Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 28

This entry is part 28 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

“And if ye are Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, heirs according
to the promise” (Galatians 3:29). In the high gospel sense
contemplated in the promise made to Abraham, he is the father of
only those who believe in Christ. A Jew, as such, has no part in the
in this promise. The spiritual family of Abraham has replaced the
fleshly family. God’s order is, the fleshly first, then the spiritual. 

Part 28

“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” (Romans 4:13). The marginal reading has
“through law”. The Greek has no “the” before “law” in this verse.
Abraham did not receive the promise through law, evidently
meaning that the promise was not given him on account of his
perfectly keeping any law. That he should be the heir of the world is
not definitely stated in any of the promises made to Abraham. The
promise here referred to cannot be the land promise, for that
promise did not include the world. And Paul’s argument in the
remainder of the chapter shows that he did not have the land
promise in mind. When God called Abraham out of Ur of the
Chaldees, he promised to make of him a great nation, and then
added the promise that refers to Christ: “And in thee shall all the
families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3). That this
promise includes all the nations is plainly declared when God
renewed this promise to Abraham: “And in thy seed shall all the
nations of the Earth be blessed” (Genesis 22:18). When God made
the covenant of circumcision with Abraham, he referred to the
promise made to Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees, saying: “For the
father of the multitude of nations have I made thee” (Genesis 17:5).
God had already constituted him a father of a multitude of nations
when circumcision was commanded. In a fleshly sense Abraham
was not the father of a multitude of nations; in a spiritual sense he
was. Jesus was made heir of all things. Hebrews 1:1-2; Psalms 2:7-
8 shows that it was the people to which Christ became heir. 
“For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void,
and the promise made of none effect” (Romans 4:14). The world
was not promised to Abraham’s natural seed. God promised to
make of his natural seed a great nation, and to give them a definite
territory, but they were not established the heirs of the world. The
seed that was to bless the world was Christ. “Now to Abraham
where the promises spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed which is Christ”
(Galatians 3:16). “Whom he appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews
1:2). With this agree the words of David: “I will tell of the decree:
Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten
thee. Ask of me, and I will give thee the nations of thine inheritance,
and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalms
2:7-8). Now, this promise of world-wide inheritance was not made
to Abraham through the righteousness of the law, but through the
righteousness of faith. Paul had shown the Judaizing teachers
that Abraham was not righteous by law, but by faith. Now he shows
briefly that the promise of the Messiah was through the
righteousness of faith, and not through the righteousness of the
law. 

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