Romans 4 is often neglected because of the significance of other sections of the letter. But I think we neglect chapter 4 to our peril. I grew up thinking, because of teaching that told me to think this way, that folks in the Old Testament, including Abraham, were justified by keeping the law. I wasn’t quite sure how it worked, but the animal sacrifice system seemed to have something to do with justifying sinners during this pre-Christ period of human history.
Abraham Declared Righteous
Imagine my shock when I read Romans 4 and learned that Abraham was declared righteous, not by the law, but by faith. And to make the point, Paul discusses the fact that Abraham was declared righteous by God PRIOR to being circumcised.
I discuss the implications of this for us in this important episode. I explain that the story of human history is one big story with the cross of Jesus Christ at its center. God is the main character in this story – not us. We are important to God – incredibly valuable to Him. But we are not the center of the story. The story is all about glorifying God.
Scripture is One Big Story of Justification by Faith
My students often experience an “aha” moment during our study of Romans 4. Perhaps you will as well when you see that the story of Scripture is one big story of justification by faith. This one is earth-shattering!
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