Romans 4:25


Saturday, 20 April 2013

…who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. Romans 4:25

This final verse of chapter four explains the marvel of the finished work of Jesus. He “was delivered up because of our offenses.” Sins committed by the fallen sons of Adam must be punished. God cannot arbitrarily overlook sin without violating His own righteousness. Every sin must be punished. And the punishment must be perfectly executed. Therefore, there are only two possibilities –

1) Punishment in the one who commits the sin. A finite sin committed against an infinite Creator requires an infinite punishment – condemnation and eternal separation.

2) Punishment in a perfect Substitute. An animal cannot substitute because it is in a different category. Another person born from man cannot substitute because that person bears Adam’s sin. Thus Jesus is the only acceptable Sacrifice apart from option 1. He was born of God through a woman. He is the God/Man.

Jesus was delivered up for the sins of the world and, as Paul has clearly laid out, the justifying work of His sacrifice can only be received by faith. There is nothing we can do to add to what He has done for us. This is why Abraham is used as the preeminent example of this. Abraham looked forward in faith to the coming Messiah –

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” John 8:56

Is it really that hard to believe? The answer demands an affirmative. Very few in proportion to the total number of people in the world today have grasped the truth that an itinerant preacher in the little nation of Israel came to redeem the world. They reject the premise and rail against it. The only hope of their salvation is shunned because of an inability to perceive the marvelous workings of God.

However, Paul doesn’t finish with the cross, but he completes the gospel by stating that Jesus “was raised because of our justification.” God declared us “not guilty” through the cross of Christ. All of our sin was heaped upon Him and He bore the punishment for what we have done. But Christ also carried our sins away. They were removed “as far as the east is from the west.”

Therefore, where sin is removed, there is no longer punishment for sin. After bearing our punishment, He came back to life because it was impossible for death to hold Him. The wages of sin is death; He never sinned; therefore, He came back from the grave. He was “raised because of our justification.”

In one fell swoop, God removed our sins and raised us to new life through the work of His Son. This is exactly how Paul portrays the cross and the resurrection – as a single, unified whole. They together are the work of Christ on our behalf. Now, as is recorded in 1 Corinthians 15, the victory has been realized –

“The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (vs. 56, 57)

Life application: There is one and only one way to be reconciled to God the Father – through the work of Jesus Christ. God has shown us what is acceptable and He alone has done the work. Now by simple faith in what Jesus did, we stand justified, holy, and righteous before God.

Heavenly Father, I long for the day when I stand in Your presence and walk in Your light. And it has been made possible because of the precious Lamb without spot or blemish, my Lord Jesus. How great is Your love that You would place my sin and punishment upon Him and grant me His righteousness. I cannot grasp the depth of Your love. Thank You for Jesus. Amen.

Romans 4:24


Friday, 19 April 2013

…but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,… Romans 4:24

“But also for us” is tied to the previous verse which explained Genesis 15:6. Abraham simply believed God’s promise and it was accounted to him for righteousness. This written account of that declaration, according to Paul, “was not written for his sake alone.” In other words, what the Bible records about Abraham serves a another purpose which is that we too enter into the same state of righteousness.

And how will it occur? “It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.” We learn that our justification before God comes to us by an act of faith, just as it did with Abraham. The record of Abraham’s reckoning has been given to show us that the same thing will occur to us in the same way. The only difference between what occurred in Abraham and what will occur when we believe is the difference in what is known.

Abraham was given a promise and without wavering he believed. We have been given the account of Jesus and we are asked to believe it. This is the good news and it is the foundation of our faith. There are two things to note about it. First, Paul calls Jesus “Lord” and secondly he notes that He has been raised from the dead. He will call these to mind again in chapter 10 –

“….that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (verse 9).

After this, he will explain how this process works – “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (verse 10).

The pattern is set in the Old Testament and it continues and is confirmed in the New – there is only one way to be saved and works are excluded from the process. It is by faith, and faith alone that God bestows righteousness. We are to have faith that “Jesus is Lord.” This means that He is the divine Son of God – fully God and fully Man. And we are to have faith that God raised Him from the dead; He has fulfilled the law on our behalf.

