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Romans 4:13-5:1

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Romans 4:13–15 ESV
For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

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INTRO:
We are reminded that Paul is writing to a church with little to no doctrinal understanding. They knew Jesus, they knew salvation, they had the message of the Gospel...
In our previous study from , we talked about this promise, and we concluded that the validity of this promise has nothing to do with the law, or with legal righteousness, but comes only, through the righteousness of faith.
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However, they didn’t fully understand the depth of that Gospel.
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As we have said many times already in this study:
SLIDE 3

They had the Gospel that saves, but not the Gospel that maintains

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The church in Rome would have consisted of a cultural mix of Gentiles and Jews. These different cultures would have brought with them, the different ideas of their past.
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Paul anticipated the rebuttals of these different groups, and laid out a logical explanation of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ means.
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Currently, we are in the midst of a message that confronts some of the legalistic baggage that the Jewish believers would have brought with them into the church.
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SLIDE 4

How is a believer justified?

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- AND, TO BE JUSTIFIED MEANS… THAT JUSTICE HAS BEEN DONE ON OUR ACCOUNT, AND WE HAVE BEEN PRONOUNCED - innocent… not guilty… the debt is settled...
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To be justified means, that your crimes and accusations have been brought before a judge… and that judge has used legal authority to declare you innocent.
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IN THE WORLD WE LIVE IN, THE CRIMINAL IS PRONOUNCED JUST… AND THIS GENERALLY INVOLVES THINGS LIKE: fines… public service… jail… prison…
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IN THE WORLD WE LIVE IN… Justice is maintained through a process of ‘doing things’. This is what our society and our justice system demands… you remain just, as long as you obey the laws that are established.
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IN religious circles… PEOPLE HAVE A TENDENCY TO THINK THE SAME WAY.. They think that justice is a matter of good works… and if it’s lost, then it can only be regained through some form of punishment.
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The Gentiles would have brought with them a sense of justice rooted in their religions and in the civil laws that they were accustomed to..
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the Jews would have brought with them, their experience with The Law… not just the law written in the Torah… but the application of that law as it was EXPOUNDED UPON by their teachers and by the traditions of those teachers… be they Pharisees or Sadducees.
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Paul’s challenge is really, no different than our own.
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WE ARE A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH… and as such, we draw in a wide variety of people. If we had a denomination on our sign… people would probably come according to that label… They grew up Lutheran, they know the Lutheran world, and the sign says Lutheran… so that’s why they go.
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Our sign says ‘Calvary Chapel’, and unless you moved here from California, that name probably doesn’t mean anything to you. So, as a result, we get a wide variety of protestant experience and tradition, gathering together here every week.
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Some of you have fundamental background… some of you have pentecostal backgrounds… some of you grew up in formal, liturgical settings, some of you grew up in churches that might be called, cultish, some of you came here carrying labels like: Calvinist, Arminienist, Charismatic, Fundamentalist, Pre-Trib, Mid-Trip, Post-Trip, or Ammillenialist.
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WE ARE A MIXED BAG OF BELIEF… But we are here… together… learning from the same Bible… having our traditions and our labels challenged… AND I CAN’T THINK OF A BETTER BOOK TO HELP US FIND COMMON GROUND ON THE MOST IMPORTANT MATTERS… - THAN ROMANS.
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Paul is speaking to us… and he’s anticipating our rebuttals… and he is teaching us, in spite of our traditions… what it means to be justified… what it means to be pronounced, just, and true, and innocent, and accepted by the King of Kings…
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THE SUMMATION OF THIS LESSON ON JUSTIFICATION… the destination of this current argument… is in chapter 5 verse 1…
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SLIDE 5
Romans 5:1 ESV
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
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This is where Paul is going with this lesson. He wants his readers in Rome... from all of their different backgrounds.... (and he wants us… from all of our different backgrounds)… to fully embrace the reality..
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that justification isn’t a matter of obeying the law… because, as tells us… the law came centuries AFTER Abraham was justified.. - justification was not a matter of legal righteousness… BUT RATHER… IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF FAITH.
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VERSE 13 TELLS US… THAT THE PROMISE TO ABRAHAM AND HIS OFFSPRING CAME WITH TERMS…
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The terms were simply this: Abraham… you believed.
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Verse 14 challenges the system of justice that most of us humans cling to… a sense of justice that the Jews brought with them… If we follow the rules, we’ll be just…
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Paul points back at Abraham as his proof. - If this is true… if justification is only a matter of obeying the law.. only a matter of following the rules… then faith is null, and the promise is void.
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The truth of the matter is: If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs… then there will be no heirs.
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SLIDE 6
James 2:10 ESV
For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.
James
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Jesus raised the standard of the law in , when he declared the intent of the heart as being incriminating in the same sense that the actual deed is incriminating..
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If you hate someone in your heart… you are guilty of murder… if you lust after someone in your heart… you are guilty of adultery…
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IN … he told them… if you show partiality to the people you think are important over the people that you don’t think are important… then you are guilty.
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How is a believer justified? not by an adherence to the law…
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VERSE 15 IS BOTH CONFUSING… AND BEAUTIFUL..
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SLIDE 7
Romans 4:15 ESV
For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
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We have to fully understand the argument and the context to see what Paul is saying here. -First off… this statement, and one later in 5:13… are echoing a legal maxim that the Romans would be very familiar with..
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SLIDE 8

