Skip to comments.Grace and Works...Romans 4
Posted on 09/01/2010 3:02:30 PM PDT by pastorbillrandles
Grace and Works Romans 4 Posted on September 1, 2010 by billrandles Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.(Romans 4:4-5)
How was Abraham, the father of all who believe in the God of the Bible justified before God? Abraham did not work to earn right standing with God, it was given to him freely , by God himself.
Abraham believed God and it was accounted to Him for Righteousness.(Genesis 15:6)
Righteousness from God can only come by faith and as a gift of God offered in His grace.The simplest definition for the word grace is that gift which is given to the unworthy for no other reason than love, it is unmerited favor.God is gracious and abounds with mercy.
Abraham was an idolater, to whom God in grace, revealed Himself, and something of His purposes for humanity.Also in grace, was the fact that that purpose involved Abraham, he didnt chose God, God chose him!
In response, Abraham believed God. Note it doesnt say that Abraham believed in God, but that Abraham took God at His Word. It was this faith in Gods promise, that was counted for Righteousness.
Had Abraham had righteousness imputed to him on the basis of his works, law keeping, exemplary service or religious observance, the blessing of righteousness would have been a wage that God owed him. God cannot be indebted, though, he owes nothing to anyone , for by the works of the flesh can no flesh be justified in His sight.
Abraham, the father of our faith, the model and type of all who would believe unto righteousness, is counted as the one who works not, for he did nothing to merit Gods blessing .God justified Abraham solely in grace.
This is the only possible way any can be saved. God has acted in grace,taking the initiative in love to save the ungodly ones. He has made a righteous way to justify the ungodly (What a miracle!) , so long as they believe only in the gospel of His gracious salvation.
Should we be led to believe that we in any way have helped God, by good works, or any personal righteousness to commend ourselves to him, the Grace of God is diminished, the reward is no longer reckoned of Grace but of debt. No one can possibly put God in debt, He owes nothing to any of us.As it is written;
Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.(Isaiah 45:24-25)
As Paul had said earlier, that both Law and prophets testify of the gospel, and the above scripture is an example of that. Only in the Lord is righteousness attained, Israel justified, and can man glory.
True Abraham is credited by God with obedience, as a friend has pointed out to me,
And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.(Genesis 26:4-5)
But the promise was made without condition in Genesis 12. Abraham was justified in Genesis 15, the obedience occurred over the course of many years, but as a result of his justification, not as a cause of it.
Ever this is Gods pattern. He reveals himself to sinners, they believe in the gospel, by which he justifies them, and this results in a life of good works as an effect of this justification, not the cause.
Abraham found Grace, saving faith, resurrection, and eternal life, not by works but by faith in the gospel of God, who justifies the ungodly."
Amen F-15! Praise God for his indescribable mercy!
You don’t know what you are talking about-
Thanks for posting this.
I was thinking about this last night.
I love doing it- Sola Deo Gloria!
“Easy way to make a living, tell people what they want to hear, “you are saved”. Nice slogans, that’s about it, BUT not the truth.”
Alright, I’ll bite. What is the truth that you speak of?
Just what I expected as a response, no depth, just boilerplate and slogans.
What is your religion called? It must have a name?
I am an evangelical christian, why do you come across so hostile? And what was there to respond to? an insult about how I make a living? I didn’t give you a “slogan”- you really don’t know anything about me- ie you don’t know what you are talking about- i am happy to answer any questions and dialogue as much as you want but tone down the petulance !
“evangelical christian” is not a religion, it’s painting with a broad brush, says nothing about what one believes.
I worship God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit. Jesus is God, come to us in the flesh- who gave His life on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins and was raised from the dead on the third day. He ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of God, but He shall come again- to rescue Israel and to Judge the world in Righteousness. Whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord jesus shall be saved from their sins, born again, justified , partakers of the New Creation.
So, does every evangelical christian believes as you do, or they are not ev’s, but heretics?
This is going to be a ride Pastor Bill.....one I have seen many times on the religious threads. It is endless but always interesting. May the truth prevail and Christ be uplifted throughout the debate.
“Grace”....enlarge the definition if you would please...for it often seems this is where the differences get rooted from my observation.
I asked you what you believe. You answered. I then asked you if an EC has to believe what you believe or else they are heretics? You wrote “the specifics”.
