Romans 4 illustrates the principles put forth in Romans 3. Romans 3:28 says, "A man is justified by faith apart from observing the law." Paul proves this point by using the example of Abraham who was justified (declared righteous) by God on the basis of faith and not works, having been justified before the law was even instituted. Justification has always been by faith.
Even though Abraham is considered the father of Judaism and revered by Jews, he was a Gentile, from a pagan Chaldean background; but his faith saved him because he "believed God, and it was reckoned (credited) to Him as righteousness" (Genesis 15:6).
If you cross-reference Romans 4, you will go right back to Genesis. So much in the Bible goes back to Genesis, which is why it is crucial to study this book. If you are just joining us for the New Testament, I encourage you to make Genesis part of your Bible reading in the future. Here are all the Bible Book Club posts for this great book:
Genesis (online posts)
Genesis (posts in a downloadable word document)
Here are important cross-references from Genesis that give background to Romans 4. I am going to ask you some inductive study questions to help you dig a little deeper:
Genesis 12:1-9 - What did God say to Abram? What did Abram do?
Genesis 15-17 - This is the setting for Romans 4:3, 9, and 22. Genesis 15:6 is central. How are we justified?
Genesis 18:10-15 - What is the main point?
Genesis 21:1-7 - What happened here?
We covered three great, important words yesterday:
Today we will cover a new word . . .
Imputation (4:6, 8, 11, 22-24)
This word comes from the Greek word logizomai and means "to put to one's account." It is often translated as "reckon," "credited," and "counted." Cross-reference for this important word are 2 Corinthians 5:19; James 2:23; and Philemon 17-18.
Here is a definition I wrote after I did an in-depth study of Romans a few years ago:
When we believe in Christ, the righteousness of God is imputed to us. Conversely, all our sin is imputed to Christ. We are joined to Him and partake of all that is true of Christ. God does not reckon a believer's sin again him, this having been imputed to Christ.Isn't that Good News?
Have a time of prayer over the things you have learned in Romans 3 and 4.
Then, ask God what He would have you do with what you have discovered about Him and your relationship with Him. Make an "I Will" statement, tell someone what you plan to do, do it, and report back to the person you told about it how it went. Also, sharing what you are learning in your study is a good way to cement it in your mind and helps others grow.
Application is the KEY! Read more about application in this handout:
The Key to Meditation is Application
Lord Jesus, thank You for giving us Your perfect righteousness and taking on our unrighteousness. May we never take that for granted but be grateful for the life we live because of You. Amen.