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Faith of our Father

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Paul has told us the future of those without Christ many times now.
He has spoken from the perspective of a Gentile, a Jew and then lumping everyone together.
Then we come to this magnificent part of where everything changes.
Paul speaks to us of the importance of believing in the blood (death, burial and resurrection) of Christ.
He broaches the subject of belief there and then in Chapter 4 he is going to use this whole section to talk about faith.
Remember who he is talking to:
The Jews are still reeling after hearing Paul talk about the uselessness of trying to measure up to what God desires through the law.
In case there is any question in their mind Paul is going to go to their biggest heroes and explain how Faith is not some new idea but even in the OT faith was what saved and not works.
The righteousness of God in the gospel is not some new last ditch effort to redeem people.
This is his plan that can be seen in the law and the prophets as well.
Romans 3:21 KJV 1900
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Paul uses to explain how God’s great plan of salvation was in complete harmony with the Old Testament.
Paul is going to do this by talking about Abraham and David.
Watch and pay attention as we watch this master genius stroke of God through Paul’s writing showing the Jews what really mattered.
Slide Practical Case Study
After all, with Abraham we are talking about the one that God referred to as his friend.
Isaiah 41:8 KJV 1900
But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The seed of Abraham my friend.
Abraham is considered to be the father of the Jews in their mind and David is their premier king.
Watch and pay attention as we watch this master genius stroke of God through Paul’s writing showing the Jews what really mattered.
Slide Practical Case Study
Here Paul is going to show how critical faith is in the life of the believer.
Paul will teach us that Righteousness is really a five letter word, you spell it F-A-I-T-H.
This is his plan that can be seen in the law and the prophets as well.
Romans 3:21 KJV 1900
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Righteousness is really a five letter word, you spell it F-A-I-T-H.

I. The Father of Faith -

We saw last week what the word Justify means. (as if I had never sinned)
In this passage we are going to see 3 different words that all play off of this word and all have the same basic meaning.
In these first 6 verses we are going to find 3 different words that have the same basic meaning.
The words are, reckon, impute and count and they all mean “to put to ones account.”
These words all mean the same thing.
Count: to put to ones account. An accounting term.
To put to ones account.
Impute: to put to ones account.
Justification means righteousness imputed (put to our account) and gives us a right standing before God.
It gives the idea that Paul spoke of in speaking of the slave Onesimus.
Philemon 18 KJV 1900
If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;
This is the idea of imputation.
These verses show clear proof that the principle of justification by faith apart from works of any kind was also the principle that operated in the Old Testament.
This isn’t some new doctrine that Paul was teaching.
The Jews considered Abraham to be the greatest patriarch of the Jewish nation.
He was the primary example in their mind of justification by works.
The claim that God justifies people based on their faith seems to run against their idea of Abraham but Paul will show that is a farce.
Romans 4:1 KJV 1900
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
Paul says so what did Abraham our father find in all the works that he did in the flesh?
That is a pretty big question for people that thought that no one had ever achieved as much as Abraham with his works.
Romans 4:2 KJV 1900
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
In the second verse Paul makes reference to that he just laid out.
He was justified by faith.
Justification isn’t something we feel, we may not feel forgiven but we are.
Justified isn’t the way we see ourselves, it is the way that God sees us.
How God sees us though is truly what matters way more than how we see ourselves.
When we are convinced that God sees us that way, we have the assurance of our justification.
Romans 3:27 KJV 1900
Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
There is no way that even Abraham can boast.
He may be able to glory to those that are watching on the outside but he has no ability to boast before God and God is really the only one that counts.
Slide Room for Boasting
Boasting is an illegitimate arrogance that contradicts the gospel message.
Justification isn’t something we feel, we may not feel forgiven but we are.
Justified isn’t the way we see ourselves, it is the way that God sees us.
How God sees us though is truly what matters way more than how we see ourselves.
When we are convinced that God sees us that way, we have the assurance of our justification.
This gives us nothing to brag about.
If we brag about our faith it is like a drowning man bragging about the fact that HE made it possible for the lifeguard to save him.
Romans 4:3 KJV 1900
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
What does the Bible say?
Abraham BELIEVED God, his life is a testimony of believing God.
He was called out of his homeland, he believed and left in
Genesis 12:1–3 KJV 1900
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
He was told to sacrifice his son and he believed.
His belief was counted as righteousness.
That word counted is an accounting term.
It was placed on his account as righteousness.
Romans 4:4 KJV 1900
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Paul says, “hey if someone works and gets what they DESERVE that isn’t grace, it is a debt.”
If I work a job and am told I will get paid $12 an hour then work for 10 hours and get paid $120 there is no grace at all.
Paul is saying that if Abraham was saved by his works or in combination with his works then he did not experience grace at all.
Grace and works are not put together in some magical mixture so that we can be saved.
It is all by grace and grace alone.

