Home Bible Study

"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Romans by the Book (Lesson 29)



Home Bible Study- Lutz, Florida
Established November 2008

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)


This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4


Romans by the Book
Lesson 29

Before we begin chapter 4 of Romans, let’s set the stage for Romans, chapter four.

You may notice the Apostle Paul begins right where he left off in chapter 3. 
He’s obviously parked on the subject of Justification by faith (apart) from works or the Law of Moses.  Why is that? 

He’s emphasizing the Truth about salvation in this dispensational era (#6).
After Jesus’ death on the cross, until He returns for His church, an individual is “justified by faith” (alone); that is faith in the Gospel of Grace – plus nothing else.

But his Jewish brethren were hard-headed and stubborn.
I’m not Jewish but I used to be just as stubborn.  I was raised in a works based religion.
I was told that my religion was the “only true religion” on the planet.
I was told that my baptism in this religion ensured me a place in heaven.
This religion had many religious ceremonies, feast days, etc.
But it ran short on many things including the gospel message and Biblical Truth.

I wasn’t aware of this until a friend (a Believer) approached me and cared enough to tell me about these things which were left out; in short she told me the Truth.
For months I resisted.  I had been indoctrinated into my own religious system of beliefs and I was not tolerant of anyone else’s beliefs (is this beginning to sound familiar?  Paul was facing a similar opposition from contentious Jews).   But eventually Truth won out and from that point on I have devoted my life to bringing the Truth to others.

Roger Daltrey and the Who sang a song called, “Won’t get Fooled Again.”
We'll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
And I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again (Townsend)[1]

I’ve adopted this song as my hymn, so to speak.  The reason is quite obvious.
False Bible teaching is not only on the rise it’s out of control…
Furthermore, the people we label Christians want it.


Therefore, my teaching will be focused on the Jews hardened hearts because in my opinion this was their main problem.
 
In the Old Testament the Lord God described the Israelites as “stiff necked.” 
This means:  obstinately proud; extremely obstinate and arrogant. 

Then Jesus came, as promised in the Abrahamic Covenant (see Genesis 12; 15) and even after all the miracles and “signs” which He performed in their midst they refused to believe that He was the promised Messiah (see John 20:30-31).

So, what were the Jews “proud” of?  One of the things they took great pride in was their religious heritage and the traditions which came out of it.

FYI:  The Jews were led by their religious leaders; the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

The Mosaic Law had been in effect for approximately 1500 years.
During that time, the Jewish religious leaders had grown comfortable in their positions of authority and honor (see Matthew 23:5-7). 

They viewed Moses and the Law as God’s worship, and they added their own traditions as they saw fit.  But what does the book say?

Mark 7
5: The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the (what’s the next word) tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?”

6: And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:  ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.

7: BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING (read carefully – just don’t blow through these verses) AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’

8: Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the (what) tradition (or man-made rules, regulations, and “ways of doing things;” not necessarily God’s ways but) of men.

Is there anyone who does not understand what Jesus is saying?
Jewish traditions became more important than the “commandments” of God.

As we’ve learned here a short while ago, Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law.
When Jesus died, He ended the Law Covenant, and that Dispensational Era (#5) came to a close as well; the one which the religious leaders were so attached to (see Colossians 2:13-14) by “nailing it to the cross.”

So what we have is a continuation of Paul’s argument at the close of chapter 3. 

As Paul begins with his opening remarks in chapter 4, he opts to use an illustration that he knows will capture these Jews attention. 

He introduces a name from their past. 
But this isn’t just anyone from a long-gone era.  Oh no. 

If you were asked who was the most honored or respected person in history, who’s name would pop into your head? 

If you’re thinking about selecting Jesus Christ, that’s true for some but there are billions of people who do not honor Jesus Christ on this planet today.  I would keep looking.

Whoever you select must be a person who is “honored” by people in every country on this planet today.  Does that make it tougher to choose?

Is there one person who is honored and revered even more than Jesus Christ today? 
The answer is YES. 

There is one man who is revered by fully one-half of the world’s population. 
He is honored as the man from whose loins sprang forth three of the world’s great religions.  From this one man came Christianity with 2.18 billion followers, Islam with 1.3 billion followers, and Judaism with 15 million followers.