I need to know what specifically you want to discuss about my doctrine- there is a spectrum of evangelical belief but I would only consider on an evangelical christian, who believes that Jesus is God come in the flesh, and that the only way to be saved is through faith in Him. Obviously there will be a variation in things less crucial.
If it's just yours, then I don't need to know more. What doctrines do EV's have to believe?
igh...”My doctrine”- is not “My doctrine-” (Why do I have to even qualify that with you?) “ My doctrine, is what I say when I mean the doctrine that I subscribe to. If as you say, “I don’t even need to know more” then good, because I don’ think we can communicate on the level that you seem to want to reduce this to. If you want to really talk, just take the chip off of your shoulder and come right out and ask me what particular point you want to discuss with me. Evangelicals have to believe what anyone would have to believe to be saved, that Jesus is the Son of God, and yet God in the flesh. He died for our sins according to the scripture, was raised from the dead according to the scripture and He shall come again to judge the world in righteousness.
So, anyone that does not believe the above before death, will go to hell. (Jews,Moslems,Protetatants that don't believe in Christ's divinity, and everyone else like them)?
you said:So, anyone that does not believe the above before death, will go to hell. (Jews,Moslems,Protetatants that don't believe in Christ's divinity, and everyone else like them)?
That is right- those who do not believe the gospel are and will be damned
Welcome to FR, verdugo.
**Easy way to make a living, tell people what they want to hear, “you are saved”.**
That’s a legitimate point that at times can be doctrinally debatable. And, Romans is an epistle that was written to people that were already born again, as were all the epistles (’called to be saints’ Rom. 1:7).
**Nice slogans, that’s about it, BUT not the truth.**
Here’s the truth:
We live in physical bodies, and MUST respond to God’s call with physical effort.
Our own works, which also are physical; giving friendship, material items, living peacably, etc. can be done by anyone, even atheistic people. Those things cannot save the soul.
But when God calls on one’s soul for faithfulness, physical action has to be involved.
“Abraham believed God...” is used as though Abraham just sat there believing in his mind of the great God. Well, Abraham had to move when God called him to serve; and the move was approx. 600 miles without U-haul or Ryder. No trains, planes, or buses.
A good place to see the physical response to God’s call represented in scripture is ‘the heroes of faith chapter’: Hebrews 11, where a list of some of the better known faithful are mentioned:
Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice....
Enoch....pleased God. (Genesis says he ‘walked with God’; probably sacrifices and Godly living)
Noah...moved with fear, prepared an ark (a staggering task, to say the least) to the saving of his house.....
Abraham, when he was called...,obeyed; and went out....
Sara herself received strength...delivered a child...(you gotta hand it to her, being 90, and realizing that sex is finally going to result in carrying and delivering a child. Probably kinda scary.)
This is the common thread: they had to act on the Lord’s commands.
When God called, they offered sacrifices, moved, built, prayed, etc. or they would not have been called faithful. Had all the afore mentioned witnesses told God to ask someone else to obey those particular commands, but still said, “Thanks but no thanks, nevertheless Lord, I still believe in you.”, they would have been found disobedient by God, obviously.
God has laid down his ordinances through the ages. Even Jesus was commanding obedience to the Law of Moses (until he died as the perfect sacrifice), telling, for example, the healed leper to go show himself to the priest, and offer for his cleansing the things commanded by Moses.
After Jesus ascended to heaven, his apostles, following his commands, told the lost, enquiring souls to “repent, and be baptized EVERY ONE of you in the NAME of JESUS Christ for the REMISSION of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.’ Acts 2:38
Perhaps yourself and/or others may say obeying Acts 2:38 is not necessary to believing in the Lord. Is the Lord and his word able to be separated and believed separately at one’s own disgression? I don’t think so.
That then is one doctrine of evangelical christians, right? And A MOST important doctrine indeed. So, we'll go with a discussion on that, who will and who will not saved.
I have in my hand the book "Handbook of Denominations in the United States", 10th edition, by Frank S. Mead. In this book, I don't find any group called evangelical christian, what exactly does ec mean? How does one find their doctrines? Where are they "headquartered(?)"? What mainline Protestant church did they come from, what are its roots?
evangelical is not a denomination , it is a designation for all christians who believe that the gospel of Jesus calls for a believing response, unto a New birth, by faith in Jesus. There is a continuity down through the centuries, the early church was an evangelical, pentecostal christianity,and there have always been evangelicals. One would find the doctrines of the evangelicsls by reading the scripture, listening to evangelical teachers, reading evangelical teaching. They come from all mainline Protestant and even Catholic churches, but they have this in cmmon, they profess a NEw Birth through the resurrection of JEsus.
