September 24, 2021 - Romans 4:1-25
A promise is a wonderful gift to receive especially when the one making the promise has the means to fulfill it. Parents often will guarantee something that later they regret as circumstance changes or perhaps the store is sold out of an item or some other unseen issue arises. Promises can be difficult to keep and even harder to explain why they are not kept.
Paul had finished the previous chapter regarding the righteousness which God has given to all that believe Jesus and His word. This once for all action, called justification, was initiated by God alone. Paul uses two witnesses from the Old Testament to verify his argument and present evidence for justification.
The apostle begins with a witness that was irrefutable in the eye of the Jews. Abraham was their "father" and as he was justified by faith than all others could be as well. Being uncircumcised, Abraham still received the promise of that right standing by faith not only for himself but for all who received (vv.16-18). Through belief alone in God, Abraham was declared righteous and God accounted this faith, not works, for righteousness.
His next witness fit into the prophet category of the Old Testament as the greatest king in Israel history. David is presented as a witness by using his writings of Psalm 32 as a means of crediting righteousness apart from works. These two great figures in Israelite history give credit to God for receiving a standing based on faith which included no works.
Whether it was Abraham's or David's statements, the fact remained for Paul that God promised He would bring justification to pass for all who He desired to receive this free gift. Paul states, "It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offense, and was raised because of our justification" (v.25).
We have a standing that is unmovable, a foundation unshakable because of what Jesus did through His redemption for us. Without Christ, we are sinners standing before a Holy Father without representation, guilty and hopeless. With Christ, we are standing before a Holy Father with a legal representative who presents us as no longer condemned and pardoned of all sin! Jesus keeps His promises and we can rejoice that we are forgiven and justified.