The Book of Romans Bible Study Chapter 4 Part 3

We go onto a slightly longer portion: Romans 4:13-25

Faith is believing in G-d’s promises. 

v13: The promise: This promise was that G-d was going to send a descendant of Abraham (Messiah Yeshua) to do the work of freely and graciously justifying us through the mercy of G-d – not through anything that we could do. 

  • Heir of the world: An inheritor in the Kingdom of G-d (not through works, but through a promise). 
  • His seed: ‘The seed of Abraham’ is not referring to Abraham’s physical descendants. Just being a biological descendant of Abraham does not secure this promise, but being his spiritual descendant does. A spiritual descendant of Abraham is someone who demonstrates the same kind of faith that Abraham had (Gal 3:26-29). 
  • Not… through the law: G-d’s promise does not become a reality through the works of the law.
  • Righteousness of faith: Righteousness and faith (belief) are connected (Gen 15:6). Righteousness comes through faith.

v14: If: A hypothetical situation. 

  • Heirs (by the law): Inheriting the Kingdom of G-d through the works of the law. There was no way that Abraham could have been justified by the law or given this promise of inheritance because he was doing the works of the law – the law was only given about 400 years later. 
  • Faith…made void (emptied)….promise…made of no effect (null and void): It is only through faith that we can take hold of the promises of G-d. It is only through faith that we can be declared righteous. 

v15: Where there is no law there is no transgression: When there is no law, we do not know how guilty we are. Even before the law was given, people died. G-d brought punishment upon them (through death – Roms 6:23) because they had violated His Word. Most of them were not listening to their G-d-given consciences, but instead were doing whatever they wanted to do. When the law was given, and applied, people realised that they were transgressors. This is the purpose of the law – to show people that they are sinners in need of salvation. This realisation should convict us and prompt us to ask how we can experience forgiveness and salvation – neither of which is found in the law, but only through faith. 

v16: Those who are of the law: The Jewish people.

  • Those who are of the faith of Abraham: The Gentiles who, by faith, believe in the promises of G-d. The promises and blessings of G-d were never intended to be for the Jewish people alone (Gen 12:3). G-d intended them to be spread abroad to all the families on the earth. 

v17: It is written: Paul backs up what he is teaching by using Scripture. Here he quotes from Gen 17:5

  • I: G-d. 
  • He believed: This is the key. Abraham believed in G-d. He believed in the revelation/Word of G-d. 
  • Dead: Those who have sinned in their lives. I.e all humanity.
  • Calls those things which do not exist as though they did: This talks about the very nature of G-d. When G-d speaks, things become a reality. His spoken and written Word brings eternal change. 

v18: Hope: It is only when we have faith that we are going to have hope. Hope is the expectation we have that the promises of G-d are going to be fulfilled. 

  • Believed: Abraham believed G-d when G-d told him that he would be the father of many nations – despite all evidence to the contrary in the physical (Abraham was old, he had been married for a long time and he was childless). 
  • So shall your descendants (seed) be: Paul is quoting from Gen 15:5. This verse in Genesis is set within the context of G-d showing Abraham the night sky. Billions of stars were in the sky, and G-d promised Abraham that his seed would be as numerous as those stars. 

v19: Not being weak in faith: Abraham’s faith did not waver. He believed in the promises of G-d. 

  • Did not consider: Abraham did not think about his body in the natural. He did not think about the fact that his body was nearly dead physically, nor did he think about Sarah’s womb being barren. He did not waver in his faith in regard to the promise of G-d. 

v20: He did not waver: He did not become doubtful or faithless (against faith). 

  • Giving glory to G-d: Strength comes from faith. That strength or power, from being in G-d’s will, causes us to behave and speak in a way that gives G-d glory. 

v21: Being fully convinced: Thinking in a complete way. Having absolute assurance that the One who promised can deliver on His promises. Although Abraham was not strong physically, he was strong in faith. 

v22: See Genesis 15:6

v24: Also for us: We who believe in Yeshua have the same experience as Abraham – though we were dead, He makes us alive and fruitful. 

v25: Delivered up because of our offenses: The law teaches us that we are sinners in need of redemption. 

  • Raised because of our justification: Faith is believing in the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua, confessing our sins, acknowledging that through Him is the only way that we can be righteous and through Him we can be recipients of the promises of G-d – not through works of the law, but through faith in Messiah.

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