You are totally winging it.
Since Aug 13, 2010
Don’t feed the trolls.
Bill, although this is apparently a legend, I cannot find any Bible verses that support the fact that Abraham was an idolater. A sinner, for sure, but an idolater? I don't think so. Convince me. Give me the biblical support.
Sorry Marlow- that was Joshua 24:1-2
When I read that passage it suggests to me that Abraham's father Terah served other gods, but I don't think you can draw the necessary inference that Abraham himself served other Gods. The passages in Genesis that deal specifically with Abraham do not make the inference and this is merely the blanket statement that the fathers of the Children of Israel served other Gods, but unless Abraham is specifically numbered in the passage, then a statement of fact that "Abraham was an idolater" is reading something into the bible which isn't there. He very well may have been at some point in his life an idolater, but clearly we can't state it as a fact. At least not from that passage.
Are there any other passages which make the inference?
I may be wrong but this was the first time I ever saw that assertion and it kinda took me by surprise.
Actually in your article you stated is as a fact.
"Abrahan was an idolater...." (paragraph 3).
From your latest post it would appear that you are now asserting that Abraham MIGHT HAVE BEEN an idolater. I would agree with such a statement, but I don't think I would go so far (at least not based on the scriptures you presented) that Abraham WAS an idolater.
Do you have any other scriptures which would support the inference?
In verse 2 God states that those who served other gods included Terah the father of Abraham, but in the next verse it states that Abraham was different. "But I took your father Abraham from beyond the Eurphrates..." (NET) The inference there is that the serving of other Gods by the fathers of Israel ended with Terah and that Abraham was not numbered among them.
I'm pinging some others to chime in on this one.
In a nutshell, the story goes that Abraham's father was idol maker. And one day, one of his carved idols fell into the fire and burned up. Abraham was aghast thinking how could this be a "god" when it is consumed by fire.
His dad wasn't moved. He said that was the way the "god" gave him warmth and allowed him to prepare his meat.
But Abraham, as the story goes, fell to his knees and asked God in prayer, if you really exist please reveal yourself to me.
I think God had other plans for Abraham and kept him separate from the service of “other gods”. I think that was the point of verse 3 and the contrast between those who came before Abraham and Abraham himself. Abraham was set apart and thus I don’t believe he ever was an “idolator” in the sense that he served other gods.
That is what I mean, I wasn’t merely inferring- I am stating as a fact that Abraham was an idolater (based on Joshua 24), which we disagree on, I believe it states it, you don’t. Abraham needed justification as a sinner, just like we do, He is after all “the Father of us all”.
I really don't believe that you can make such a blanket statement of fact like that based solely on Joshua 24. God makes the specific statement that Terah (Abraham's Father) was, in fact, an idolater but God does not specify that Abraham was, IN FACT, an idolater.
1 Cor 4:6 (ESV) I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.
Without going beyond what is actually written in the scripture, can you state AS A FACT that Abraham WAS an idolater?
Or are you making a factual conclusion based solely upon an inference?
Also can you point to any other scripture in the entire Bible that makes the statement that Abraham was an idolater?
Joshua 24 does not allege that Abraham was an idolater. It does state quite categorically that Terah was an idolater but if God wanted us to know that Abraham was an idolater, I think that somewhere in the hundreds of references about Abraham in the Bible it would have stated so. Was he a sinner. Yes. That is a fact. Was he an idolater? We don't know from scripture. I don't think we should smear Abraham with that sin unless it has been made clear in the scripture.
Indeed. Thank you for sharing your insights, dear brother in Christ!
Verdugo is an Aug 13 newbie attacking others on the religion forum. Great volume of posts in just one month
Troll or retread?
I don’t see anywhere where any of those people that you claim I’m “attacking”, are making any such claim against me. If you post your opinions on FR, they are open to debate. I’m a staunch Catholic (married 8 years and have 5 children under 8), AND for me the pope himself is open to scrutiny! If one posts on the public forum, it is natual for people to react/respondr. It’s not like I’m barging into your house at your dinner conversation.
