Romans Podcast Expository Files 2018 Berkley - Page 21

Romans ~ Walking in the Footsteps of Faith
Rom. 4:1-12
The key phrase that identifies the theme of this section is, “walk in the footsteps
of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.”
Typical Jewish thinking exaggerated the role of circumcision and strained to
grasp how Gentiles could be members of God’s family. Paul – as part of his
affirmation of justification by faith in Christ – reminds his readers that Abraham
was able to enter into a right relationship with God, before circumcision, before
the law and without perfect sinless behavior that was meritorious.
That Abraham “did not work” does not mean he never did anything in obedience
to God (see Heb. 11:8). It means that what he did in obedience to God did not
put God in debt to Him. The favor Abraham received from God was not earned
by Abraham. Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.
His belief was active (obedience) but did not hit the high standard of meriting
God’s favor. The full quota of works demanded by law and flawlessly carried out
– was not the grounds for Abraham’s justification.
David described the situation of a man, who doesn’t earn standing with God by
his perfect behavior, but is forgiven by God, apart from works of merit. David
did not stand before God as a man who earned fellowship with God. But because
David’s faith was active and penitent, God blessed him with forgiveness.
This is all part of Paul’s argument that while everybody has sinned, anybody
can come out of sin by the activity of faith in Jesus Christ. That faith should
remain active after initial obedience as we are charged to walk in the steps of the
faith of Abraham.
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