Faithlife Sermons

Romans 4.14-If Inheritance Was Based Upon Obedience to the Law, Then Faith is Useless and the Promise Meaningless

Romans Chapter Four  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:08:01
0 ratings
· 16 views

Romans: Romans 4:14-If Inheritance Was Based Upon Obedience to the Law, Then Faith is Useless and the Promise Meaningless-Lesson # 126

Files
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Wenstrom Bible Ministries

Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom

Wednesday January 30, 2008

www.wenstrom.org

Romans: Romans 4:14-If Inheritance Was Based Upon Obedience to the Law, Then Faith is Useless and the Promise Meaningless

Lesson # 126

Please turn in your Bibles to Romans 4:1.

This evening we will note Romans 4:14 in which Paul teaches us that if the inheritance was based upon obedience to the Law, then faith is useless and the promise of inheriting the earth is meaningless.

Romans 4:1, “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?”

Romans 4:2, “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.”

Romans 4:3, “For what does the Scripture say? ‘ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.’”

Romans 4:4, “Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due.”

Romans 4:5, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.”

Romans 4:6, “just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works.”

Romans 4:7, “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.”

Romans 4:8, “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.”

Romans 4:9, “Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, ‘FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.’”

Romans 4:10, “How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.”

Romans 4:11, “and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them.”

Romans 4:12, “and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.”

Romans 4:13, “For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.”

Romans 4:14, “For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified.”

Romans 4:15, “for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.”

Romans 4:16, “For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.”

Romans 4:17, “(as it is written, ‘A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU’) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.”

Let’s look at verse 14 in detail.

Romans 4:14, “For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified.”

“For” is the “explanatory” use of the post-positive conjunction gar (gavr), which introduces a first class conditional statement that “explains” the reason for Paul’s statement in Romans 4:13.

In Romans 4:13, Paul teaches that Abraham did not receive the promise of inheriting the earth by means of obedience to the Law but rather by means of the righteousness produced by his faith in the Lord.

Therefore, the conjunction gar introduces a first class conditional statement that explains the reason why Abraham did not receive the promise of inheriting the earth by means of obedience to the Law but rather by means of the righteousness credited to him the moment he exercised faith in the Lord.

“If” is the conditional particle ei (ei)) (i), which introduces a protasis of a first class condition that indicates the assumption of truth for the sake of argument.

As we have noted earlier in our studies of the book of Romans, the idea behind the first class condition is not “since” but rather, “if-and let us assume that it’s true for the sake of argument, then...”

This would encourage Paul’s Jewish audience to respond and come to the conclusion of the apodasis in Romans 4:14.

In Romans 4:14, the protasis is “if those who are of the Law are heirs” and the apodasis is “(then) faith is made void and the promise is nullified.”

Of course, Paul does not believe that Abraham will inherit the earth based upon his obedience to the Law but rather what he is doing is “setting up” his opponents or in other words, he sets up a straw man in order that he might knock him over.

Thus, by employing the first class condition, Paul is assuming the position of his Jewish opponents.

He presents their claim that Abraham would inherit the earth based upon his obedience to the Law so that he might emphatically refute their inference.

The basic relation that the protasis has to the apodasis is “cause-effect.”

The cause is that heirship is based upon obedience to the Law.

The effect would be that it would invalidate faith or make it useless or no value and would render inoperative the promise of heirship.

In Romans 4:15, Paul emphatically rejects the idea by teaching that the Law brings about wrath.

Romans 4:14, “For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified.”

“Heirs” is the noun kleronomos (klhronovmo$) (klay-ron-om-os), which means, “possessor, heir” and is used here of those Jews who erroneously assumed that they could inherit the earth by means of obedience to the Law.

“Of the Law” is composed of the preposition ek (e)k) and the genitive masculine singular form of the noun nomos (novmo$) (nom-os).

In Romans 4:13, the noun nomos refers to the Mosaic Law (the Pentateuch) since in context Paul is emphasizing with his Jewish audience that the promise to Abraham that he would inherit the earth preceded the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai.

In fact, Paul makes clear in Galatians 3:16-18 that the promises of the Abrahamic covenant preceded the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai by four hundred and thirty years.

