Romans 3:27 – 4:3

Thursday Evening Bible Study

May 29, 2008


Paul has been building his case that every human being is facing condemnation as a sinner.

The Gentiles who don’t have God’s Word are accountable because they have all of creation around them telling them there is a Creator God (Rom. 1).

The Jews have God’s Word, the Law, which doesn’t prove that they’re better than anyone else, the Law only proves that they too are sinners.

From that point, Paul told us that Jesus Christ is the answer to man’s problem. Man couldn’t take care of his own sin, but Jesus Christ came and died for us, paying for our sins.

We now can be clean before God if we will exercise “faith”, if we will trust God to pay for our sins through Jesus Christ.

It’s all about getting to the place where we are “righteous”. This has been the key word in our recent passage (3:21-26).  The word has been translated “righteousness”, “justified”, and “just”.  We’re going to see the word a couple more times tonight.

Another key word is translated “impute” or “reckon” or “accounts” (all the same Greek word). An accounting term, putting a number into a ledger.

What is God going to write in your record? What is God going to put in your account?

How do we get God to record something in our account?

:27-31 No boasting

:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.

excludedekkleio – to shut out, to turn out of doors.

We like to feel good about ourselves, and one of the things we do to make ourselves feel better is to “boast” about what we’ve done or who we are.

The more we understand the actual process of salvation, the more we realize that we’ve got nothing to boast about.

We didn’t do anything worth boasting about in regards to our salvation.

We were the rebels. We were the sinners.
God loved us. God sent His Son to die.

law of faith – We aren’t saved by doing good works or by keeping the Law of Moses. We are saved by a different law, the “law of faith”. It goes like this: You believe, you are saved.

There’s nothing for us to boast about. All the work was done by God, not by us.

Sometimes you’ll hear people give their testimonies and they’ll talk about all the things they gave up for Jesus. We need to be clear to realize that the act of giving something up doesn’t do anything for your salvation. Your salvation isn’t based on what you give up, it’s based on the trust you have in the blood of Jesus, that you are trusting that God did all the work necessary for your salvation.

:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

concludelogizomai – to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over; it’s the “logical” conclusion… it’s the word translated “account” or “impute” in our passage.

justified – care to guess what the word is? It’s the same word that was used seven times through the entire previous passage (Rom. 3:21-26).

justifieddikaioo – to render righteous or such he ought to be

We are made “righteous” by faith, by trusting in what God did for us.

:29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also,

:30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

To the Jewish mind of the first century, the uncircumcised Gentiles were hardly even human. They were considered to be nothing more than fuel for the fires of hell. It was inconceivable to think that God could even think about Gentiles, let alone save them.

This week I was reading through Solomon’s prayer when the Temple was built and dedicated:

(1 Ki 8:41-43 NKJV) "Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for Your name's sake {42} '(for they will hear of Your great name and Your strong hand and Your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this temple, {43} "hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name.

Solomon understood that Yahweh was not just the “god” of the Jews, but the God who made and rules the universe.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a Jew or a Gentile. Both are made “right” before God by coming to trust in what Jesus did for us.

We might think that prior to Jesus that people were “saved” by keeping the Law. This was the fallacy the Jews had fallen into.

In truth, it has always been about faith – trusting God.



We’re not better than anybody. We have nothing to boast in when it comes to us going to heaven – except to boast in Jesus.
Sometimes Christians can come off as if we think we’re better than everyone else.
We like those jokes that compare different religions like …
A priest, a rabbi and a Pentecostal preacher all served as chaplains to the students of Northern Mich U in Marquette. They would get together two or three times a week for coffee and to talk “shop”. One day someone made the comment that preaching to people isn’t really that hard. A real challenge would be to preach to a bear. Well, one thing led to another and before it was over they decided to do a 7 day experiment. They would all go out into the woods, find a bear and preach to it......................
It’s now 7 days later and they’re all together to discuss the experience. Father O’Flannery, who has his arm in a sling, is on crutches, and has various bandages goes first. “Wellll,” he says in a fine Irish brouge, “Ey wint oot into th’ wooods to fynd me a bearr. Oond when Ey fund him Ey began to rread to him from the Baltimorre Chatecism. Welll, thet bearr wanted naught to do wi’ me und begun to slap me aboot. So I quick grrabbed me holy water and, THE SAINTS BE PRAISED, he became as gintle as a lamb. The bishop is cooming oot next wik to give him fierst communion und confierrmation.”
Reverend Billy Bob speaks next. He’s in a wheel chair, with an arm and both legs in casts and an I.V. drip. In his best fire and brimstone oratory he proclaims, “WELL brothers KNOW that we don’t sprinkle........WE DUNK! I went out and I FOUND me a bear. And then I began to read to him from God’s HOOOOLY WORD! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. I SAY NO! He wanted NOTHING to do with me. So I took HOOOLD of him and we began to rassle. We rassled down one hill, UP another and DOWN another untill we come to a crick. So’se I quick DUNK him and BAPTIZE his hairy soul. An’ jus like you sez, he wuz gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the week in fellowship, feasting on God’s HOOOOLY word.”
They both look down at the rabbi who’s laying in a hospital bed. He’s in a body cast traction with IV’s and monitors running in and out of him. The rabbi looks up and says “Oy! You don’t know what tough is until you try to circumcise one of those creatures!”
The truth is, no “religion” is any better than another if you are trying to reach God by doing good works.
Every religion fails. The only thing that we can count on is God doing the work for us if we will learn to trust Him.

Like Paul said in verse 27 – there is no room for boasting.

:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

make voidkatargeo (“according to” + “laziness”) – to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative

The Jewish mind might be completely horrified at Paul’s conclusions. They considered the Law as pure and holy. They would think that Paul was tossing out the Law.