II. The Forgiveness of Faith -

Romans 4:5 KJV 1900
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
What a powerful statement made here in this verse.
To the one that doesn’t work, but instead believes on HIM that justifieth the ungodly, his FAITH is counted as righteousness.
What matters is faith in him.
He isn’t making a statement that it isn’t important to work, he is making a statement that trusting or believing or having faith in your works will not work.
Here Paul is referring to the last chapter as well.
Romans 3:28 KJV 1900
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Even Abraham wasn’t saved by anything other than faith.
And then he switches focus.
Romans 4:6 KJV 1900
Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
Romans 4:6–7 KJV 1900
Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Even David describes how blessed a man is that has had righteousness imputed to him without works.
Paul wasn’t satisfied with proving his point from only the great patriarch so he called in another Old Testament heavyweight.
Let’s talk about David.
This is making reference to .
Psalm 32:1–2 KJV 1900
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no guile.
How blessed are those whose sins are forgiven and whose sins have been covered.
David removes all doubt that there is any way that he can be called righteous outside of grace.
David is THE king that the Jews looked at as the most important and even their national hero.
Paul says Abraham and David both knew the power of forgiveness and grace.
The amazing truth of faith in him and in him alone and not the works that they had done.
Romans 4:8 KJV 1900
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Speaking of blessed, the one that God doesn’t impute sin to is blessed.

III. The Family of Faith -

Romans 4:9–10 KJV 1900
Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
Speaking of blessed, the question is when did Abraham receive his righteousness?
He was known as the father of circumcision since God gave this sign to him and his descendants.
Paul makes reference to where we find that he was counted as righteous.
Genesis 15:6 KJV 1900
And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
This was anywhere from 14-29 years before being given circumcision so the only logical answer was that the righteousness that was given to him before not after circumcision.
It was not a result of his works at all.
Paul is trying his hardest to show them that the wall of division has been taken down between the Jew and Gentile.
The implication for the church are extremely far reaching.
The church is called to be a counter-cultural institution.
The association of race, national background, economic status etc has no relevance at all.
This is what a church is supposed to look like.
Churches very rarely do look like this though.
Our churches tend to reflect our tendency to worship with people who are like us.
One of the major purposes of the church is to force us out of our comfort zones so that we can benefit from associating with people who are like us in their faith but different from us in every other way.
By breaking down this barrier that separates the Jew and the Gentile, Christ shows that he wants to build a church that is anything but uniform.
Romans 4:11–12 KJV 1900
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: And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
He received the seal of circumcision after not before.
It was a seal of his faith.
It was an outward sign of inward things.
Because of this he can be the father of ALL them that believe whether they are Jews or not.
Those that believe they can have righteousness imputed to them as well.
He can be their father to those that are not even circumcised at all.
The family of faith extends way beyond those that are circumcised.
says the same thing.
Romans 3:30 KJV 1900
Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
Those that are the family can be known because the WALK IN THE STEPS OF FAITH of our father Abraham.
The faith that he had when he was still uncircumcised.
Romans 4:13–15 KJV 1900
For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
Paul says the promise, that he should be the heir of the world.
That is a big statement because in the mind of the Jews he was their heir and their heir alone but Paul says he would be the heir of the world.
This was given to him not through the law but through faith.
If he was made to be the heir through the law then there is no need for faith and the promise wouldn’t even be in effect.
The law works wrath, it shows us we are sinners, without it we can’t even know what sin is.
Slide The Promise
This is the law doing exactly what the law was made to do.
Romans 4:16 KJV 1900
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,
It is of faith so that grace is the driver of it all.
Faith is helplessness reaching out in total dependence of God.
This is the only way that it is something for anyone and everyone.
To those that believe in Christ, Abraham is our father too.
Since God demands perfect righteousness, any promise that has conditions that deal with our effort is impossible.
The doctrine of faith alone offends our natural sensibilities.
We naturally think justification ought to go to the good, those who are trying to do their best.
We definitely don’t think naturally that the ungodly need it.
We understand how Abraham was justified by faith but not the wicked.
The truth is that we are all ungodly, we are all wicked.
No one is truly good enough.
Grace has a power that the Law never had.
We do not earn his promise, we receive it.
What we receive rests completely on what God has done.

