Romans 4:1-12 -Justification By Faith


Intro A preacher who had moved away from the truth of the gospel told the following story to his congregation to explain his outlook on Christianity

A) The story was about a frogwho fell into a pail of milk / stuck couldnít climb out & he couldnít get any leverage to leap out


B) So he did the only thing that he could do he just kept paddling around & around hoping that he could be rescued

1) As he paddled around something amazing took place his paddling churned a pad of butter from which he was able to launch himself out


C) The moral of this story & the point of the preachers message was just keep paddling, keep on working, keep doing your best, & you will make it


D) As sad as that mentality is it is the Philosophy of many in our society today as well as many people who attend church - if Iím just good enough

1) Keep on doing my best - keep on paddling I will make it to heaven


E) The message of the first 3 chapters of the book of Romans is no you wonít !

1) There is none good no not one ! None righteous


F) And no amount of good works will make you right before God !††



And just when we about to lose all hope - Paul introduced us to the miracle of Justification !††

A) That a man or woman could be declared righteous apart works & apart from the Law by simply having faith in Jesus Christ†† read Ch. 3: 24-26


B) Now to the Jews who hung on so tightly to their rules Regulations& to their rituals this would sound like a major heresy / By grace through faith?Works ?


C) So as we come to Ch.4 we see that Paul reveals to them that this is not a new thing at all Abe Father of Jewish race & David founder of Hebrew royal family

In v.1-8 Paul reveals How Abe & David were Justified / v.9,10 he reveals when Abe was Justified / v. 11,12 Why he was justified

A) Then in v. 13-15 he gives some practical insights that apply to us



B) 1st How was Abraham justified - V.1-3 4:1What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?

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

3For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."


C) Paul says Abraham was Justified by faith, whenhe simply believed what God said & the Lord responded by saying You are righteous !

1) The word accounted or imputed as some bibles read is a banking term that means to take from one account & transfer to another


D) When we put our faith in Christ - God transferred our sin from our account & transferred His righteousness into our account !

1) Was it through works that we did ? No it was through faith in the finished work of Christ !


E) That is the point that Paul has been making & he uses Abe as his example -Abe wasnít justified by his works /if he was he wouldíve had a reason to boast




Men love to Boast - Look at me / notice what I did - what Iím doing !

Aaron smartest big brother in the world Ö Aaron Iím not going to lie


A) Playingball growing up there were always those guys who were so quick to tell you how good they were

1) My dad said to me that if you are really good you wonít have to tell anyone your play will speak for itself


B) Abeísplay was great - some great works - room to boast - but not before God

C) Our works put under the microscope - our imperfections are revealed - all our flaws are seen††††† ( Counterfeiters convicted by chemical residue on clothes )

1) We might look good in comparison to someone else - but the Lord sees everything - sees the motives sees the heart


D) Not to compare ourselves w/ each other but w/ Christ ! Here is what is awesome put Christ under the microscope what happens ? HisBeauty is magnified


DD) Put us under the microscope & all of our flaws & imperfections are seen / put

††††† Jesus under microscope - His perfection is seen - Beauty magnified


E) That is what happens when study - Word reveals how imperfect we are & How perfect he is !†† Get us to depend on Him look to Him / trust in Him


F)So Paul says that Abe believed God & it was accounted to him as righteousness



Now here is what is interesting : When did God declare Abe righteous ?Was it in Gen. 12 - When God told him to go & he left Haran ? No

A) Was it in Gen 13 when he told him his descendants would be like the dust of the earth & he would be the father of many nations ? No


B) Now both of those were heroic deeds & huge acts of faith ! I imagine being 75 yrs old & the Lord says time to up root - go to a land - start a family

1) 75 yrs old is mighty old to begin a journey across the country on camel & foot - And it is especially old to begin a family even in those days


C) But Abe went for it & in Heb. 11 he is commended for his faith because of it - but that is not when the Lord declared Abraham righteous

1) Nor was it after the time he took his Son Isaac to the Mts. of Moriah to sacrifice him to the Lord


D) It actually came at a rather low point - turn to Gen.15



Scene of Gen.15 / 11yrs have past from time left Haran / 86 yrs old / Sarah 76

Abe had just returned from rescuing Lot & seems to be afraid -

A) What have I done - retaliation


B) The Lord appears & says V.1 "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."


But Abram said, "Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?"

3Then Abram said, "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!"


C) Abraham says Lord I know you told me you would be w/ me before / but it has been 11 yrs now - still have no heir

1) If I died today - my servant Eliezer would be the heir of my house !


D) SO Lord Iím not really buying this whole promise thing anymore it has just been to long - Iím getting to old


E) This was a low point in Abrahamís life / where his faith was faltering / he was readying to give up !


LORD RESPONDS 4And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir."

5Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be."


A) The Lord reaffirms His Promise to Abe - saysHang in there Abe / just trust me a little longer !

1) V. 6 says ††And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.


B) It was in this time of weak faith - that God declared Abraham righteous & James adds in 2:23 that God also called Abraham His Friend

Bb)Abe believed God once again - grabbed a hold of the Promise once more & the Lord said Abe You are righteous & you are my friend


C) So not only was it a time when Abe wasnít working/but it was a time when his faith was weak & he was doubting/that God pronounced this blessing

1) Which magnifies that it was according to Godís grace even more so !


