Romans 4: Children of Abraham, in Faith

theology

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“It’s not great faith that you need; it is faith in a Great God.”

N.T. Wright

Read Romans 4

  1. Verses 1-12: Drawing from the principle of depravity, we can deduce that Abraham indeed was not saved by his works. In the same way we are saved by believing God’s promises and acting on that, so Abraham was saved the such as this (verse 3). We are saved by faith alone, but not faith that remains alone. Belief in the God who declares ungodly people righteous is what leads to righteousness, and this can be seen in the reference to David’s Psalm 32 in verses 7-8. The essence of the Gospel is thus: actively believe the good news of the one who “justifieth the ungodly.” The saving work of Christ is timeless. The future work of Christ saved Abraham (Galatians 3:6-8) in the same way that work of Christ saves us, though in the past. The idea of circumcision is closely connected with baptism as a sign of covenant faith. In this way, those of us belonging to Christ inherit the covenant promise given unto Abraham. “We who have faith are all in the covenant and are thus the children of faithful Abraham.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon
  2. Verses 13-25: This section eliminates the idea that those of the Old Testament were saved differently than those in the New Testament. Righteousness according to faith in God by the work of Christ has been, is now, and always will be, the one way to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. These verses further focus on the essence of true faith. “Faith is not merely believing in God, but faith is believing God” ~ Art Azurdia. An active faith is that which believes the promises of God and lives in response to those promises. It is not a “shot in the dark,” it is the direct result of experiencing regeneration and running towards the risen Christ, and all based on the promises of God in the Scriptures. Finally, a faith in the risen Christ promises redemption and justification (being made righteous before God). “And if you trust yourself to the risen and glorified Christ, you have risen with him, and you will rise to be with him forever and ever.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Think About

  1. Why does the Old Testament matter to us? What does our faith have to do with Abraham’s faith?
  2. What is the importance of the unchanging nature of faith? If faith changed between the Old and New Testament, does that mean that God is changeable?
  3. The covenant sign of faith in the Old Testament was circumcision. What is the sign of faith in the New Testament? Think aboyut the relation between these two signs.

Pray

  1. Lord, you are immutable (unchanging). In the same way that you have been, are now, and always will be the same, so the process of faith has remained the same throughout history. Your sovereignty over both Testaments scream your goodness and power. Even though you are so vast and have a direct plan for all of time, you choose to condescend and interact with us, O Lord. Who are we that you chose to love us? We are wicked, you are holy, but you long to fill us with your love and joy. Lord, help us to remember that you are not merely the God of the faith of Paul or John, but also the God of the faith of Abraham. Let me be humble. Let me be thankful. Let me be conformed to the image of Christ, who has declared me holy by his finishing work. Amen.

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