NKJV: Josh 24: 1 Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and called for the elders of Israel, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God. 2 And Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods. 3 Then I took your father Abraham from the other side of the River, led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants and gave him Isaac.
The NKJV appears to be clear that Terah was an idolater. It is probably true that of his 3 sons, Abraham, Nahor, and Haran. Odds are that Nahor was an idolater, since his son Laban had household gods that Rachel stole. That's assuming the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.
Interestingly, the only record of Haran is his son, Lot. While Lot turned a blind eye to some bad stuff, there's no indication that he was an idolater. He wanted to go with Abraham when Abe went out at God's command.
The Josh passage says plural "fathers" were idolaters, and it offers up Terah as a guilty party. One father, however, is not the plural, "fathers." "Your fathers...dwelt...and served other gods."
Those who dwelt beyond the River were definitely: Terah, Abe, & Nahor. They all did.
Those who "served other gods" were definitely Terah and probably Nahor based on Laban's gods.
One can find no evidence in Abe's life that he had any focus other than the Lord. His was devotion only to the Lord, even to the almost sacrifice of Isaac.
Perhaps it was a "by association" issue that was being addressed. As a boy, Abraham was brought up in idolater Terah's household, so one would have expected him to have been indoctrinated in that practice.
As we refer to many as "cultural Christians" because they come from Christian homes in a Christian culture, perhaps we can acknowledge that Abraham was a "cultural idolater" because he came from an idolatrous home in an idolatrous culture. It could have been something he NEVER bought, and that could have been by design of the Lord who eventually calle Abraham out of that culture.
Thank you so much for sharing your insights, dear brother in Christ!
“Easy way to make a living” is an attack.
I’m fine with your being a Catholic. While it’s an open thread in an open forum, saying to a freeper named “pastorbillrandles” something about his means of livelihood is a “personal” attack.
For your info, I too am a pastor, and my good relationship with many Catholics is well known. If you are actually new, and you aren’t a troll, then welcome. But, even then, you would need to know that the religion forum draws a distinction between a disagreement and a personal attack.
I noticed that myself. He has posted almost exclusively in the Religion Forum since his inception date and he is quite versed in the HTML and pinging procedures. His presence on this thread was clearly nothing but trolling. If I were a betting man, I would lay odds that we have a retread.
I would be inclined to agree, though it's a bit of a gray area because the poster is also the author.
Yep. I vote retread. More power to him if he keeps clean, but....retread.
true, but clearly identified. I had no doubts, anyway.
Disagree all you want, but “easy way to make a living” to a pastor is a low blow.
That aside, I’m just heartsick over yesterday’s court ruling on DADT. There’s no way to fight it because the powers in the military welcome it....Gates, CJCS, Obama.
It’s Congress power to make regulations for the military, though, so maybe if the conservatives win this fall, they’ll highlight this area as an area of separation of powers and for the Scotus to butt out, or even deny them oversight.
With so many gay-friendly repubs,though, I doubt it.
I think we just lost that battle. UNLESS the troops speak out.
Thank you P-Marlow for your generosity of spirit in this discussion.-
I think the point I was making is in danger of being lost. Abraham was a sinner- that is why he needed to be justified. I am not trying to impute any particular sin to Him, I think I have valid grounds to believe that He, being one of the Fathers Joshua referred to,”Your fathers...”- was an idolater.
I see why you can infer that he wasn’t guilty of that particular sin. This is one of those things that inferences can go either way- True the scripture doesn’t say “Abram bowed down to Marduk”, not does the scripture say “Abraham’s father and brothers worshipped Idols but he always knew better than to do that”-
I think Joshua is telling us that Israel’s Fathers worshipped idols, and yes I did state that Abraham was an idolater. In the Romans 1 sense every sinner is an idolater, so I dont see what the point would be of trying to exonerate Abraham of sin before he believed in God.
I am not going to say that this is authoritative, because it isn’t but there are many evangelical theologians who also say on the same basis, that Abraham was an idolater- AW Pink comes to mind, but there are others.
This is one of those issues where equally sincere Christians can disagree about what they think they see in Joshua 24 and it dosn’t really matter much. The point is that the conversion of Abraham is a prototype of the conversion of us all- thank you- and God bless you-