
1.      “There is no one righteous, not even one;"

c.      This is why NO ONE CAN BOAST
                                                                         i.      We cannot brag, boast, be prideful, arrogant or think we are above lost sinners.

                                                                      ii.      Because the ONLY difference between us and them, is we trust in the Lord. We are not better, above, or have something that we worked for, earned or even deserve.

                                                                   iii.      The covering (the Lord's righteousness), that we have, is available to EVERYONE who trusts in the Lord, and is GIVEN by the Lord.

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."

            III.            DAVID
a.      David says the same thing
                                                                         i.      Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven
1.      Did David have sins that needed to be forgiven?

2.      Yet, they were forgiven, and he too was credited with being righteous because of his faith in the Lord...NOT because he was "doing" the righteous things.

b.     Abraham was considered Righteous BEFORE he was circumcised.
                                                                         i.      Circumcision was given as a sign (verse 11)

                                                                      ii.      It "represented" a spiritual truth, but itself had no ritualistic value.
1.      Remember the arguments in the Book of Acts over whether you had to be circumcised or not for Salvation.

2.      It was decided that this act was symbolic, and also stated in scripture that the true Jews were the ones who were circumcised of the heart.
c.      Therefore, Abraham is the father of all who believe, even the uncircumcised, so that righteousness could also be credited to them.


So what is God's standard for Righteousness?
The 10 Commands are God's standards (or characteristics of Righteousness). The 10 commandments are also known as the Law of Moses.

According to God's standard, who is guilty of breaking it?
Everyone is guilty, Jew and Gentile.

How can we be righteous in God's eyes then?
We will be credited as Righteous, by having faith in the Lord, as Abraham, David, and all the other godly men and women of the Old and New Covenant.

Is righteousness salvation?
In a way.

We are credited with being Righteous when we have faith in the Lord.

This faith comes by hearing God's word and putting our trust in Him.

When we trust the Lord, we live according to the word we hear, which tells us, confess your guilty (according to the 10 commands), repent (or turn away from sin), and you will be forgiven. Live in this manner, and you will have Salvation through Jesus Christ.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!      

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