Romans 4

#1
NKJV Commentary in blue>>
Paul left off in Romans 3 presenting faith as the alternative to the requirement to follow the law.
I was watching a show on PBS about Martin Luther and the Reformation the other night. It made the observation that Luther realized thru studying Romans that works meant nothing in terms of being right with God and that faith was what allowed us to be reconciled to God and grace was given to us thru faith. This and the coruption of the Roman church lead Luther to post the 95 theses and inadvertantly begin the Reformation. If this is true, then you could say Romans 4 inspired the Reformation.
Romans 4:
1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? >>I.e. What shall we learn from Abraham and what he realized about his actions? What did God teach him?
2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. >>Can you imagine if we were justified by our works? Oh, the boasting and the put on fakeness which would run rampant. This verse contained a revolutionary concept. Most religious people of the day and, really, throughout history understood and followed the doctrine of works in exchange for justification, i.e. follow the edicts of the church law and tradition and papal decrees to be acceptable to the elders and priests, and therefore, to God. Even today, many people will tell you “As long as I am a good person, I can get to heaven.”
3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” >>Paul sets the example for us to follow, asking “what does the Scripture say?”. That is why doctrine must line up and agree with Scripture. Not only did Abraham believe in God, but he believed what God promised. Justified by his belief in God, lining up with John 3:16.
4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. >>Everyone in free society understands that if you work for someone, they owe you payment for the work. Even in primitive, totalitarian and communist societies many understand the concept. But grace has nothing to do with owing a debt or paying for services.
5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, >>Just as Abraham was justified, so are we. In Matthew Jesus says we should be just like little children in believing. <“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” >What does this mean? Atheists who just cannot fathom believing without obvious proof, proof THEY deem as legitimate. They cannot get out of their own reasoning to accept evidence presented. They cannot accept that a good God could allow us to experience the good and the bad and the horrific. The limits they place on what God is… blocks their ability to see outside of the physical universe.
6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: >>Again, Paul quotes from Scripture to prove this doctrine, which was and still is revolutionary to those who think they must please God to receive salvation.
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered;
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” >>How blessed we are that God does not hold our sins and failings against us.
 

Fish Catcher Jim

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#2
Adding Some Things to Remember

1. Abraham was not a born again person

2. Out side of being Born Again
Works are vital and Required for any growth in your salvation or life in Christ.

3. Your Rewards in Heaven depend on your works in the here and now.

4. Your works will be judged and may be burned up with all the un-authorized works done.

5. Faith without corresponding actions is dead, useless and void of any fulfillment.
Corresponding Actions are Works.

6. Fighting the good fight of faith is works.

7. Standing in total trust without wavering is works.

8. What has been given to us Through or By Grace Must Be Accessed Through or By Faith. Again Works!

9. Even though All the promises of God to us are already ours......they do Not just happen nor can they be accessed without Faith which means fighting and standing which again is works.

10. There are defeated Christians and there are Victory to Victory Christians who Access the Promises of God that are our inheritance.
Again through Works.

11. These works are not us earning anything or accomplishments that we achieved.

No! These works are the Requirements and Commands given to His People in order to walk in His ways and Experience what is Written in His Word.

Blessings
FCJ
 
#3
7. Standing in total trust without wavering is works.

8. What has been given to us Through or By Grace Must Be Accessed Through or By Faith. Again Works!
I don't believe Paul would agree that standing in faith is a work.
When Paul refers to "works"..... he is talking about following rules and laws handed down by God and even religious leaders. I do not know of any "Thou shalt have faith greater than a mustard seed." If faith is a work, then you have something to brag or boast about.
Relying on works for salvation is a lack of faith.
Therefore faith cannot be considered a work.

I think there should be a distinction drawn between "works" and "good deeds". Works gets used for following requirements of the law. But it also gets used for what we consider good deeds. I think there is a distinction there. Faith without good deeds is dead faith. Faith without following a kosher diet is not dead faith. Working on the sabbath doesn't mean you have dead faith. I think forgiving and showing grace to the woman caught in adultery and not following the law by the letter, by stoning her to death, is faith in action. Yet it is not a "work".
 
#4
I'll have to do some research on the word "works" and "deeds" as used by James and Paul and other instances.
Thank you FC Jim for the highlighting of this. I expect some better understanding of the issue or the revelations which come from studying His Word. :)
 

Fish Catcher Jim

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#5
Not all works equa
Relying on works for salvation is a lack of faith.
Therefore faith cannot be considered a work.
Works equals action
Faith without Works is dead.

Salvation is a free gift given through or by Grace.
It is accessed by Faith.

We don't earn it nor do we deserve it .
It comes forth out of the Love of God.

Now beyond salvation .....
Works are key.
It is not good deeds that will get you the victory nor keep you standing strong when it seems all is lost.

Works is far more then keeping a law.
Keeping a law is, well keeping the law.
Works does not simply stop there.
Blessings
 

Fish Catcher Jim

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#6
I'll have to do some research on the word "works" and "deeds" as used by James and Paul and other instances.
Thank you FC Jim for the highlighting of this. I expect some better understanding of the issue or the revelations which come from studying His Word. :)
Brother Big Moose,
One thing that used to trip me up with the word works was thinking it only meant one thing.
That set me free.