Yet Paul has been showing that the Law of Moses was very necessary. He isn’t doing away with the Law of Moses, instead he is showing how necessary the Law is.

The Law shows us how sinful we are.

The Law provides for sacrifices to be made, “propitiation” where our sins are covered.

Jesus didn’t toss out the Law,

He fulfilled it by being that perfect sacrifice for all of us.

When Jesus taught on the Law, He didn’t make it easier to obey, He taught the true spirit of the Law.

We’ve already seen on Sunday mornings how Jesus dealt with various laws.
When God says, “Honor your father and mother”, Jesus clarified that people were to take that seriously and care for their elderly parents (Mark 7:10-13).
When God says, “You shall not murder”, Jesus took it a step farther and clarified that you are not allowed to be angry without a cause with someone (Mat. 5:21-22).
When God says, “Don’t commit adultery”, Jesus taught us that it’s not just having sex outside your marriage, but if you simply look at a woman with lust that you are committing adultery.

There are some Christians who come to the conclusion that since we’re under a new Covenant with God, that we don’t even pay attention to the Old Testament. But just the opposite is true. We need the Old Testament to understand what has happened in the New Testament. Don’t just read part of your Bible, read the WHOLE thing!

4:1-5 Abraham justified by faith

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

has foundheurisko – to come upon, hit upon, to meet with; after searching, to find a thing sought; to find by enquiry, thought, examination to find out by practice and experience

In dealing with those Jews who have a difficult time even considering that God would dare think about Gentiles, let alone make them righteous, Paul is going to draw on some evidence from the life of Abraham.

The Jews were quite proud to be called the sons of Abraham (Luke 3:8), so they would pay attention to this.

What kind of experience did Abraham have about being justified while he was alive?

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

justifieddikaioo – that word again …

boast – Paul’s already reminded us that we have nothing to boast about because we aren’t the ones who accomplished our salvation.

If Abraham had been able to earn his way to heaven, then that would be a pretty good thing to boast about.

:3 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."

what does the Scripture say? – Notice that Paul is again basing his theology on the Scriptures, not on what he thinks.

Too many people base their ideas about God on what they think God should be like, not what God has told us He is like.

Paul then quotes Genesis. Here’s the context: Abraham (still known at this time as Abram) has just rescued his nephew Lot, who was taken hostage when the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had been captured by the marauding kings of the east. The king of Sodom has just offered to make Abraham a wealthy man for having rescued all of his city, and Abraham refused because he didn’t want this wicked man to claim that he was the reason for Abraham’s success in life. After turning down the riches of the “world” …

(Gen 15:1-6 NKJV) After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward." {2} But Abram said, "Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" {3} Then Abram said, "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!" {4} And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." {5} Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." {6} And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

God makes Abram a promise and Abram believes God.  What was the promise?  That God would be Abram’s reward and that God would give Abram a son.

it was accountedlogizomai – to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over.  This is the other main word.

This is an old Greek accounting word which simply means to “set down accounts”.  It’s to write numbers into a ledger.  It’s to record your checks in the check register. This word deals with reality. If I “logizomai” or reckon that my bank book has $25 in it, it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers to facts not suppositions.

It’s interesting that this word is found 40 times in Scripture, almost half of them (19) are in Romans, and 11 times it’s found in chapter 4 (verses 3,4,5,6,8,9,10,11,22,23,24).  Romans is Paul’s “accounting” book.

righteousnessdikaiosune in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God

Our big word again.


Trust God

The bottom line is:  God wants you to trust Him.  God wants you to have faith.
This is what Abraham learned.
Faith is what enacts our salvation.  Paul wrote,
(Eph 2:8-9 NKJV)  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, {9} not of works, lest anyone should boast.

God has paid for our salvation by having Jesus die in our place.  But for that transaction to actually go into our account, we have to have “faith”.

Some of you have online banking services.  You can pay your bills online without having to write a check or count out dollar bills.  But you still have to go online and set things up for your bank to pay your phone bill.  You still have to ask the bank to pay the bill.

You have to trust God to pay for your salvation.

The gospel of John says a lot about “faith”:
(John 3:16 NKJV)  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Joh 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
Joh 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

The Greek verb “to believe” is found 86 times in the gospel of John.  John was real concerned that his readers realize they needed to “believe”, to “trust”, to have “faith” in Jesus which leads to eternal life.


Handle life with faith

Abraham’s faith wasn’t aimed specifically at trusting God for salvation to go to heaven. It was about where his treasure was. It was about the future of his descendants (or lack of).
Our faith is supposed to go beyond just trusting Him for salvation.
Paul wrote,
(Col 2:6 NKJV)  As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

We received Him by “faith”.  We need to continue to trust Him and “walk” by “faith”

When Paul was caught in the storm at sea, about to be shipwrecked, it was his “faith” that sustained him and his shipmates:
(Acts 27:23-25 NKJV)  "For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, {24} "saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.' {25} "Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.
David wrote,
(Psa 56:3 KJV)  What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
Faith helps us deal with difficulties, “mountains”
(Mat 17:20 NKJV)  So Jesus said to them, "…assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

Tony Snow, former press secretary for President George W. Bush, has been battling cancer, off and on, since early 2005. When asked what spiritual lessons he has learned from his battle, he replied: “We want lives of simple, predictable ease—smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see—but God likes to go off-road.”

Tony Snow, "The Up Side," Guideposts (January 2008),

Faith is one of the keys to learning to pray and have God answer our prayers.
(Mat 21: 22 NKJV)  "And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
Are you going through a dark time?  Are you facing some big mountains?  God wants you to trust Him.
Abraham trusted God and it was counted as righteousness.