ROMAN MAXIM: “Nulla poena sine lege” = No Penalty Without A Law.

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The law brings wrath: WE CAN SEE THIS IN TWO POSSIBLE WAYS. -
1. our imperfect obedience brings the law’s curse upon us… (which, according to Deuteronomy and Galatians, the curse of the law is death).
or:
2. the law excites and exasperates the evil passions of the heart. -that is, by knowing what is right, our hearts are often provoked to do what is wrong.
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Paul is teaching a new application of the law… They had thought that law was the provision whereby people could prove themselves virtuous and receive salvation.
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That is not the case:
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The Law has a role in brining people to salvation. Not by perfect obedience, because nobody can do that. But rather:
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SLIDE 9

The law shows us our inadequacies and makes us see our need of a Savior.

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The second half of the verse… is the confusing part… but it’s also the most beautiful part… when we understand what Paul is saying…
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SLIDE 10

If there is no transgression… there is suddenly no need of salvation.

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If we did not have the law to show us that we are imperfect, broken, and disobedient… We wouldn’t know that we are imperfect, broken and disobedient..
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Remember that list from chapter one… beginning at verse 29 a long list of unrighteousness is listed… people are evil, covetousness, malice, envy murder, strife… and so on..
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If there was no law… all of those things, would be ok. People would do them, society would embrace them, nobody would know or realize that they are broken and in need of a savior.
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In context, here’s what I think the second half of vs. 15 is saying:
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SLIDE 11

We need there to be law, because we need to understand that there is transgression, so that we can understand, that we need Jesus. (Rom. 4:15b)

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SLIDE 12
Romans 4:16–17 ESV
That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
Romans 4:16
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SLIDE 13
Romans 4:18–19 ESV
In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.
The promise doesn’t rest upon our performance to maintain all the points of the law… the promise rests on grace.
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Here is something that the human mind needs to be reminded of regularly… We can’t earn what God gives… it can only receive it freely.
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God is continuing to relay this all important message:
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SLIDE 14

The justification He gives, is far too valuable for us to earn. It is out of our reach. We cannot afford it. We can only receive it by the grace of God.

