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God’s Gospel
Pertaining to Christ

Romans 4
Part I

Romans 4:1
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

We will begin with the figure of speech synecdoche which is the exchange of one idea for another associated idea. In this verse “found” is put for received. Also, the Greek preposition kata is translated “pertaining.” There are times when kata is used, and it refers to the proportion of a thing and that fits better in this context. Consider the Coneybeare and Howson translation of 1857.

Romans 4:1
What then can we say that our father Abraham gained [kata] by the fleshly ordinance?
Coneybeare/ Howson

The essence of this verse is, “What can we say that our father Abraham gained [kata] or received [figure synecdoche] through the flesh.”

Chapter four of Romans is going to have a discussion about how to receive the righteousness of God. How did Abraham receive his righteousness? Was it by the works of the flesh or by grace through believing?

Man likes to tout his accomplishments, even to the point of embellishment. We think we have to earn things from the One True and Living God. Why? Because every pagan god the Adversary presented to humanity required personal works to receive. First, we have been taught incorrectly and second, we enjoy boasting about “our” accomplishments.

Romans 4:2-3
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Romans 4:2-3
For, if Abraham was justified by works, he has a ground of boasting. But he has no ground of boasting with God; for what says the Scripture: “Abraham had faith in God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness.”
Coneybeare and Howson

“For” is the Greek conjunction gar, we are going to get a further explanation.

But first, I want you to notice justification comes before the righteousness of God. 
Why is that important? What is Justification? 

Then, the Greek word kauchema is translated glory. It is better translated boast.

Jeremiah 9:23-24
Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

The Hebrew word halal is translated “glory” five times in these two verses. It is better translated boast, it is defined by Blue Letter Bible as, “to boast, glory, make one’s boast.” If you are going to boast boast that you consider and know by experience that I am the Lord God who produces mercy, justice, and righteousness in the earth…

Romans 5:1-2
Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice [boast] in hope of the glory of God.

We boast in hope! We boast in the return of our Lord and savior. We boast in the glory of God! The end of Romans chapter 3 and then chapter 4 show us how we receive justification. While Romans 5 will begin to show us the fruit, the result of justification.

Justified “by faith” is ek pistis, in English out of believing we have peace with God through (dia – by means of, genitive case) our Lord Jesus Christ. Out of our believing in Jesus as Lord (as in Romans 10:9-10) we are justified, and the result of that justification is peace with God. No longer are we separated from the presence of God (our inheritance from the first Adam), we have been reconciled by means of the accomplished work of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is chapter 5 verse one.

By (dia – again the genitive case = by means of) whom (our Lord Jesus Christ) we have access (prosagoge – only used three times in the New Testament). Prosagoge is a leading in, an intimate introduction. All three occurrences of this word show an introduction to God. I picture my Lord Jesus Christ, walking side by side with me, his hand gently resting on my back as he brings me into God’s living room and the presence of my Heavenly Father. But the verse says grace! What is grace? God is grace! Wherein we stand (histemi – firm, fixed, set) and rejoice or boast in the hope of our Lord’s return, the glory of God.

To prove his point in Romans chapter 4 Paul turned to the scriptures. The scriptures are always the place to turn for an accurate answer, for accurate knowledge.

Genesis 15:6
And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

“Counted is the Hebrew word hasab and it means to impute, to think, to reckon. It is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek word logizomai. The word “in” was translated with the word Lord and is unnecessary. Abraham believed the Lord, he believed God.

Romans 4:3, the word “counted” is logizomai. Logizomai is used 41 times in the New Testament, and 11 of those times are in Romans chapter 4. The definition of logizomai, like hasab, is to impute or to reckon, to reason as in thinking. We get our English word logic from logizomai. Logizomai is how the mind reasons and arrives at a logical conclusion.

Now, Romans 4:3 also begins with the Greek conjunction gar. What did the scripture say? In Genesis 15:6, Abraham believed God and it was hasab, counted unto him for righteousness.

God told Abram that he would have a child of his own and he told him to count the stars and God said, number the stars, “so shall your seed be.” And Abram believed God. Therefore, because Abram believed, God counted, (Hebrew word hasab, equal to the Greek word logizomai, (imputed, or reckoned, reasoned) Abram as righteous.