IV. The Factors of Faith -

Romans 4:17 KJV 1900
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
God made him the father of nations plural.
Romans 4:18 KJV 1900
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.
Paul using the scriptures again to
This is a very powerful statement.
The principle of faith is explained to us in a very clear and concise way here.
Faith is simply taking God at his word and allowing God to be God in any and every situation.
He believed in hope against hope.
This verse captures the tension between proof and faith.
There was no way that he could have normal hope that he would become a father of anything.
Abraham was 100 years old when God gave him the promise.
His initial response was anything but belief.
He laughed because it was totally against hope of anyone that understood basic human anatomy.
Genesis 17:17 KJV 1900
Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
Paul never claimed that Abraham’s faith was perfect or that he never had any doubts.
His point is that Abraham despite some very human doubts always came back in the end to faith in the promises of God.
He is a perfect example of one that walked by faith and not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV 1900
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
He had to choose between evidence of what was possible and the promise of God.
Faith is the heart of the matter.
Faith can be defined by 3 basic things.
1. Faith is knowing that reality is greater than how we feel or how things appear.
Faith begins with a kind of death to self trust.
2. Faith is focusing on facts about God.
Faith isn’t the absence of thinking, it is an insistence to act out based on the truth of God instead of circumstances.
Are the things going on in my life a struggle to overcome for the one that hung the stars in the sky?
3. Faith is trusting the word of God.
Believing God is different than trusting his word.
Faith is taking God at his word when there is nothing else to go on.
Is that not the same struggle that we go through every single day?
We have to decide whether we are going to believe our God and his word or our circumstances.
Abraham decided to hope against all hope.
He didn’t allow the tangible evidence that seemed to point in another direction move his belief in his God.
He was going to become the father (crazy thought)
of many nations (really?)
According to what was spoken.
Abraham will you believe the spoken word of God himself or what appears to be true by looking around?
Faith is unreasonable only if we have an outlook that denies God’s ability to intervene.
One of the reasons that God delayed so much time in sending them a son was to make sure that all their natural strength and ability to decline and then disappear.
God loves to work in ways that cannot be explained in any other way.
It is impossible to have a child at that age.
As far as reproduction is concerned they are dead.
As Christians we don’t know that he can intervene, we must expect him to intervene.
From a commonsense standpoint there was no possibility that she would have a child.
Faith goes beyond human abilities.
Abraham relied simply and completely on the all sufficient power of God.
On way too many churches there ought to be a sign hung that says: “Our God is really small.”
Please let’s not claim to worship the Almighty while living as if our God wasn’t able.
Romans 4:19–21 KJV 1900
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: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
Being not weak in faith, don’t we have a great God that looks at our forgiven past like this?
It is so encouraging to see what the Bible says about their faith.
As I read their story, I see multiple examples of a messy faith.
God didn’t look at their faults in their growth, he looked at their final destination.
We see them wavering a lot along the way but theLord looks instead on the fact that they trusted him no matter what stood in their way.
Here is the evidence that Abraham was looking at.
His body was now dead (knocking on heaven’s door)
Not only did he have evidence and reality and truth on his side to not believe God but his wife’s womb was dead too.
Slide As Good as Dead
He was strong in faith and believed God.
Not only did he believe God but he gave him glory.
The God that Abraham believed is the God that gives life to the dead and creates from nothing.
God created life in the “dead” womb of Sarah.
Here is what changed everything for Abraham.
He was fully persuaded, HE KNEW, that what he promised he was able to do it.
The key for us as a Christian is the ability to keep believing, day in and day out, that the ultimate reality is not what we see around us but what we cannot see.
There are some promises that if I were to make them to my wife she would have a hard time believing.
Honey don’t worry, I am going to build you a set of cabinets for your kitchen.
She wouldn’t believe me and even if she did she would hope I wasn’t going to.
Abraham knew that God’s promise looked, felt, smelled and sounded off the wall.
But he knew that God could so he could trust him.
If I promise my wife that I am going to set up a great networking system for our house with wireless speakers that sound amazing, she might roll her eyes as in what is he going to do?
But she would know that I can and will do it.
Is this not the same thing we struggle with every day as followers of Christ?
Can God?
Yes God can.
Once we understand this truth then it changes the way we pray, it changes the way we work, it changes the way we live.
Abraham simply believed that God was able to do what he said he would do.
We are never called to ask whether we have faith enough or whether we rely enough.
The question is this: Is Jesus Christ great enough and gracious enough for me to rely on?
Man can know that is feet are on the rock not by feeling for his feet but by feeling for the rock.
We must never have faith in our faith we can only have faith in our God.
Romans 4:22 KJV 1900
And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
This belief was imputed to him for righteousness.
Romans 4:23–25 KJV 1900
Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Paul continues in saying this wasn’t written about Abraham alone.
This was his reality but it is for us too.
Our responsibility is to believe on him that raised Jesus from the dead.
We have to place our faith and our trust in Christ alone.
He was delivered for our offences and he was raised for us to be justified.


So the question for you today is:
What are you putting your faith in?
Are you putting your faith in your faith?
Are you putting your faith in your works?
Are you putting your faith in your church?
Are you putting your faith in your family?
or Are you putting your faith in Jesus and his finished work?
That is the only thing that can save!
Have you placed your faith in him?
If not then today is the day to take that step.
The comparison and contrast can be seen in this chapter.
We have salvation by trying and salvation by trusting.
What Abraham found and what David found is the same thing that Paul found and that we must find.
Salvation is by faith (everyone believes that) but not just faith, but faith ALONE!
The question for those that profess Christ this morning is a little different though.
Just how big is your God?
How does your life show that you truly believe and trust in him in your daily walk?
Do you serve a big God?
Do your feet know that in the way that you walk?

Questions for Discipleship / Small Group

If God were to ask you: “Why should I let you into my heaven,” what would you say?
How would you define faith? Has that definition changed through your reading ?
2. How would you define faith? Has that definition changed through your reading ?
How do you experience the blessing of forgiveness?
Are there things which cause you to forget or under-appreciate it?
Can you think of ways recently that you have acted in faith when it was hard?
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