As always it's a pure Blessing talking with you.
Have a great day
Blessings
 
#7
Paul gives perspective on this argument about the need for works for faith to be saving. In Eph. 2:
8.For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9.not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10.For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
>>Here we see we are saved by grace thru faith first, then we become the workmanship of God connoting a creation of continuing building and refining, made for good works. This process was prepared as part of our destined path, a path of a multitude of possibilities to grow us in our walk all the while intertwined with the paths of others.
So what do we say about those who claim faith but have no or few works. First, Christ is working on their heart and directing their path. True believers are given the desire to do good works, so at least some good works will come from that. Do we try to put a number on the works to attain a sufficient amount worthy of having faith that is considered alive? No. Having the desire to do good things for others and taking action when possible qualifies for living faith. Not having the desire or not taking any action when the opportunity is there would be a major red flag concerning dead faith.
Second, verse 10 says “that we should walk in them.” Key word “should”, not ‘must’ or ‘shall’. Ephesian 4 goes into more detail about what a Christian should and should not do. We must renew our minds and put on the new man of the Spirit filled life.
 
#8
We have to understand the difference that Paul and James clearly make between "Bearing fruits of the spirit" and attempting to earn salvation through "works"... There is no contradiction between Paul, James, and Jesus...

When talking about earning salvation through "Works" - it is in reference to the typical Pagan systems that proscribed specific behavior, offerings, and rituals as a way to appease the gods.. It didn't matter where your heart was.... Didn't matter if you were faithful or whatnot. If you follow the recipe on the cake box - the cake comes out properly done whether you love cooking or hate it..

Apparently there was a similar movement among the at least one sect of Jews.. There is a Jewish text titled "Works accounted for righteousness".. And in it - there are all sorts of prescriptions for finding favor with God through various flavors of actions such as a million requirements for keeping the sabbath...

This is completely separate from Bearing Fruits of the Spirit..... As Jesus himself points out - a tree that bears no fruit is only suitable to be chopped down for the fire....

I also think it is incredibly dangerous to preach a doctrine that allows openly working evil under the banner of Grace.. We cannot accept any doctrine that would seek to hide and protect The Wolves seeking to destroy the flock under the banner of Grace... Jesus admonition watching for "Bad fruit" - thorns and thistles must be in full effect.

Also notice that one of the Manifestations of The Spirit is "Dynamism" - the God given ability to accompliwh great things for God... If God did not place value on great things glorifying His name - he would not have granted this.... This does certainly not earn salvation - but bearing the Fruit of the Spirit bears witness of Salvation...
 
#9
We have to understand the difference that Paul and James clearly make between "Bearing fruits of the spirit" and attempting to earn salvation through "works"... There is no contradiction between Paul, James, and Jesus...

When talking about earning salvation through "Works" - it is in reference to the typical Pagan systems that proscribed specific behavior, offerings, and rituals as a way to appease the gods.. It didn't matter where your heart was.... Didn't matter if you were faithful or whatnot. If you follow the recipe on the cake box - the cake comes out properly done whether you love cooking or hate it..

Apparently there was a similar movement among the at least one sect of Jews.. There is a Jewish text titled "Works accounted for righteousness".. And in it - there are all sorts of prescriptions for finding favor with God through various flavors of actions such as a million requirements for keeping the sabbath...

This is completely separate from Bearing Fruits of the Spirit..... As Jesus himself points out - a tree that bears no fruit is only suitable to be chopped down for the fire....

I also think it is incredibly dangerous to preach a doctrine that allows openly working evil under the banner of Grace.. We cannot accept any doctrine that would seek to hide and protect The Wolves seeking to destroy the flock under the banner of Grace... Jesus admonition watching for "Bad fruit" - thorns and thistles must be in full effect.

Also notice that one of the Manifestations of The Spirit is "Dynamism" - the God given ability to accompliwh great things for God... If God did not place value on great things glorifying His name - he would not have granted this.... This does certainly not earn salvation - but bearing the Fruit of the Spirit bears witness of Salvation...
Excellent points. You made references to Matthew 7 and also
Matthew 12:
33.“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
This ties in beautifully to how we can know the living faith as opposed to the dead.

Galatians 5 is an exposition on this entire concept.
For more on Galatians 5 go to http://www.christianforumsite.com/threads/galatians.43660/
and scroll to post #14 to end.
 
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#10
Romans 4:
9.Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. >>Paul poses the question central to the doctrine of saving faith.
10.How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. >>Abraham’s righteousness was accounted before the covenant, not after. God made the covenant with Abraham because of his faith, not because of his works.
11.And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also,
12.and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised. >>What is meant by being named ‘the father of xyz’? He is the example to follow, the teacher of the standard to look to.
13.For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. >>A promise is to be believed through faith. If you make a promise, and the promisee makes you prove your reliability, then the promise becomes meaningless.
14.For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect,
15.because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. >>Again, following the law to be an heir makes it an earned reward and the payment is owed. The promise is no longer a promise but a contract to be honored.
16.Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, 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 >>The promise, then, belongs to all who believe, whether Jew or Gentile. This makes salvation consistent for all to accept, and fair to all.
 
#11
Faith centers around our obedience.. It centers around our response to God... The concept of "Fiduciary" is tied up with us seeking to align our will and actions with His will....

True faith has nothing to do with ways we seek to compel God to align with our will or our wishes.. That's paganism...

It's pretty interesting to consider:

By Faith - Abraham received circumcision from God... And I am sure Abraham understood it did not earn him brownie points with God... Actually it appears to be the other way around...

On the face of things - it makes no sense... Why should we make all our males cut off their foreskins? Didn't God make men with them?

And for the better part of 4,000 years - man couldn't make any sense of it... Why continue this "barbaric" practice? And the Jews have suffered severe persecution for continuing - even at the hand of Christians...

But then.. Around the 1940's when doctors in New York City discovered that male circumcision does in fact have significant and far reaching health benefits..

And God was proven right... He did in fact give Abraham a very good gift in return for Abraham remembering His covenant... A gift that the women married to circumcised men hardly ever suffer from cervical cancer..