Romans Chapter 4

Scripture Translations

And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dea. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God. Romans 4:23-25 NLT

"Paul's theme in the second section of his letter was salvation - righteousness declared. He proved that all people are sinners; so his next goal was to explain how sinners can be saved. The theological term for this salvation is justification by faith. Justification is the act of God whereby He declares the believing sinner righteous in Christ on the basis of the finished work of Christ on the cross. Each part of this definition is important, so we must consider it carefully.

To begin with, justification is an act, not a process. There are no degrees of justification; each believer has the same standing before God. Also, justification is something God does, not man. No sinner can justify himself before God. Most important, justification does not mean that God makes us righteous, but that He declares us righteous. Justification is a legal matter. God puts the righteousness of Christ on our record in place of our own sinfulness. And nobody can change this record." Warren W. Wiersbe, Be right - how to be right with God, yourself, and others Page 45

Cross equals Love

Teaching Videos

​Commentaries

Romans Chapter 4:1-5

Romans 4:1-5 AMPC - [But] if so, what shall we say about Abraham, our forefather humanly speaking—[what did he] find out? [How does this affect his position, and what was gained by him?] For if Abraham was justified (established as just by acquittal from guilt) by good works [that he did, then] he has grounds for boasting. But not before God! For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed in (trusted in) God, and it was credited to his account as righteousness (right living and right standing with God). Now to a laborer, his wages are not counted as a favor or a gift, but as an obligation (something owed to him). But to one who, not working [by the Law], trusts (believes fully) in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to him as righteousness (the standing acceptable to God).

 Warren W. Wiersbe - Be Right with God, yourself and others

The word counted in Romans 4:3 is a Greek word that means “to put to one’s account.” It is a banking term. This same word is used eleven times in this chapter, translated “reckoned” (Rom. 4:49-10) and “imputed” (Rom. 4:681122-24), as well as “counted.” When a man works, he earns a salary and this money is put to his account. But Abraham did not work for his salvation; he simply trusted God’s Word. It was Jesus Christ who did the work on the cross, and His righteousness was put on Abraham’s account.

The Passion Translation Footnotes

Romans 4:5 TPT - But no one earns God's righteousness. It can only be transferred when we no longer rely on our own works, but believe in the one who powerfully declares the ungodly to be righteous* in his eyes. It is faith that transfers God's righteousness into your account!

*Footnote: Or "calculated [reckoned] to be righteous." The Greek word logizomai is used eleven times in this chapter. This teaches us that our faith is considered or calculated as righteousness before God.

Wendy's thoughts on related scriptures

Romans 4:4-5 The Message - If you're a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don't call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it's something only God can do, and you trust him to do it - you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked - well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift.

It's all about what God can do, not us.

Matthew 19:23-26 NKJV - Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle that for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?"
But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Worship Songs

Romans Chapter 4:6-8

Romans 4:6-8 TPT - Even King David himself speaks to us regarding the complete wholeness that comes inside a person when God's powerful declaration of righteousness is heard over our life. Apart from our works, God's work is enough. Here's what David says: What happy fulfilment is ahead for those whose rebellion has been forgiven and whose sins are covered by blood. What happy progress comes to them when they hear the Lord speak over them, "I will never hold your sins against you!"

Warren W. Wiersbe - Be Right with God, yourself and others

In Romans 4:6-8, Paul used David as a witness, quoting from one of David’s psalms of confession after his terrible sin with Bathsheba (Ps. 32:1-2). David made two amazing statements: (1) God forgives sins and imputes righteousness apart from works; (2) God does not impute our sins. In other words, once we are justified, our record contains Christ’s perfect righteousness and can never again contain our sins. Christians do sin, and these sins need to be forgiven if we are to have fellowship with God (1 John 1:5-7), but these sins are not held against us. God does keep a record of our good works, so that He might reward us when Jesus comes, but He is not keeping a record of our sins.

The Passion Translation Footnotes

Romans 4:7 TPT - Here's what David says: What happy fulfilment is ahead of those* whose rebellion has been forgiven and whose sins are covered by blood.**

* Footnote: See Psalm 32:1. The Hebrew word for "blessed" or "happy" is asher, which carries the meaning of "a happy progress."

** Footnote: When David wrote this Psalm, it was during the days of covering sin by the blood of sacrifice. Today our sins are no longer simply covered, but removed forever.

Romans Chapter 4:9-12

Romans 4:9-12 AMPC - Is this blessing (happiness) then meant only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it credited [to him]? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the mark of circumcision as a token or an evidence [and] seal of the righteousness which he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised—[faith] so that he was to be made the father of all who [truly] believe, though without circumcision, and who thus have righteousness (right standing with God) imputed to them and credited to their account, As well as [that he be made] the father of those circumcised persons who are not merely circumcised, but also walk in the way of that faith which our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

Warren W. Wiersbe - Be Right with God, yourself and others

But Abraham was declared righteous when he was in the state of uncircumcision. From the Jewish point of view, Abraham was a Gentile. Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised (Gen. 17:23-27). This was more than fourteen years after the events in Genesis 15. The conclusion is obvious: Circumcision had nothing to do with his justification.