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If there was no law… we wouldn’t know how great a debt we owe. If there was no law… we wouldn’t understand the extent of God’s grace… if there was no law… we might think that we are okay…
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But we are not okay
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Apart from Christ, and the forgiveness He offers… we are not okay.
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Paul reaffirms the inclusiveness of this message here in vs. 16. This isn’t just for the law keepers.. or specifically the Jews… - This is for all who share the faith of Abraham.
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And we get a glimpse of what the faith of Abraham looked like in vs. 17 -
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Abraham believed in the God who gives life to the dead… - because his body, and his wife’s body… were as good as dead in terms of reproduction. The term barrenness, in reference to Sarah’s womb, literally means: deadness. -And yet, Abraham believed that God would do what He promised to do, and bring life.
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Abraham also believed in the God who calls into existence the things that do not exist.. When God promised that many nations would spring from his lineage… he believed it. -This was a promise that seemed unfathomable to Abraham… and still… he believed it.
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The faith of Abraham, is the kind of faith that God looks upon, that God finds favorable… and that God pours out His grace upon.
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Who has this kind of faith? Anyone who believes that God raised Jesus from the dead… Anyone who believes that God’s promise of resurrection is for all those who believes… anyone who believes that God grants life to those who would otherwise suffer the wages of sin.
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Who has this faith? Anyone who believes that God’s promise of forgiveness for an unmeasurable debt is real
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God wants you to have faith… -But sometimes, after we’ve been walking with the Lord for a while… we replace faith with knowledge…
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And don’t get me wrong. The Bible presses us onward to a place of knowing and growing in doctrine and understanding…
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However, if we become so knowledgable, that we can explain everything, that we can apply reason to every aspect of our faith, that we can answer every question… And in doing so… we lose the mystery… we lose the wonder… we are no longer impressed or amazed by the Gospel… or by the reality of grace… or by the unmeasurable depth of God’s love…
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Then we’re in trouble.
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First off… we can’t explain everything… we can’t apply reason to every aspect of our faith… and all the answers to all the questions aren’t available to us.
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If we have it all figured out… we’re making stuff up.
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God leaves us with mystery, because He wants us to keep our faith in HIm… He wants us to continue being amazed by HIm, He wants us to believe that He brings life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
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God doesn’t answer all the questions. Why? because He wants us to simply trust Him. He has it covered.
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- In , Jesus came to Peter, to wash his feet, and Peter told him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” - Peter was rejecting it.. - He didn’t understand why the Lord would do it.. And Jesus answered his rebuttal..
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SLIDE 15
John 13:7 ESV
Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”
John 13.
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jesus didn’t explain it to Peter… He just wanted him to trust Him and receive the act.
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How often do we find ourselves in a place where we are so confused by what God is doing? We don’t have the answers… it seems strange… we might even push back due to our lack of understanding… ????
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Sometimes… we don’t understand, till afterward. -Abraham didn’t. He believed a promise for years without understanding.
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Do you believe in miracles? -Abraham did. Do you believe in God’s promises even though they are far fetched? Abraham did. Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Abraham did.
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SLIDE 16
John 8:56 ESV
Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.”
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Do you have the kind of faith that Abraham had? I’ll bet you do. I’ll bet you did on that day you received Jesus as your Lord. I’ll be you did, even thought you didn’t really understand it.. It seemed strange to believe in such a thing… BUT YOU DID BELIEVE..
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SLIDE 17
Romans 4:20–22 ESV
No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”
Romans 4:18–21 ESV
In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
Romans 4.20-
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SLIDE 18
Romans 4:18–22 ESV
In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”
Romans 4:23–25 ESV
But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Romans 4.
Romans 4:22–25 ESV
That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Romans 4:18-
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In vs. 16, is spoke of those who shared in the faith of Abraham. We’ve been talking about this kind of faith for the past several minutes.. And now… these passages show us directly, WHAT ABRAHAM’S FAITH LOOKED LIKE.
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But it all leads up to this personal application. This isn’t just a story about Abraham… Verses 23 on show us… that this is a story about everyone who believes.
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Abraham believed… and because of this expression of faith on his part… God accounted him to be righteous.
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This is how God is dealing with us.. If our faith in Him who raised from dead Jesus our Lord is real - Then the righteousness that God extends to us, is also real
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We are righteous.
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And here is where this message leads us… all of this repetition about faith and the law… is leading to one place…
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SLIDE 19
Romans 5:1 ESV
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
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You’re not going to have peace with God through the Law. You’re only going to have it… through faith. And faith is the avenue through which God extends His grace, and gives you what you don’t deserve and cannot afford… - That is: His forgiveness and His righteousness.
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You want to walk out of here today amazed and astounded by something that God is doing? THINK ABOUT THIS: THE ALL POWERFUL AND ETERNAL GOD, LOOKS AT YOU, AND SEES INNOCENCE… JUSTICE… RIGHTEOUSNESS. -You don’t see it, but He does… because He gives it to you freely.
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END.
Listen: If you have never surrendered your life to Jesus, If you have never confessed to Him, your unbelievable belief in His life, death and resurrection. If you have never sought His forgiveness and received it by faith… And you know that you need to… Don’t hesitate. - Find someone you know and trust… talk to the person sitting next to you, or behind you… or come talk to me after the service.
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You’ve been trying to live by good works and the law… but those things don’t impress God. Your unbelievable belief in Him, is what He finds joy in.
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end.
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