Read This Week: Romans 4

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.” Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring. – Romans 4:5-8, 16 NIV

It is interesting about us as people when it comes to starting and cultivating a relationship with God. We would rather work instead of trust. Our natural tendency is to do before we believe; earn before we submit. We default to attempting things on our own. We want to acquire our way to heaven instead of placing our faith in the only way. We desire to be righteous by our good deeds instead of the all-encompassing sacrifice of Christ.

Paul addresses this age-old human problem of striving versus believing in Romans 4. He has already said in Chapter 3 that God justifies all people by faith and that no one, regardless of heritage, culture, or background, can boast about their works. The Apostle reiterates this truth in verse 8: “The one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.”

It is humanly impossible to do anything that will justify us as righteous before God. That is only accomplished through faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross. This passage goes on to teach that justification by faith alone goes back to Abraham in the Old Testament. Paul writes, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” So if Abraham was justified by his faith and not his great works, that means we are too.

If we are justified by faith and not works, that means salvation is not restricted to one group of people. Paul quotes David and says, “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” All those whose sins are forgiven, not just some of those. If we are justified by faith and not the law, that means we live by trusting in God’s perfect truth and promises, not a standard dictated by imperfect people.

The example of Abraham in this chapter shows that from the beginning, the Lord’s way of relating to human beings is by faith in Him rather than on works that could never be adequate to close the gap between the two. By faith is how God desires for us to be in relationship with Him.

This is the faith that works; faith that is key to a blessed life. Verse 6 beautifully says, “Blessed is the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works.” We are blessed when our works are the outflow of our faith, not the replacement for it. We are blessed when we live and rest in the justification before God provided through Christ, instead of striving needlessly and without merit to take His place.

12 Comments

  1. Heidi on June 25, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    God showed me someone in a body cast that represents the old nature. When you give your life to him that old cast gets cut away and taken off. So what happens when a cast gets taken off? You’re weak with no muscles and your body hasn’t been used in the right way for a long time. This is similar to your new life with God when it begins. It takes time to learn how to use your faith as you go through trials, difficult times, not getting along with someone, etc. You will have opportunities to use your faith, to learn how to trust God, and believe that He is working everything for your good because you love Him and He loves you.

    As you respond with God helping you to make better choices, talk the way God wants, waiting for God’s timing, you may have to wait a while. Sometimes you may not see the outcome for a while, but as you follow His guidance, His instructions, you don’t give up. You trust God because He knows what is best for you. What is important is learning what faith in God is all about. Knowing how much God loves you, as you grow in your faith, then God has you reaching out to others to help them too. It’s a wonderful life with Father God, Jesus, and others.

    I love this chapter because Paul is teaching us what faith looks like through Abraham and King David. I want to encourage you to read about their life with God. Through this, God is saying to me, “It’s really important to learn about My love for you. Learn something every day about My promises so you know them. Exercise your faith daily, so you become stronger and stronger. I am here for you always, learn how important you are to Me, so you will know it’s Me leading you in the right direction. Be a blessing to others then you will be blessed.”

    • Jason on July 2, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      This was my favorite and the most impactful part of your post to me, Heidi: Sometimes you may not see the outcome for a while, but as you follow His guidance, His instructions, you don’t give up. You trust God because He knows what is best for you.

      Your statement seemed to sum up the essence of faith spoke about in Romans 4. It is the faith that works. One that trusts God’s heart, counsel, guidance, and truth even when the outcome is delayed or the path is uncertain. A faith that holds on to God’s promises because they are best for us when we’re tempted to abandon them for our own way.

      I am thankful for Paul’s exhortation in this chapter through the life of Abraham and the words of David and appreciate your reminder as well.

  2. Jeri Centers on June 26, 2020 at 11:32 am

    Romans 4 verse 13 taught me this week that it’s only through Jesus that we can come to that wonderful place so filled with love, and peace and supplied of eternal grace. It’s only through Jesus that we can have salvation for eternity and experience His love that is so grand.

    What that means to me is that God’s plan is so important and knowing how much He loves us all. I praise His name, my mighty God. God knows of everything you can have eternal life with Jesus.

