Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 28) - Rom 4:3,5,9,22,24; Rom 4:13,16Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Wednesday, September 17, 2014.
For a paperback book in outline form which addresses over 150 difficult verses that Arminians use against Sovereign Grace, check out: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace: Rooting Arminianism Out of Every Verse. For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace 66. Rom 4:3,5,9,22,24 A. "3) For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 5) But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 9) Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 22) And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 24) But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;" (Rom 4:3,5,9,22,24) B. Do these verses teach that Abraham and all believers are made righteous by their faith? C. Counted, accounted, reckoned, and imputed are all synonyms. i. Counted adj. - Accounted, numbered, etc. ii. Accounted adj. - Counted, reckoned, considered. iii. Reckon v. - 7. To account, assign, or attribute to (a person or thing). 1526 Tindale Rom. iv. 9 We saye verely how that fayth was rekened to Abraham for rightewesnes. iv. Imputed ppl. - 1. Charged (as a fault); attributed or ascribed. D. Rather than showing that believers are made righteous by their faith, these verses show that they are counted or considered (shown to be) righteous by their faith (See Section II,9,C on Justification). 67. Rom 4:13,16 A. "13) For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 16) Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all," (Rom 4:13,16) B. Do these verses teach that Abraham became the father of many nations (the heir of the world) by his faith? Was God's grace conditioned on Abraham's faith? C. The promise that Abraham would be the heir of the world (the father of many nations - Gen 12:3, Gen 17:5) was not through the law, but through faith (Rom 4:13). i. The promise was not through the law or any law. a. The law of Moses was given 430 years after the promise was made to Abraham, so it is obvious that the promise was not by the law of Moses (Gal 3:17-18). b. Neither was the promise by the law of circumcision which God gave unto Abraham after the promise was made (Gen 17:4-11 c/w Rom 4:9-12). c. Circumcision was a token of the covenant God made with Abraham, it was not the covenant itself (Gen 17:11). d. Token n. - 1. a. Something that serves to indicate a fact, event, object, feeling, etc.; a sign, a symbol. in token of, as a sign, symbol, or evidence of. ii. True, the promise to Abraham was through faith; but whose faith? a. The faith that the promise was through must be God's faith to fulfill the promise. b. God made the promise before Abraham believed it (Gen 12:1-4; Gen 15:5-6), therefore the promise was not through Abraham's faith. c. In fact, at one point, Abraham didn't believe that God could give him his promised son after God made the promise to him (Gen 17:15-17). d. When God (or anyone for that matter) promises something, He must be the One who is faithful to do it (Heb 10:23). e. This was the case with Abraham's and Sarah's promised son; God was faithful Who promised (Heb 11:11). f. The promise to Abraham was made to him and his seed, which was Christ (Gal 3:16). g. The covenant that God made with Abraham was confirmed in Christ (Gal 3:17). h. It was through Christ's death on the cross that all nations (Jews and Gentiles) would be blessed (Gal 3:13-14 c/w Rev 5:9). i. This promise was fulfilled by the faith of Jesus Christ to do the will of the Father (Gal 3:22). j. It is by Christ's faith (Gal 2:16; Rom 3:22; Phi 3:9) that Abraham's seed (men out of every nation who are chosen in Christ) (Gal 3:29 c/w Eph 1:4) are justified and made righteous. k. This is how the Gentiles in Rom 9:30 attained to righteousness, who were afore prepared unto glory by God (Rom 9:23-24). D. When Abraham's seed (all that are in Christ) were justified by Christ's faith, they were justified by Christ's grace (Rom 3:24; Tit 3:5-7). E. Therefore the promise to Abraham was by God's and Christ's faith, that it might be by grace (Rom 4:16). i. Since the promise to Abraham was by God's faith to keep the promise, that makes it by grace by definition, not being conditioned on works (Rom 11:6). ii. Therefore, because the promise was through God's faith to keep it and God's grace to execute it, it could be sure to all the seed (Rom 4:16). a. The promise couldn't be sure if it was conditioned on Abraham's (or any other man's) faith or other works. b. This is especially true since Abraham didn't believe God's promise at one point (Gen 17:15-17). c. The promise to Abraham was so sure that God could say that he had made Abraham a father of many nations before Abraham had the promised son, Isaac (Rom 4:17). F. There is also a sense in which Abraham's faith was involved in the promise, which showed that it was by grace. G. Abraham's belief and faith show that the promise made to him was by grace, not works (Rom 4:3-5). i. If it is worked for, the reward is reckoned of (counted for) a debt that is owed, not of grace that is not owed (Rom 4:4). ii. If the reward (the promise, the righteousness) is taken on faith (believed that God freely gives it without condition), then the reward would be reckoned of (attributed to) grace (Rom 4:4-5). iii. Reckon v. - 7. To account, assign, or attribute to (a person or thing). 1526 Tindale Rom. iv. 9 We saye verely how that fayth was rekened to Abraham for rightewesnes. iv. This type of faith, which attributes (reckons, accounts) righteousness to grace, is attributed (reckoned, counted) to the person for righteousness (the faith shows evidence that he is righteous) (Rom 4:3,5,9). v. In other words, the promise of righteousness is by faith, in the sense that it is received (believed) by faith (the elect believe that God has given it to them), which shows that it is by grace (they are not doing anything to get it) (Rom 4:16). vi. The elect believe that they are justified by Christ's faith, not their own (Gal 2:16). vii. This is the type of faith the Gentiles in Rom 9:30 had, as opposed to the Jews who sought righteousness by keeping the law (Rom 9:31-32). a. Men who try to attain unto righteousness by keeping the law, as did the Jews, will not make it because they are trying to work for it instead of believing that Christ did it for them (Rom 9:31-32). b. Righteousness can never be attained by law-keeping (Gal 2:21). c. A person who relies on his works for righteousness is not counted righteous, but a person who believes Christ made him righteous (justifieth the ungodly) is counted righteous (Rom 4:5). d. The unbelieving Jews didn't attain to righteousness because they refused to believe that Christ justifieth the ungodly, stumbling over Christ, the stumblingstone and rock of offence (Rom 9:33 c/w 1Pe 2:6-8 c/w Eph 2:20). For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace