An exposition of Romans 4:16-25. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, December 27, 2009.
Sermon Notes »
It is an interesting question. One that tends to create a lot of discussion, involves a great deal of emotion and can get a little heated. “What constitutes saving faith?” What does a person need to know in order to be saved? Is knowledge of the truth enough or is there something else? How much faith does one have to have? What if your faith stumbles? What if you doubt? Can anyone really be sure? I think we can all agree these are important questions. They are questions worth considering and questions for which we need biblical answers. The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Rome to introduce his gospel. He was saying, “This is the message I am proclaiming. This is the truth given to me by God, the message I am faithful to deliver.” Thus we have in Romans the most detailed presentation of the gospel found in all the Scripture. In chapters 1-3 he drives home the point that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are all guilty. We are sinners. We are deserving of His wrath. Heathen, hypocrite and Hebrew have all been weighed and found wanting. The out and out godless, the self-righteous and the garden variety sinner are all under sin and therefore accountable to God. Having established our great need he moves to God’s glorious provision – “…but now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law.” God has provided an alien righteousness. A righteousness that is outside of us, that fully meets God’s holy standards and is given to us as a gift. That righteousness, or right standing before God, is appropriated by faith. He uses Abraham and David as examples of such saving faith in chapter 4:1-15. In this morning’s text Paul takes that example a bit further. Our text this morning is Romans 4:16-25.
Text: Romans 4:16-25
In Romans 4:13-15 Paul makes it clear that righteousness is by faith and not by the law.
The law came 430 years after the promise which Abraham believed.
There is no way the law can invalidate or restrict the scope of the promise.
To make the promise conditioned on obedience to the law would nullify the promise.
It is clear faith brings us into God’s favor.
Faith brings us into God’s family.
The question is – what kind of faith?
What is saving faith?
Thesis: Abraham provides us the model of saving faith.
Saving faith from the perspective of popular religion is best defined by doing your best, working hard and eventually you will make it. In spite of our culture’s love for the song Amazing Grace most people think if you do your best God’s got to let you in heaven. In fact, the whole notion of justification by faith alone through God’s grace alone is deemed unacceptable. After all that would mean that no one is “deserving” of heaven. That would mean my accepting that I’m no better than the worst person on the planet. Yet that is the biblical gospel.
Paul said in Romans 3:28 – “We are saved by faith in Christ and not the good things we do.”
In Romans 4:3 he quotes Genesis 15:6 – “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
In our text Paul talks about the struggle that went on inside of Abraham as he believed God. From his example we learn three things about saving faith.
- Saving faith trusts in God and in God alone. (4:16-17)
- Saving faith honestly and realistically considers every obstacle to belief and yet continues to believe. (4:18-20)
- Saving faith has as its goal the glory of God and genuine righteousness. (4:20-22)
What is saving faith?
- Saving faith trusts in God and in God alone.
- Saving faith honestly and realistically considers every obstacle to belief and yet continues to believe.
- Saving faith has as its goal the glory of God and genuine righteousness.
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