ROMANS 4 THE EXAMPLE OF ABRAHAM
“But there’s more!”
In Romans 1-3 Paul has been systematically laying a foundation of Christian belief.
• Man was created good, but decided to remove God from the centre & became broken as a result.
• The pain we see in this world, and in our own lives is the result of this brokenness.
• Mankind is unable to fix himself … no amount of self effort will work.
• God has provided the solution in Jesus.
• Jesus came as our Redeemer to set us free, buy back all that was lost, restore hope into our future and depower the spiritual threat against us.
• Jesus, on the cross, was our sacrifice of atonement. He paid the price for our freedom. His death also removed the power of sin from our lives.
Now, at the end of Ch 3 and in Ch 4 he continues with the issue really bothering this local church.
But what about the Jewish Law?
Where does that leave those who were Jews?
Surely what the Jews had in the Law is sufficient?
To deal with this burning question, he returns to the one person every Jew could relate to: Abraham.
1. ABRAHAM WAS ACCEPTED BY FAITH ALONE
Vs. 3 “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness”
Abraham was declared to be IN THE RIGHT because of his faith!
Vs. 4, 5
Abraham DID NOTHING to earn God’s favour.
As he trusted in God, it WAS GRANTED!
*Genesis 15 vs. 17-18 God ALONE made the covenant!!!
Abraham was circumsized AFTER he received God’s favour.
It wasn’t circumcision that earned him anything … circumcision was what took place AFTER GOD ACCEPTED HIM!
What do we learn from this?
• There is NOTHING WE CAN DO to earn God’s favour.
• There is NO RELIGIOUS ACTION that can earn God’s favour either.
Human effort is NEVER ENOUGH!
And yet how many times do we start by faith & then fall back to relying on our own effort to get things out of God?
We enter our Christian experience by faith & then try to continue by human effort … if I just pray more, if I just give more, if I just fast more, if I just attend more …
None of those are wrong, but NONE OF THEM CAN EARN US GOD’S FAVOUR.
Being “in the right” is always credited to us by faith.
TOTAL TRUST is the pathway to blessing, not harder work!
2. ABRAHAM BECAME AN HEIR BY FAITH
Abraham received so much more than acceptance by God.
Vs. 13-14 He became part of God’s family
THIS IS HUGE.
Abraham, by faith, was granted the family inheritance.
He became God’s heir … and so did his children.
God formed a new faith community from Abraham.
Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 13:14-17, Genesis 15:1, 5-6
Everything that was God’s became HIS by faith.
What does that mean for us?
WE ARE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM. “He is the father of us all” Vs. 17
Therefore, everything that is his, is also ours!
If Abraham is an heir of God, THEN as his children, SO ARE WE.
We are heirs of God and joint heirs WITH CHRIST.
What is an heir?
An heir is a person that is the rightful owner of all that the Father has! It is his/hers by promise.
When we enter the family of God by faith, we have access to all that is God’s by faith … not by works … by faith!
As we trust God, we receive His best.
As we lean on Him, all that is His becomes available to us.
The story is told of a very wealthy Christian man who had a wayward son.
The son refused to have anything to do with God or the church.
The day came for the Father to die and the will to be read.
The son waited expectantly in the lawyer’s office to hear about all the money he would inherit.
To his horror, the lawyer produced his Father’s old Bible & said, “Your Father has left you his Bible. His instructions to you are that all you will ever need in life will be found in its pages.”
In disgust the young man stormed out of the office and threw the Bible on to a shelf unopened.
Over the years he struggled through life, cursing his Father who left him only a Bible when he was so wealthy.
He died in poverty.
After his death, his relatives found the old Bible on the shelf & opened the first page. Inside was a $100 bill. Between EVERY page was a $100 bill. The Father’s entire fortune was placed in the Bible.
If the son had only read it, he would have inherited the entire fortune.
This is very much the story of many Christians.
Abraham inherited everything BY FAITH.
BY FAITH God says we become his children.
Yes we have forgiveness and spiritual freedom.
Yes we have acceptance & our brokenness is restored.
BUT THERE IS SO MUCH MORE!
We become heirs of all Abraham was promised … life, blessing, provision, power, authority, offspring like the sand on the sea shore … all BY FAITH.
Sitting on the shelf we have God’s promises to us.
But they are only received God’s way … by faith … by simple trust … they are received NEVER EARNED.
GOD IS, THEREFORE, BUILDING A NEW FAITH COMMUNITY, based on faith alone.
What kind of faith was it?
The kind that refuses to be put off.
The kind that holds on tight to God no matter what the circumstances around us say.
The kind that leans on God … no matter what.
Sing “Lean on” to finish with.