Romans 4 Commentary

Some examples (4:1-25)

To illustrate what he has just been teaching, Paul refers to the example of Abraham. Abraham was justified because of his faith, not because of any good deeds that he did (4:1-3). (To understand the illustrations concerning Abraham that follow, read Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6; 16:1-16; 17:15-22; 18:1-15;


Righteousness is a gift received by faith, not payment for work that a person does (4-5). David, as well as Abraham, knew that righteousness comes only through God’s grace, not through one’s good works (6-8). It has nothing to do with circumcision either, because Abraham was justified before he was circumcised. He received circumcision later, as an outward sign of the inward faith that he already had. He might be called the spiritual father of all who are justified by faith, whether Jews or Gentiles (9-12).

Neither has this righteousness anything to do with the law, because Abraham simply accepted God’s promise by faith. He did not have to work for it by trying to keep rules. The law does not make people righteous. It only shows up their disobedience and so brings God’s wrath upon them (13-15).

The principle underlying God’s dealings with humankind, Jews and Gentiles alike, is that he gives his promises by grace, and people receive them by faith (16). God promised childless Abraham that he would be the father of a multitude of people. Although Abraham and Sarah were well past the age when they might normally expect to have children, Abraham still trusted God’s promise and believed God could do the impossible (17-21). God accepted Abraham as righteous because Abraham trusted him to do what he


had promised. In like manner God will accept as righteous those who trust for their salvation in what Christ has done for them through his death and resurrection (22-25).

Privacy Policy