Then why was circumcision given? It was a sign and a seal (Rom. 4:11). As a sign, it was evidence that he belonged to God and believed His promise. As a seal, it was a reminder to him that God had given the promise and would keep it. Believers today are sealed by the Holy Spirit of God (Eph. 1:13-14). They have also experienced a spiritual circumcision in the heart (Col. 2:10-12), not just a minor physical operation, but the putting off of the old nature through the death and resurrection of Christ. Circumcision did not add to Abraham’s salvation; it merely attested to it.

Wendy's thoughts on related scriptures

Romans 4:11 NLT - Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous - even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith.

Paul is again making the point that the act of circumcision does not make you righteous. Abraham had already had faith before He was circumcised.

Romans 2:25-29 The Message - Circumcision, the surgical ritual that marks you as a Jew, is great if you live in accord with God's law. But if you don't, it's worse that not being circumcised. The reverse is also true: The uncircumcised who keep God's ways are as good as the circumcised - in fact, better. Better to keep God's law uncircumcised than break it circumcised. Don't you see: It's not the cut of a knife that makes a Jew. You become a Jew by who you are. It's the mark of God on your heart, not a knife on your skin, that makes a Jew. And recognition comes from God, not legalistic critics.

Colossians 2:11 NLT: "When you came to Christ, you were 'circumcised,' but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision - the cutting away of your sinful nature."

Here is some additional information on circumcision from the Circumcision Information and Resource Page - Answers from the Bible to Questions about Circumcision. Please note, by including this link I am not saying that I agree with all the information on this site, but rather it gives some context to this scripture.

Romans Chapter 4:13-17

Romans 4:13-17 NLT - Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)

So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.

Warren W. Wiersbe - Be Right with God, yourself and others

But Abraham was also justified before the law was given, and this fact Paul discusses in Romans 4:13-17. The key word here is “promise.” Abraham was justified by believing God’s promise, not by obeying God’s law, for God’s law through Moses had not yet been given. The promise to Abraham was given purely through God’s grace. Abraham did not earn it or merit it. So today, God justifies the ungodly because they believe His gracious promise, not because they obey His law. The law was not given to save people, but to show them that they need to be saved (Rom. 4:15).

The Passion Translation Footnotes

Romans 4:13 TPT - God promised Abraham and his descendants that they would have an heir who would reign over the world*. This royal promise was not fulfilled because Abraham kept all the law, but through the righteousness that was transferred by faith.

* Footnote: As translated for the Aramaic. The Greek is "for the promise made to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world," and is somewhat confusing since there is no promise in Scripture that Abraham would inherit "the whole world." This is an obvious statement about Abraham's heir Jesus Christ, who is given the dominion over the whole world.

Philip Yancy - What good is God?

"For the Christian, living by strick rules becomes a danger when it quenches the spiritual life rather than expresses it. Do you rely on rules as a way of earning God's approval? Does a rule-based community set up a ranking system of higher and lower spirituality? Do rules distract you from weightier issues? Which do they foster, pride or humility? Do they help nourish the inner life or merely whitewash the outer appearance? These are the questions Jesus raised about the Pharisees, in some of the strongest language he ever used." Page 122

Wendy's thoughts on related scriptures

Romans 4:15 NLT - For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)

We are simply unable to keep all the laws!

Galatians 3:11-12 The Message - The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. Habakkuk had it right: "The person who believes God, is set right by God - and that's the real life." Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping, a fact observed in Scripture: "The one who does these things [rule-keeping] continues to live by them."

Romans 4:16 NIV - Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring - not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.

Faith Chapter - Hebrews 11 - refers to Abraham's faith.

Hebrews 11:1-3 AMPC - Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].For by [faith—trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report. By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.

Hebrews 11:8-10 AMPC - [Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go. [Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise [of God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise. For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.

Hebrews 11:17-19 AMPC - By faith Abraham, when he was put to the test [while the testing of his faith was still in progress], had already brought Isaac for an offering; he who had gladly received and welcomed [God’s] promises was ready to sacrifice his only son, Of whom it was said, Through Isaac shall your descendants be reckoned. For he reasoned that God was able to raise [him] up even from among the dead. Indeed in the sense that Isaac was figuratively dead [potentially sacrificed], he did [actually] receive him back from the dead.

Romans 4:17 NIV - He is our father in the sight of God, in who he believed, the God who gives life to the dead, and calls into being things that were not.

Our God - calls into being things that were not - the power of His word. He started with creation ...