Do you know his name?  He is forever immortalized in the book of Genesis.
His name is Abraham.

These Jews are still raising objections to the doctrine of justification by faith apart from works of the Law.  So, Paul introduces Abraham at this point to gain credibility.  He (being a Jew) knew every Jew could easily relate to him.  Abraham was a godly man, and an example for every Jew to follow.  No Jew could disagree with the fact that Abraham was truly “justified” before the LORD God.  Therefore, these Jews would have to agree that whatever was true of Abraham must also be true of them. 

***************************************************************************************************

Let’s review Scripture.  This is always a good idea.
Read the verses you plan to study at least twice before you commence your study.

Justification by Faith Evidenced in Old Testament

Romans 4

1: What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?

2: For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

3: For what does the Scripture say?  (There’s one of my favorite sentences) “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

4: Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 

5: But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,

6: just as (King) David also speaks of the blessings on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

7: “BLESSED (HAPPY) ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.

8: “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.”

9: Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also?  For we say, “FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

10: How then was it credited?  While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised;

11: and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them,

12: and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.

We’re going to examine these verses closely to get the most out of them.

Verse 1-2
“What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?”

Or, “What did Abraham discover about himself (that is, when he looked at himself honestly and took inventory) was there any human goodness that could save him?
The answer was no.

So if you phrase Paul’s question like this, “If in fact, Abraham was justified by works, (here you can insert the phrase, “And he was not.” Paul is discussing a hypothetical possibility) he has something to boast about. – but not before God.”

Even if Abraham thought himself “good” enough to boast in the presence of God of his goodness, it wouldn’t do him any good.  Why?  God’s not impressed.
That’s what this verse means.

We live in a world where “works” are instantly rewarded.
But the flip-side to that is usually, “What have you done for me lately.”
The pressure is always on for more, greater production, more profit, and more performance.  And quicker!  Some people turn into performance junkies…

I’m saying stop and consider this.  God isn’t interested in your performance.
God is interested in your heart.  When He looks at your heart, what does He see?
He sees your anger, your greed, the manipulation, the fear, the ruthlessness, the unkindness, the shady deals; the lying, the cheating, and He see the secret things.
Nothing is hidden from God.  Remember that.

If you’re working, or scheming to become righteous before God forget that.
If you’re trusting in some religion to take you there, forget that too.

The only righteousness that can save you must come from outside yourself.
What you need is God’s righteousness.  That’s what Abraham discovered.
He discovered that all his human resources could never save him.
So, how was Abraham saved?

Verse 3:
For what does the Scripture say?  (There’s one of my favorite sentences) “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

That verse says what it means and means what it says.
No need to spend a great deal of time on it.

The Apostle Paul is quoting Scripture Genesis 15:6 to be exact.
Paul is allowing God’s Word to do the “teaching.”  But every good Jew is aware of this story.  This one verse brings together the topics of faith, justification, and righteousness.

The LORD God is saying to Abraham, “Trust Me, I’m going to give you everything I’ve promised…”  Abraham has nothing in his hands.  He has nothing in his sights. 
All Abraham has is the Word of God.  And what does he do with it? 
He accepts it on faith.  Abraham doesn’t ask the LORD God for time to consider His proposal.  Abraham doesn’t question the LORD God proposals wondering how these things can possibly be.  In other words, Abraham does not allow or permit his human nature to take control of the moment.  Even though these things the LORD God is promising appear to be impossible by human standard (nothing is impossible with God), Abraham sets all that aside and accepts God’s offer on faith ALONE!

And with that God “credits” his account with “righteousness.”

The Greek word for credited is logizomai, which is related to our English word – logic.
Logizomai is a bookkeeping term.  It literally means “to credit to one’s account.”
It’s what happens when you deposit money into your bank.  The money is placed into your account or credited.  It’s an asset. 

Abraham believed God – He took God at His word.  That faith was “credited” to his account in heaven.  In addition to that, Abraham became justified by his faith and he was declared righteous - apart from his works.

Salvation has always been based on faith apart from works no matter the dispensational era mankind finds themselves in.


(To be continued)

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[1] “Won’t Get Fooled Again”  Song written by Peter Townsend, compilation album titled, “Who’s Better, Who’s Best” released in 1988 by The Who.
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