Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 31

This entry is part 31 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

As the one has need of strength to beat off the reasonings of greed,
so has the faithful also need of a soul endued with power, that he
may thrust aside the suggestions of unbelief. How then did he
become “strong?” By trusting the matter, he replies, to faith and not
to reasonings: or he would have fallen. How does he come to
prosper in faith itself? By giving glory to God. 
Part 31

“And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he
was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for
righteousness” (Romans 4:21-22). It required strong faith on the
part of Abraham to accept God’s promise that he would be the
father of a son by Sarah when both were incapable, but he had
been a strong believer in God so long that his faithless able to
stand the test. “He wavered not through unbelief” – he was not
weakened in faith. Concerning this manifestation of faith Paul adds:
“Wherefore also it was reckoned unto him for righteousness.” Just
when Abraham first became a righteous man we do not know.
While Abraham was yet in Ur of the Chaldees, God promised him
through the righteousness of faith that he should be the heir of the
world (Genesis 12:1-3; Romans 4:13). How long he had been a
believer in God before this promise was made through the
righteousness of faith we know not. Some years later, when God
promised him that his seed should be as numerous as the stars, it
is said that he believed in God, and he counted it to him for
righteousness (Genesis 15:5-6). But it is certain that this was not
the beginning of his righteousness by faith. About fifteen years
later, when God promised him that Sarah should bear him a son,
whom he should call Isaac, his faith did not weaken (Genesis
17:15-21). Concerning his faith at this time Paul says: “Wherefore
also it was reckoned unto him for righteousness.” Later, perhaps
twenty-five years later, God commanded him to offer up Isaac.
Again, his faith failed not. Of this greatest test of his faith James
says: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, in that he
offered up Isaac his son upon the altar? Thou seest that faith
wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect; and
the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And Abraham believed God,
and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness; and he was called
the friend of God” (James 2:21-23). Hence, that Abraham was
righteous by faith is affirmed of him on four separate occasions,
covering a period of perhaps fifty years. It is astonishing that so

many Bible students have overlooked these plain and important
facts. To me it seems inexcusable that any Bible student should
take Genesis 15:6 as an example of justification of an alien sinner.
And it seems to doubly inexcusably for the same writer to so mix
events as to make Genesis 15:6 and Romans 4:22 refer to the
same event, and then, though the statements refer to events fifteen
years apart, use both as examples of justification of an alien! These
things were not written to show how alien sinners are justified. Paul
was meeting the demands of the Judaizers, who claimed that
Gentile Christians had to keep the law. The justification of an alien
sinner was not the point at issue, but whether a Gentile Christian
had to keep the law to be justified as a Christian. It does not appear
that the Judaizers denied that the Gentile believers were saved, but
their contention was the Gentile Christians must.

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