Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #17
Posted: September 30, 2004

IN CHRIST
A Study of Positional Truths

In our study of righteousness this week, we take up the conversion of Abraham in Romans 4:1-5.  In verse one Paul asks what did our Father Abraham find by the working of the flesh.  In calling Abraham, Father, we are reminded of his patriarchal position.  He is the Father of all that believe.  (Romans 4:26)  What does this mean?  When studying Abraham’s conversion we should see the same similarity in our conversion.  He, being the Father of those that believe, sees that the same kind produces the same kind.  Abraham finds nothing spiritual through the flesh.  (The natural senses of man.) 

In these five verses, Paul tells us in a nutshell, the conversion of Abraham, the friend of God and the Father of the Faith.  To describe this great conversion Paul uses several spirit filled statements of truth.  

One of the phrases is, justified by works.  (Verse 2)  The Bible is very clear to tell us that a man cannot be justified (brought into right standing with God) by works, but he must be justified by faith.  James tells us that man must be justified by faith and works. (James 2:24)  Do not get what Paul and James are saying confused. They are both on the same page.  In Genesis 15:6 when Abraham believed, this is what God saw as faith and justified his soul.  In Genesis 22 when he was willing to offer his son as a sacrifice, this is what man saw as the evidence of works.  We are not saved by works, but we must have a faith that will work.

There is another phrase in our text in verse 5 that speaks volumes.  “But to him that worketh not…”  This statement must give our cult and Catholic friends fits.  So much more can be accomplished for God by doing nothing, than can be accomplished by doing something.  The work of God is not a work that we can do.  It is a work that He does through us.  We are the channel.  He is the mighty force of working energy that flows in and through us.  It is not in our doing but in His done.  

A phrase that is so powerful in the truth of justification is in verse 3.  “Abraham believed God…”  The word ‘believed’ means to entrust ones self, to commit or rest the whole being upon another.  Man in his natural state will not believe in God.  Paul said, “The natural man receiveth not the things of God…they are foolishness to him.” (I Corinthians 2:14)  There must be an awakening in mans heart that causes such a work of believing.  Paul tells us in verse 5, this act of believing was a gift from and caused by God.  Once we believe, then God who justifies the ungodly, counted him righteous. (Verse 5)  The word ‘ungodly’ has the idea of being irreverent or anti God.  He takes this one in an ungodly state and counts (to place to ones account) righteousness.  The word ‘righteousness’ has to do with all that Christ is. (I Corinthians 1:30)  I no longer have my account in heaven which was black with sin.  I now have the ledger account of Christ.  God sees me in Christ.  What He knows to be true of Christ, He thinks and sees me to be.  He sees Christ as holy, pure, spotless, and His beloved Son.  He thinks all of this is true of me.  Justified freely through Calvary’s flood, Oh what a standing is mine.

 

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