Genesis 1:1-5 NKJV - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

Worship Songs

Romans Chapter 4:20-22

Romans 4:20-22 GW - He didn’t doubt God’s promise out of a lack of faith. Instead, giving honor to God for the promise, he became strong because of faith and was absolutely confident that God would do what he promised. That is why Abraham’s faith was regarded as the basis of his approval by God.

Warren W. Wiersbe - Be Right with God, yourself and others

One reason why God delayed in sending Abraham and Sarah a son was to permit all their natural strength to decline and then disappear. It was unthinkable that a man ninety-nine years old could beget a child in the womb of his wife who was eighty-nine years old! From a reproductive point of view, both of them were dead.

But Abraham did not walk by sight; he walked by faith. What God promises, He performs. All we need do is believe. Abraham’s initial faith in God as recorded in Genesis 15 did not diminish in the years that followed. In Genesis 17–18, Abraham was “strong in faith.” It was this faith that gave him strength to beget a son in his old age.

The application to salvation is clear: God must wait until the sinner is “dead” and unable to help himself before He can release His saving power. As long as the lost sinner thinks he is strong enough to do anything to please God, he cannot be saved by grace. It was when Abraham admitted that he was “dead” that God’s power went to work in his body. It is when the lost sinner confesses that he is spiritually dead and unable to help himself that God can save him.

NKJV Abide Bible - Praying Scripture - Romans 4:16-22

Consider the testimony of Abraham. Pray that God would stir up faith in you as you read these verses. Think about a situation in your life where death seems to be reigning, whether it is a medical diagnosis, a loved one who is far from God, or a promise from God that by all earthly appearance is dead. As you read through the passage again, pray the words over that situation. Focus on the incredible truth that the faithfulness of Jesus brings what is dead back to life (v. 17). As you finish praying this passage, thank God that He sees acts of faith and counts them as righteousness (v. 22).

Joyce Meyer - The Everyday Life Bible

Romans 4:18-21 reminds us that God promised Abraham he would have an heir from his own body (see Genesis 15:1-6). Many years came and went and still there was no child as a result of Abraham and Sarah's relationship. Abraham still stood in faith, believing that what God had said would come to pass. As he stood, he was attacked with thoughts of doubt, and the spirit of unbelief pressed him to disobey God.

Disobedience in a situation like this can simply be giving up when God prompts us to press on. Disobedience is disregarding the voice of the Lord, or whatever God is speaking to us personally, not just transgressing the Ten Commandments or a specific Bible verse.  Romans 4:20 states that Abraham continued to be steadfast; he kept praising and giving glory to God. As he did so, he grew strong in faith. He felt confident that God would keep His word. Follow Abraham's example and keep your heart filled with faith and your action filled with obedience.

Wendy's thoughts on related scriptures

Romans 4:20-21 TPT - He never stopped believing God's promise, for he was made strong in his faith to father a child. And because he was mighty in faith and convinced that God has all the power needed to fulfill his promises, Abraham glorified God!

Abraham never stopped believing. He wasn't double-minded. How was he able to never stop believing?

James 1:6-8 NKJV - But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

James 1:7-8 TPT - When you are half-hearted and wavering it leaves you unstable. Can you really expect to receive anything from the Lord when you're in that condition?

Romans 4:20 NIV - Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God.

Giving Glory to God - only boasting in what God has done, not ourselves.

2 Corinthians 10:17-18 NKJV - But "he who glories, let him glory in the LORD." For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.

Worship Songs

Ever Be - By Bethel Music -  a reminder to always be praising God for who He is.

Glory to the King - Hillsong Worship

Romans Chapter 4:23-25

Romans 4:23-25 NIV - The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

New Spirit-Filled Life Bible

Romans 4:25

Though the NT elsewhere describes further benefits that Christ’s Resurrection brings to us, here His Resurrection specifically obtains our justification, that is, our being declared righteous in God’s sight. By raising Christ from the dead, God declared both His approval of Christ’s completed work of redemption and His approval of all who believe and are thereby united with Christ in His Resurrection.

Wendy's thoughts on related scriptures

Romans 4:23-25 AMPC - But [the words], it was credited to him, were written not for his sake alone, But [they were written] for our sakes too. [Righteousness, standing acceptable to God] will be granted and credited to us also who believe in (trust in, adhere to, and rely on) God, Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, Who was betrayed and put to death because of our misdeeds and was raised to secure our justification (our acquittal), [making our account balance and absolving us from all guilt before God].

Jesus was put to death because of our sin, our misdeeds, 

Isaiah 53:6 NKJV -  All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD las laid on Him the inquity of us all.

Romans 4:23-25 NIV - The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness - for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

We are given life because of what Jesus did for us.

John 10:10 NKJV - The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Worship Songs

What's next?

Some questions to consider:

1. What did God say to you when studying this passage?

2. What does that mean for how you live your life? (ie is there something you believe God wants you to do differently?)

3. How can we as a Lifegroup support you?

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