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Romans 4 Argument, Outline, and Selected Doctrines

Tod Kennedy, August 2014

Romans Section 2: God credits his righteousness by grace through faith—God’s solution, Romans 4-5

Romans 4. Righteousness is credited through faith

Abraham believed God before his circumcision and before the law was given, and his faith was credited to him for righteousness. David also speaks of God crediting righteousness apart from works. From these examples Paul develops the truth that righteousness was credited to Abraham when he believed God's promise. Neither circumcision nor the law were involved. It was simply by grace through faith. Now Abraham was a pattern for all people—those without the law, those who were circumcised, and those who were not circumcised—that righteousness will be credited to those who believe God who raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus was delivered for our transgressions and raised because of the basis for our justification was completed.

Romans 4 Outline and main points

Righteousness is credited through faith

  1. Romans 4:1-8. Abraham and David illustrate the truth that God gives His righteousness to people through faith and not by works. Paul contrasts faith with works. Works results in earned reward and the right to boast. Faith is not a work. Faith results in righteousness credited to the one believing. God justifies the one believing, and the believer has not earned his justification.
  2. Romans 4:9-12. Faith righteousness was credited to Abraham before he was circumcised. Circumcision was simply a sign that he had faith righteousness. Therefore Abraham is the father of all who believe God, and circumcision is not involved. The circumcision ritual will not help anyone gain God's righteousness. Abraham's faith pattern is what all believers follow.
  3. Romans 4:13-15. God promised Abraham and his seed that he will be heir of the world through faith, before the Mosaic Law was given. Furthermore, the Law brought wrath because people violated the Law. Law, works, and wrath nullify faith and God's promise.
  4. Romans 4:16-22. Paul concludes that God works by grace through faith. Those under the Law and those not under the Law all benefit from God's promise by grace through faith. Both Abraham, though old and normally unable to father a child, and Sarah, also unable to bear a child, demonstrated this principle. They believed God even though circumstances were against what God said. Abraham grew strong in faith and gave all glory to God for fulfilling His promise of a son. Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness.
  5. Romans 4:23-25. Abraham is a lesson to all of us that we should believe God’s promises. Paul refers to Genesis 15:6 to demonstrate this truth. Righteousness will be credited to everyone who believes God who raised Jesus our Lord. This Jesus was delivered over to the Jews and Romans to die for our sins and transgressions on a Roman cross. Jesus was raised because our justification was complete. When we believe God's promise about justification through Jesus Christ we also have faith righteousness credited to us.

Select Doctrines from Romans 4

  1. Justification by faith
  2. Faith
  3. Grace
  4. Abraham
  5. David
  6. Credited Righteousness—Imputation
  7. Circumcision
  8. Jesus our Lord
  9. Resurrection
  10. Law
  11. Works
  12. Heir
  13. Promise
  14. Righteousness