D) God takes the little bit of faith that Abe musters up & pours out this great blessing upon him

1) Reminds me of the story of the man who came to Jesus because his son was demon possessed / Jesus said / Just Believe/ Lord I believe help my


E) Just took that mans faith that was coupled w/ doubt fear & frustration & stillhealed his son



Sometimes people ask how much faith is saving faith - answer is Just a little bit ! ††But true saving faith will grow over time - see in Abe life / faith grew

A) But sometimes that doubt or fear or frustration can keep people from really coming to Christ


B) I encourage them to give hearts to Him !And the questions will get answered the doubts will go away - fears will subside / frustrations will be subdued

††††††††† 1)BecauseFaith comes by hearing & hearing by the word - as you give

††††††††††††† heart to Him & begin to get in His word Your faith is going to increase


C) So Abe was Justified by Grace through faith & apart from works -

1) Next Paul reveals that if it was going to be by grace it couldnít be by works because - the reward for work is a wage & not a gift v.4


4Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

D) ifI am working for it then it is something that is owed to me / I was saved the old fashioned way I earned - problem is canít - works fall short


5But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:

7"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered;


Now Paul uses David to further his illustration & point !

A) Paul quotes from Psa 32 which was a Psa which David wrote after his sin w/ Bathsheba was exposed


B) For close to 9 months David was living the life of a hypocrite / thinking he had successfully hidden his sin !

1) Had Uriah killed / he married Bathsheba - which actually made him look kind & compassionate


C) But after 8months or so the Lord sent Nathan to tell David a little story ÖÖ..

††††† David YOU ARE THE MAN -Caught - Guilty


D) What David do he repents - confesses his sin / and it was then that he writes this Psalm . turn to

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.

2Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.††

A) Blessed = oh how happy†† ( Spurgeon's story man convicted in Spain /execute byshoot him- but he was an American citizen / wrapped in American flag )


B) But notice what he says in v. 3,4 3When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long.

4For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah


C) Hiding my sin made me ache inside & it sucked all the life right out of me ! But when he finally confessed it - restoration took place ††5I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.SKIP TO V. 10


10Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him. 11Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

God didnít require David to perform 1000 hail Marys or to walk on coals / go lay out in the hot desert sun for days

A) He simply said You have confessed your sin & repented of your sin & by my grace I am going to forgive you of your sin &declare you righteous


B) So David like Abraham was declared righteous by simply placing his faith in the grace of God that was able to forgive Him & to restore him

1) Grace is a gift that canít be earned it can only be embraced through faith !


C) So that is how Abe & David were Justified - By Grace through faith & apart from works - Back to Romans



As we come to V. 9,10 Paul further reveals when Abe was declared righteous that it was before he was circumcised/ illustrate that justification is universal.

9Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.

10How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.


A) Circumcision was the sign that God gave to Abe & his descendants that they were the people of God ! It marked them as his people


B) Now we noted in ch. 2 where Paul showed that the mark didnít mean a thing if they were not acting like the people of God

1) Worthless as an engagement ring would be for a girl who was carrying on w/ other men !


C) Here in Ch. 4 Paul is using Abeís circumcision to further illustrate that Abe was Justified by faith because it was before he was circumcised

1) In fact it was at least 14 yrs before he was circumcised


D) Then Paul adds in v. 11 that He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised,


E) In other words the Lord looked at Abe when he showed faith in Him / even though it was weak at the time and saidYou are righteous / your my friend

1) And I am going to make you a great nation - and I am going to give you this seal as a sign of my promise to you


F) This is what people fail to realize about circumcision is it is a sign from God that He is going to keep his promise

1) It marked them as the People of God



The Lord has marked us who have been declared righteous by exercisingfaith in Jesus Christ w/ a seal as well - the H.S. in our Hearts

A)And the H.S. isthe guarantee to us that God is going to keep his promise to us

†††† to take us to heaven !


B) And The presence of the H.S. which will result in us bringing forth the fruit of the H.S. is an evidence that we are born again

C) See an example of this in the life of David / 1Sam. 16


Scene : Samuel goes to house of Jesse Pick a new King ( David overlooked )

A) God looks at the Heart - God could see what others donít - God saw Davidís heart


B) To Jesse & Davidís brothers he was just a little rugged shepherd boy- but God saw His big heart for the Lord !


C) 13Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward.


D) Now note how David is described shortly after this : "Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the LORD is with him."




How ? By grace through faith /When ? Before circumcision / before the Law


that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also,

12and 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.


A) God had another reason in mind beyond the personal salvation of Abraham - Abraham would become the Father of those who Justified by faith

1) Aaron am I related to Moses - answer is yes in a general sense


A) And we are all related to Adam - sin /†††††† But Abraham is referred to as the father of those justified by faith !


B) This opens up the whole picture & putsit into focus - that when The Lord spoke to Abe & said he was going to be a great nation

1) He was speaking not only physically but spiritually !


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.

14For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect,15because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.


C) Abrahamís seed according to the law was Isaac -Seed according to the righteousness of faith was Jesus

1) Paul makes this really clear in Gal. 3:16 ††Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ.


16Therefore 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