Sunday, October 29, 2017

Justification By Works or Faith

Temple Baptist Church - 10-29-2017
Romans 4:1-16


A.  Last week, we saw that our father, Abraham, (Verse 11) was justified by faith without the works of the Law.  If Abraham was justified by works, according to verse 2, “he hath whereof to glory.”  This would be contradictory to other verses of scripture. 

1 Corinthians 1:29-31  That no flesh should glory in his presence.  (30)  But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  (31)  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.  (As it is written refers us back to the Old Testament.)

Jeremiah 9:23-24  Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:  (24)  But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

Romans 3:24-28  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  (25)  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;  (26)  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.  (27)  Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.  (28)  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

B.  Abraham’s faith was unique in that God’s salvation is the only “religion” in the world that excludes personal sacrifice or merit.  I want to give a general breakdown of Abraham’s righteousness imputed.

1.  What Abraham received – vs. 1-5  A canceled sin debt.  God Himself canceled it and declared an unrighteous man righteous through imputation.  Through the finished work of Christ to come, his sin was atoned for in the Old Testament and done away at Calvary.

2.  How Abraham received – vs 1-5  Through faith apart from works.  Abraham simply believed God!  I am not sure why this is so difficult to some.  God said it and, to Abraham, that settled it!

3.  When Abraham received – vs. 9-16  The moment he believed God, instantaneous and complete.

a)  Before he was circumcised – vs. 9-12

b)  Before the Law was given – vs. 13-16

C.  I want to give a short but biblical over view of saving faith.  Verse 3 declares that it was Abraham’s faith that saved him, not his works. This chapter explains how God justifies (declares righteous) ungodly people through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1.  Justification Is by Faith, Not Works (4:1-8).

a.  We have seen that the Old Testament saint was saved by faith in the coming of Messiah and the propitiation that would take place. 

b.  Acts 15:5-11  But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed(Saved but misguided) saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.  (6)  And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.  (7)  And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.  (8)  And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;  (9)  And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.  (10)  Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples,which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  (11)  But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

c.  These verses declare that Jew, Gentile, and Old Testament believers were saved by faith without the keeping of the Law.  No man has ever been able to keep the Law as it is a perfect standard.  Those who have believed on Christ but taught that they must keep the Law must try to figure out what is a “big” sin and what is a “little” sin because they are still imperfect in the flesh.

2.  Justification Is by Grace, Not Law (4:9-17)

a.  Before the Law - Romans 4:3  For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

b.  Under the Law - Romans 4:5-6  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.  (6)  Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,(“Even as David” ties King David’s faith to the faith of Abraham.

c.  After the Law - Romans 4:11  And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised:that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

Romans 4:16  Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham;who is the father of us all,

d.  Works and Law cannot co-exist in saving faith.  They are like oil and water: shake them up if you wish but the oil will separate and come to the top.

Romans 11:5-6  Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.  (6)  And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

1)  If salvation is all of grace, it is mixed with no works.  If it is a mixture of grace and works, it is not grace.

2)  If salvation is of works, it has nothing to do with grace because works demands a payday or reward.  Grace, which means that we do not deserve it, would do away with works, which means that we do deserve it.

3)  Works for salvation frustrates the grace of God and Christ died in vain.  Galatians 2:21  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Galatians 5:1-4  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.  (2)  Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.  (3)  For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.  (4)  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

3.  Justification Is by Resurrection Power, Not Human Effort (4:18-25) Salvation is not “do.”  Salvation is “done.”  It is a finished work: death, burial, and resurrection.

a.  Verse 17 says that it is God who quickens the dead.

1)  Jesus was declared to be God with power by the resurrection from the dead.  Romans 1:4  And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

2)  We were declared righteous with power by our resurrection from the dead.  Ephesians 2:1  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

b.  Verse 19 says that God quickened the loins of Abraham and the womb of Sarah.

1)  When the flesh is dead, only God can bring forth life through resurrection power.

2)  Romans 4:18-22  Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.  (19)  And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb:  (20)  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;  (21)  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.  (22)  And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

3)  When the spirit is dead, only God can bring forth life through resurrection power.

4)  Romans 6:3-5  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  (4)  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  (5)  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

5)  The likeness of our Lord’s resurrection is that of absolute holiness which requires imputation. 

6)  Romans 4:22-25  And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.  (23)  Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;  (24)  But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;  (25)  Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

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