Life application: What does your denomination require of you? Do they say you can’t eat pork? Do they say you must observe a Sabbath? Is there some other work that they tell you is necessary for you to prove you are saved? If so, it is time for you to find another place of worship. The Bible is clear, but we misunderstand. Call on Jesus as Lord, believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved. Nothing else is required. Now, go share this good news.

Lord God, thank You for the simplicity of the gospel. Help me to never add to the message that I am saved by grace through faith and that this is a gift. Reassure me as needed that a gift from You is an eternal bestowing of Your righteousness. When I fall short and sin, remind me that nothing can ever separate me from Your love again; that I am eternally saved through Jesus. Amen.

Romans 4:23


Thursday, 18 April 2013

Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, Romans 4:23

In 1 Corinthians 10:11, Paul says, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” Jude’s epistle says the same basic thing in verse 1:7. The stories of the Old Testament aren’t just written for us to read without careful consideration. Instead they are written so that we have real examples of how God works in and through history and they are to be used in for our instruction and learning.

Having said this, its important to understand that these are types and pictures and so care needs to be used when evaluating them. In the case of Abraham, Paul explicitly says that what is written about how righteousness was imputed to him wasn’t “written for his sake alone.”

We have the assurance that the pattern set down in Scripture concerning imputation was one that we can apply directly to ourselves and Paul will explain it in the next two verses.

Life application: When evaluating passages in the Bible for self-application, context is king. Understanding proper context takes an immense amount of study and contemplation. Be careful not to run ahead and attempt to apply verses or passages to your own life without understanding their full intent and purpose. Unless a concept, type, or shadow is explicitly explained, use great care in how you apply it.

Heavenly Father, lead me to teachers of the Bible who will use care and right reasoning when teaching and preaching from it. Please keep me from those who would misapply verses or passages and give me right discernment in what I hear and believe. This I pray to Your honor and glory. Amen.

Romans 4:22


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:22

“And therefore…” Paul sums up the thoughts of verses 9-22 (which includes an interim “therefore” that must be considered in this thought). Because of everything he has noted, clearly laying out his defense of righteousness apart from works, he cites Genesis 15:6 – “It was accounted to him for righteousness.” The word translated here is telling us that God was counting Abraham righteous because of his belief. The difference between “imputation” and “impartation” was previously detailed. Here is that difference –

Imputation: I believe the gospel and therefore I am counted as righteous.

Impartation: I believe the gospel and therefore I am righteous.

Abraham believed God and righteousness was credited to his account, even though he was still a fallible man. He knew that the Seed of the woman, promised at the fall of man, would come. Even more, he believed that He would come through him despite his circumstances. His unwavering faith in the promise of God was all that was necessary to justify him.

Life application: Take time to re-read verses 9-23 today and then store away this valuable treasure trove of information. If you have called on Jesus as Lord, then you are saved. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re lacking something necessary to please God. Let your works result from your salvation and not be an attempt to somehow merit it.

My Lord and my God, when I look at the marvel of Your creation I stand in awe of all that You have done. From you comes wonder, joy, and every good blessing. Help me to live my life in a manner worthy of Your glory and to never bring dishonor upon Your great name. Amen. 

Romans 4:21


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

…and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. Romans 4:21

Hebrews 11:1 defines what faith is – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It is something which one possesses, “substance” and “evidence.” Roman’s 4:21 takes this definition and describes it. Abraham was “fully convinced that what He [God] had promised He was also able to perform.” This is the substance of Abraham’s hope and it is the evidence of his faith.

Abraham’s internal conviction that God was able to perform exactly what He spoke was looked upon as an act of righteousness by God. This is the foundation of the biblical pattern for such a reckoning and it will be broken down and explained in the next verses. And the Bible will never deviate from this premise – that it is by grace through faith that one is saved. Jesus’ words confirm this precept and are worth remembering yet again –

“For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

This is the model, this is the standard, and this is the truth of the word of God. We are to be fully convinced that what He promises He will also perform.

Life application: Have faith in God and His word. It is the only thing that you can ever do which will restore you to Him. He has done the work; now accept what He has done and the promises which accompany it.

Heavenly Father, I am fully convinced that the things You have promised You are also able to perform. You have said that through Jesus my sins are forgiven and I accept that. You have said that through faith in Him I am declared righteous and I believe that. You have said that I am granted eternal life through Him and I wait patiently for that day! Great is Your faithfulness O God. Amen.