    • Jason on July 2, 2020 at 12:48 pm

      It is so important to know how much God loves us all, Jeri and it is one of the foundational truths that leads to salvation and eternal life. I pray that more people will know and absorb the love of God and His plan for redeeming mankind through the gift of Hos grace in the person of Jesus. As you said, His love is so grand!

  3. Kathy on June 26, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    In reading Romans 4 this week, this is what God was saying to me, “I can justify the godly and the ungodly because of what My son did on the cross. You are not justified because of your ungodliness but despite your ungodliness. Your faith is accounted for righteousness. You can enter into a relationship with Me, but you have to want this. You are not saved by faith. You are saved by My grace, and grace is taken by faith.

    Salvation is of faith and nothing else. You can only receive salvation by the principle of grace through faith. Grace can’t be gained through works. I can call those who are dead in trespasses and sins to a new life in Jesus. Obedience is faith in action. In faith do not look to circumstances, but look at my promises.”

    What this says to me is God was reminding me I can enter into a relationship with Him, but it is up to me. I have to do my part. If I want to be obedient, then I have to show faith in action. I will be blessed if I listen and respond to God and do it.

    • Jason on July 2, 2020 at 1:04 pm

      I really appreciate your commentary on Romans 4, Kathy. This was an especially strong point: Salvation is of faith and nothing else. You can only receive salvation by the principle of grace through faith. Grace can’t be gained through works.

      When put that way, it is clear to see the simplicity and clarity of the gospel. The Bible is clear here in this chapter of Romans and in Ephesians 2:8 when it says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” We make it more difficult by inserting our efforts into the equation when we simply must respond to God’s grace in faith.

  4. almaschmidt on June 26, 2020 at 11:24 pm

    This week I got a song through Romans 1 chapter 4 called, “Faith”:

    We are seeking you, seeking you, seeking you, our Lord
    Trusting, believing, and having faith in you

    Relying on, trusting you during sorrow and happiness
    Every minute of every day, we have faith, faith, faith in you, our Lord

    We trust, believe, and have faith in you. Amen.

    Our father God is so easy to please. We just have to trust, have faith, hope and respond to Him. I am thankful to my Father. My heart is blessed.

    • Jason on July 2, 2020 at 12:38 pm

      Another beautiful offering about seeking God in faith and hopeful trust, Alma. God is certainly blessed and pleased in our seeking Him and we are in turn blessed in our pursuit. The Scriptures tell us that if we seek God, He will be found by us. So the more we look, the more we discover and experience. That is the great benefit of following Jesus. We are never left wanting or unfulfilled when we do earnestly seek His face.

      Your song reminded me of a favorite worship hymn of mine from Gateway Worship called, “The More I Seek You”. I hope these lyrics will speak to you in addition to the music that God placed in your heart from Romans 4:

      The more I seek You, the more I find You
      The more I find You, the more I love You

      I wanna sit at Your feet, drink from the cup in Your hand
      Lay back against You and breathe, feel Your heartbeat
      This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand
      I melt in Your peace, it’s overwhelming.

      • almaschmidt on July 2, 2020 at 5:29 pm

        Jason, thanks for all your encouragement. I personally love that song, “The More I Seek You”. Hope you feel blessed this week. Happy 4th!

        • Jason on July 3, 2020 at 11:37 am

          I am so glad you love it, Alma. You are a blessing. I hope you’ve had a wonderful week as well. Happy 4th!

  5. Samuel Centers on June 28, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    This week, God drew me to Romans 4 verse 3 and he was saying to me, “You must always be like Abraham and trust and know that I am the only true way. As you give to others you are storing up treasures in Heaven and are filled with my living water to be completely satisfied throughout your life with me. Know that when I promise you something, I will fulfill it in my time. Just trust Me.”

    • Jason on July 2, 2020 at 12:34 pm

      This is a great truth from this passage, Sam. A big tenant of our faith in God that we often struggle with is what I call the “Parentheses of Promise” or the times between when we first know of God’s promises and when God decides to fulfill those promises in our lives. That parenthesis of time, however, is the place that requires the most faith and trust in God’s will and timing. But it also the place that our faith is strengthened the most.

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