Sunday – September 5, 2021
Word On Worship – Sunday – September 5, 2021
Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.
Paul has spent an entire chapter hammering home the truth that we are justified by faith in Christ alone, not by our good works, not by our religious rituals, and not by keeping the Law of Moses. He uses Abraham as the prime example of a man who believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness (4:3, 5, 9, 22). But now, as he wraps up this chapter, he wants us to plug it in personally. He doesn’t want us to cheer and say, “Brilliant argument, Paul! You really stuck it to those religious Jews! Nice going!” No, he wants each of us to apply it on the most fundamental level so that we, too, are sure that the righteousness of Jesus Christ has been credited to our account by faith.
Paul’s point is that this chapter about Abraham and his faith is not just a quaint history lesson. We need to apply it personally. This is seen in the text by the fact that Paul uses the pronoun “our” four times: “for our sake also”; “Jesus our Lord”; “our transgressions”; and, “our justification.” These truths must be ours personally. The Bible was written so that first we would understand it, but then so that we will apply it. The story of Abraham is for your sake also. Has the righteousness of Christ been credited to your account? Romans 4 won’t do you any good unless by faith you are a true son of Abraham, an heir according to God’s promise (Gal. 3:7, 29).
Also, Romans 4 shows the importance of understanding and applying the Old Testament. Paul built the entire chapter on the story of Abraham’s faith being credited to him as righteousness. If we do not understand the Old Testament, we will not properly understand the New Testament. The Old Testament continues to speak to Christians and our understanding of this foundation is fundamental to the theology and preaching of the Apostle Paul. As Paul will go on to say in Romans 15:4, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Before we leave this chapter in Romans I want to ask you two questions: First, do you regularly read and seek to understand and apply the Old Testament? Reading through the Gospels is a good plan to do every year but make sure to include opportunities to read from the Psalms and the Old Testament. Don’t neglect the Old Testament as if it were of less importance than the New Testament. Second, have you put your faith in Christ alone, trusting God to credit Christ’s righteousness to your account? If you have not done that, you are not a Christian in the most important sense of the word. A Christian personally believes in Jesus Christ.