Thursday, 11 April 2013
Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, 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… Romans 4:16
“Therefore” is Paul’s note of conclusion for this particular line of thought – “Because of these things… the following is the conclusion.”
“It is of faith.” This returns to verse 13 – ” For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” The promise was through faith and thus it stands by faith even now. And the reason?
“That it might be according to grace.” If the promise isn’t of faith, then there would be no grace involved. Anything other than faith involves work. When work is included, then wages are due. As was noted in Romans 4:3 and which should be repeated, 1) Deeds of the law, or works, do not lead to justification. 2a) “Faith” is not something required within the context of the law. The law is of works and demands perfect obedience. 2b) But by faith a person is justified and declared righteous. 3) Therefore, because the law demands works, and faith is not a requirement under the law, then faith cannot be a work; it is something entirely different; no wages are due.
But Paul has shown clearly and concisely, using both David and Abraham, that it is of faith and therefore it might be according to grace. And the reason is clear – “So that the promise might be sure to all the seed.” The term “all the seed” must be apart from the law because the promise was made prior to the law in Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. The promise stands even though there was no law. If this is the pattern, and it is also the pattern through David who was under the law, then it is all-encompassing – “to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law.”
Anyone of faith may receive God’s grace; anyone lacking faith – regardless of whether they are of the law or not – are excluded. The promise is by grace through faith only. It is to those who “are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.”
It is astonishing how many people miss this. Instead, they tear verses out of context in order to justify that we are bound to the constraints of the law. And yet, the law demands such things as going to Jerusalem to sacrifice three times a year. It demands that one not wear clothing of two types of material – wool and linen for example. It demands circumcision and Sabbath observance – and on and on. Any violation of the law breaks the entire law (James 2:10). And yet, while ignoring all of these tenets found under the law, they still claim that adherence to the law is required. This is unclear thinking and it is a setting aside of the very grace bestowed upon us in Jesus Christ.
Life application: Verse after verse has come to the same irrefutable conclusion – we are not under law but under grace. This is so important that we need to be reminded again and again. It is the principle tenet of Paul’s writings and yet… and yet we continue to miss it. Stand firm on the gospel and do not let yourselves be brought again under the yoke of bondage.
Lord God, keep me resolute in my walk and in the light of Your truth. And help me never to be swayed from the heart of the gospel which says that I have been saved by grace through faith. I know there is nothing I can do which could ever add to the work of Jesus. His work is all-sufficient to restore me to You. Thank you for the cross. Amen.