Galatians 3:16-18, “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as referring to many, but rather to one, ‘And to your seed,’ that is, Christ. What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.”

In Romans 4:14, the noun nomos, “the Law” contains a figure of speech called “metonymy” where the Law is put for obedience to the Law.

The preposition ek functions with the genitive form of the noun nomos, “the Law” as a marker of means constituting a source.

This preposition ek not only signifies becoming an heir by means of obedience to the Law but that this obedience to the Law constitutes the source of heirship rather than faith as being the means constituting the source of heirship.

The noun nomos, “the Law” functions as a “genitive of means,” which by way of definition is where a genitive substantive indicates the means or instrumentality by which the verbal action implicit in the head noun or adjective or explicit in the verb is accomplished and answers the question, “How?”

In Romans 4:14, the noun nomos, “the Law” functions as a genitive of means indicating the means by which verbal action explicit in the verb eimi, “are, as an eternal spiritual truth” is accomplished.

Therefore, the preposition ek and the noun nomos, “the Law” indicates that becoming an heir is “by means of” obedience to the Law “as a source.”

Of course, as we have noted, Paul is assuming the position of the Judaizers in order to refute their teaching that Abraham will inherit the earth as a result of his obedience to the Law.

Romans 4:14, “For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified.”

“Faith” is the noun pistis (pivsti$) (pis-tis), which refers to the non-meritorious system of perception of placing one’s “trust” or “confidence in” the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ in order to establish a relationship with a holy God.

He is the object of faith for salvation and justification since His spiritual death on the Cross as an impeccable person redeemed sinful mankind from the slave market of sin, satisfied the demands of a holy God that human sin be judged, reconciled the entire human race to God and fulfilled the righteous requirements of the Law.

The object of faith is Jesus Christ as indicated as indicated in Romans 3:22 and 26.

“Is made void” is the verb kenoo (kenovw) (keno-o-o), which is used of faith being made “useless, invalid” if the promise of inheriting the earth was through adherence to the Mosaic Law (Rom. 4:14).

Therefore, Paul is saying with this verb that if the inheritance of the earth was dependent upon obeying the Law, it would have serious consequences in that it would render the principle of faith useless since a holy God and His holy Law requires perfect obedience, which sinful mankind has no capacity whatsoever to do because of the sin nature.

The promises that the Lord made to Abraham were not given in the context of obedience to God’s Law but rather were based upon Abraham’s faith or trust that the Lord could deliver on His promises.

If Abraham received the inheritance on the basis of obedience to the Law then, there would be no role for the principle of faith and would in fact rob the promise of meaning.

Again, the Jews misunderstood the purpose of the Law and in Romans 4:15 he reminds them that it brings about wrath since all men are sinners with a nature that gives them no capacity whatsoever to obey perfectly the Law, which a holy God requires.

Romans 4:14, “For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified.”

“The promise” is the noun epangelia (e)paggeliva) (ep-ang-el-ee-ah), which means, “promise” and is a “collective singular” referring to all the promises contained in the Abrahamic covenant, which collectively imply that Abraham and his descendant, the Lord Jesus Christ will inherit earth.

This indicates that the promises of the Abrahamic covenant in a collective sense constitute the promise to Abraham and his spiritual descendants of being heirs of the world.

“Is nullified” is the verb katargeo (katargevw) (kat-arg-eh-o), which is used in relation to the promises of the Abrahamic covenant and therefore, means, “to render meaningless.”

Therefore, the word denotes that if the promise of inheriting the earth was based upon obedience to the Law, then the promise is “meaningless” since a holy God and His holy Law requires perfect obedience, which sinful mankind has no capacity whatsoever to do because of the sin nature.

Therefore, Abraham will receive all that the Lord promised him because of his faith in the Lord to deliver on what He had promised him.

If the Lord’s promise to Abraham was received by means of obedience to the Law, then faith is useless and the promise meaningless since the Lord who is holy demands perfect obedience, which sinful man, including Abraham have no capacity whatsoever to do because of the presence of the sin nature in mankind.

In Galatians 3:18, Paul teaches that if the inheritance was based upon the Law, then the inheritance is no longer based upon the promise but God offered the inheritance by means of a promise!

Related Media
Related Sermons