Study 3 – Justification through Faith
Week ending – 23/11/2014
Romans 3:21 – 4:25
1. Why are we not able to boast in ourselves?
Righteousness is to attain right relationship with God characterised by sinlessness
- Righteousness could have come through a full observation of the law however, no one has been declared righteous through this (3:20)
- Rather it is apart from the Law, to which the Law and the Prophets testify, in which we are able to attain righteousness
That is, we who are all sinners, are justified (just as we have never sinned) through Christ who has been presented as a sacrifice of atonement
- Referring to Lev 16, the Israelites had a day of atonement to cleanse themselves of sin
Justification from Christ extends beyond the Jews rather God is God of all (3:30).
2. Paul uses Abraham as a shining light of faith. Why does he use Abraham and on what basis has righteousness been credited to him?
Context: at the time of Paul’s writing, Abraham was upheld as an example of justification through works.
Abraham is also seen as the patriarch for the Jewish nation.
The credit of righteous occurs:
- 4:3 Abraham believed God and it was credited as righteousness – refers to Gen 15:6
- 4:10 The credit of righteousness occurred before circumcision which symbolised God’s old covenant with the Jews – Justification through the law
- Remained faithful in God’s promise of that he would be father of many nations
Abraham’s life was characterised by faith
3. Why is Abraham the father of both the Jewish and Gentile Christians?
- Abraham received the sign of circumcision as seal of righteousness credited to him because of his faith while still uncircumcised (4:11-12)
- He is therefore the father of all those who believe, who have not been circumcised
- He is also the father of all who believe, who have been circumcised
- The implication of Abraham being the father of all who have faith is:
- As his offspring, we share in the promise that we will be heirs of the world. Also see Gen 12:1-3 & 22:17-18 that all people on earth will be blessed through him – note blessing in Acts 3:25-26
- From Gal 3:17, the law does not circumvent the initial promise made by God