Romans 4—All Is Grace
Romans 4 Paul is using Abraham to speak about faith, law, and grace. Today we will look at verses 13-17.
It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
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. As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
To Abraham, God made a great and wonderful promise that he would become a great nation and in him, all would be blessed. The earth would be given to him as inheritance. That promise came to Abraham not from good work, but because of the faith he showed. The promise was from God’s generous amazing outpouring grace in answer to Abraham’s faith. Paul understood the promise as dependent on only two things—God’s grace and Abraham’s faith.
There are two ways of getting into a right relationship with God—works and faith. There is dependence on human effort or dependence on God’s grace. Law shows where we are going wrong, but cannot help us from going wrong. As long as we live by religion, we cannot see ourselves as anything other than condemned criminals awaiting God’s justice. Where law is, transgression follows. Seeing God in terms of the law and we see him as wrathful and full of outraged justice. In the law, we can only be seen as destined for the condemnation of God. With law, we are fated for hell. We have no hope.
There is grace. Grace is always a free gift of something underserved and unearned. We do not deserve God’s love and there is no way to earn it. The radical awesomeness is not in what we do but in what God has already done. God forgives us before we know it. God loved us first. God has already done what we could never do and offers it freely and openly to all.
Paul sets before us two ways.
In one, we seek a right relationship with God through our own effort. It is doomed from the outset. We cannot do it.
The other way to a right relationship with God is grace all of it is grace. God’s grace already exists and it is offered freely. Nothing we have to do to be made right with God.
It is not about being good. No one can ever be good on their own. The more we try to be good, the more we will fail. If we could make ourselves good than we would not need Jesus.
Jesus died for our sins. God sets things right and makes it possible for us to live with him. God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does. Our lives come into right order by letting God guide our path, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the show. The more we try to run the show the more of a mess we make.
Jesus is the breaker of all barriers. Jesus transcends all categories, even the religion created in his name. It’s not about religion or church; it’s all about Jesus. It’s not about religion or religious activities; it’s all about relationship. Jesus calls, we answer. He makes us right with God. We could not do it on our own. Jesus did it. Jesus does it. All we can do is receive it and extend the same to others. Not out of any sense of obligation or because God need’s us to do it, but from a deep sense of gratitude and awareness for the grace that has been lavished on us already.
There is a choice before you. Will you choose religion or will you choose Jesus.
I choose Jesus.