Have you ever heard the expression’ “a self-made man?” This is a point of pride, right? Essentially what they’re saying is, “Look at me, I did this myself, and I don’t owe anyone anything.” Our Friend the Apostle Paul has a few things to say about this
But first, Let’s briefly recap and catch everyone up to speed. In case you missed last week or maybe you’re like me and can’t remember what you had for breakfast; you might welcome a nice reminder. Amen?
At this point Paul has gone to great lengths to point us toward the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul says, For I am unashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation. To everyone who believes: first to the Jew and then for the Gentile.Romans 1:16
Even though Paul has been very clear about the subject, there were those Judaizers that continued to push the idea that one must first become Jewish to then become a Christian. This would include strict adherence to the Law, dietary restrictions and circumcision. Remember this was the same system that they themselves had failed to keep. They system that had revealed their sin and the same system that Christ came to deliver them from.
Now my prayer today is that we will begin to see our salvation with more clarity and certainty.
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven; whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”Romans 4:1-8 – New International Version
I’ve separated this passage into 4 perspectives. Let’s look at those now.
Wages Or Works
Let’s look at Verse 2—If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. Did it ever occur to you the Paul talks an awful lot about boasting? According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, the word Paul uses here in the Greek “Kauchema” That in which one glories in regard of himself alone. This is the point where it seems as though the Jews of this time where saying, “our salvation is self-made” by our ability to keep the Law. Or perhaps, because they merely possessed the Law in general.
Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.Romans 4:4 – New International Version
So, if wages are earned and a gift is given freely, Why in everything Holy would any one want to make things more difficult when it comes to salvation?
Romans 6:23—For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23 – New International Version
This means that the thing we have earned on our own is death. The work of our flesh has only earned us destruction. So what are we boasting about again?
They had become so full of themselves, because of their roll in the covenant and traditions that they neglected the relationship aspect of the presence of God in the very covenant that they took such pride in. Remember church,
Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.Romans 1:22-23 – New International Version
This is just like us today… we built huge churches and we church on tv and the huge conferences with ginormous budgets and we boast. The reverence for God and the relationship with Christ has waned and become neglected, yet we brag about our accomplishment and glory in ourselves. We have set up a mortal idol of self. Even outside the church we plot and work and scheme to create wealth and power because we think it will make us better, but what we really mean is… it will make us better than them. We grind and scratch because we think it will somehow free us. We do all this instead of trusting God! God doesn’t want you to be better than them, He wants us to be better than we used to be. He gave us the new man, clothed in righteousness. His righteousness. He has already made us free
Let me move on to the second perspective.
The Gift Of God
However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.Romans 4:5 – New International Version
It is our faith in God that brings to him It is our belief in Christ Jesus that makes us like him.
and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.Romans 3:24 – New International Version
he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.Romans 3:26 – New International Version
If there ever was a qualifier for the Gospel its this right here! • but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. • Check this out If one works for what that have then they have earned it and therefore it cannot be a gift.
Our text says that it is paid out of obligation. But if we receive a free gift from God there is no way we can earn it.
In every other belief system on the planet there is people trying to appease whatever god they have chosen. In Christianity, this is all about God coming down to meet us and make a way for us even in our sin. God knows we are going to blow it. But for those who have faith in Jesus Christ he has chosen to Justify you/declare you innocent.
Let’s move on to the 3rd perspective.
For Abraham it was very simple. Each step of the way, Abraham had a choice to make. To trust God or to not trust God. Abraham was before the Law. God credited to Abraham righteousness because he believed.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.Genesis 12:1-4 – New International Version
Because of Abraham’s faith he was called righteous, but he also was able to step into the calling of God in his life that resulted in something tangible today. The Bible makes it clear that he was not without fault in his conduct. But it is God’s decree of righteousness that has defined Abraham into eternity.
Father of all believer’s Jews and Gentiles alike. Spiritual Fatherhood Because gentiles are grafted in. Natural Fatherhood. He has become the benchmark of religious leaders throughout history/except Jesus. Let me ask you this, what are you giving up by not choosing Jesus? Your God-given destiny? Spiritual fulfillment? I know some of you are thinking, Pastor, What could God do with me? I’m really glad you asked. Testimony about surrender and restoration of my body.
Now I’ll move to my final perspective.
David loved God, but he was a wreck. He was a man after God’s own heart, but he had a girl problem. His sin with Bathsheba lead him to cause the death of her husband. He lost the child and there as utter calamity in his house because of his poor parenting. (2 Samuel 12) But David was a man who asked God for forgiveness, He worshiped in his trials and in his pain. He submitted to the will of God and to His authority.
David is probably a lot like some of us here today. But what this passage here is really talking about is this: No amount of good you can do will earn you a place in eternity with God. And no amount of Bad you could ever do can prevent you from God’s grace that is given to you freely through Jesus Christ.
God tell David, through the prophet Nathan
Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.2 Samuel 7:16 – New International Version
This is the line of the messiah. This is the Throne of Christ. God called David a man after His own heart not because he was so good. God called David special because of his faith and attitude towards God.
But I want to stay here for a moment. Abraham, David, you, me: we all have the same opportunity with God. Justification in Jesus Christ is free. Just believe. I have heard it many times. Its too late for me. Pastor, I you only knew what I’ve done. I know God called me years ago, but I turned away from him and now I’ve missed my opportunity and I can’t go back. Friends, I’m here to tell you today that the Devil is a liar. He comes only to kill steal and destroy. But God, don’t you just love those But God, moments.
Will you open your hearts today and receive what God has for you?
Will you ask Him to help you forgive yourself?
Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today.
This is just you and God here.
Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life.
If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior.
Will you acknowledge him today.
Nobody is looking around its just you and God.
Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me.
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner.
I ask you today for your forgiveness.
I believe that you died for my sins and rose from the dead.
I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior.
Guide me and help me to do your will.
In Jesus’ name Amen.
“The Lord bless you and keep you;Numbers 6:24-26 – New International Version
25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’