God could not make Abram righteous at that moment because the “seed of the woman” had not yet come and accomplished what he needed to accomplish. Therefore, God accounted or reckoned Abram as righteous. God treated him or interacted with him as though he was righteous. It was in his bank account, so to speak, waiting for him to receive his righteousness at the resurrection unto life, also called the resurrection of the Just, the justified.

Romans 4:23-24
Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

These things about Abraham were written for our learning, our edification. However, this is not just about Abraham; it is also about us. It is how we receive justification; it is about the results of justification we have in our lives. If you are still an unbeliever and you hear these words or read these words, this is telling you HOW to receive justification from God

Romans 10:9-10
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Remember what I asked you to notice earlier. Justification precedes righteousness. From Romans 3:21 to Romans 5:11 God deals with our justification, what God did FOR us. Then God will go into our righteousness beginning in Romans 5:12. But first, first it is important that we understand our justification. What is it? How do we receive it? What is its benefit to us?

Romans 3:24-25
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [the payment] through faith [believing] in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

Justification is the removal of all trespasses and sins, the removal of the guilty verdict against us because of sin. Because of sin we were worthy of death. Because of sin we were separated from God, on the outside looking in. By our “own” works we had earned death! Recognize also that justified is in the present tense. It will remain in the present tense tomorrow, and all of the tomorrows until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. Just as it has remained in the present tense since 57 A.D. when Paul sent the epistle to the Romans. This should remove all consciousness of sin and condemnation in the mind of the one who has believed. You stand acquitted before the Just judge, every day, it is a present tense continuous reality!

Why is this important? It removes that which separates us from God. People work so hard for their justification, and it will never come to pass by our works, that is the opening of Romans chapter four. What did Abraham gain by his works of the flesh? Nothing!

Growing up I went to a Catholic school. After each subject the sister, otherwise called a nun, would have one of us children, (normally a girl, you could not trust a boy with a blackboard eraser in his hand), clean the blackboard by erasing the notes she had on the blackboard. We were never really cleaning the blackboard; we were just spreading the chalk dust around to the rest of the blackboard. By the end of the day the blackboard was a mess of chalk dust from one end to the other. But each morning when we arrived at school the blackboard was completely clean from one end to the other. Not clean as when the children spread the chalk dust around but completely and utterly clean, free of all chalk dust.

Under the Mosaic Law God could only erase the blackboard of their sins because the Messiah had not yet come and accomplished his work. But in the Administration of Grace Christ has already come and has fulfilled, he has accomplished fulfilling the Law and God could do what the sister had done with the blackboard. God could completely clean our lives of trespasses and sins. Not just covered as under the Law of Moses, but now completely clean, free from sin. The question about sin is answered in the life of one who has believed God. For God has set His son’s sacrifice, the shedding of his blood, his death, as payment.

You will also want to consider why God used two different Greek words, apolytrosis and exagorazo, to describe redemption. We will not go there in this teaching, but it is an amazing truth in God’s Word concerning identification in Christ and God’s redemption.

Romans 6:22-23
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I included verse 22 because verse 23 begins with the Greek word gar. “Free” is the Greek word eleuthero and it means to set at liberty from the dominion of, which in this case is sin. We are set free from the power of sin. But what sin did Abram have since he lived in a time when there was no law?

Romans 5:13
(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Romans 4:15
Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

Acts 14:16
Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.

Acts 17:30
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

However, Abram, like all of humanity, still carried the likeness of the first Adam.

Genesis 5:1-3
This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth:

This begins the generations of Adam, which refers to all of humanity. The essence of the end of verse 1 is, “…God made Adam in the likeness of God.” The likeness of God is the imprint God made upon the soul life of humanity of his characteristics, His virtues. Later, in the Old Testament, this is referred to as the spirit of man. The Fall of Mankind Adam and Eve: Duties, Responsibilities, Purpose. This previous teaching will discuss, in part, God’s likeness imprinted upon the body and soul life of man. 

What God created in man, meaning both Adam and Eve, was His image, His gift of holy spirit, and His likeness, godly characteristics imprinted upon the body and soul of man. This is man before he falls (Genesis 1:26-27). This imprint is what makes man God hungry. We search for fellowship. We seek another who has those same virtues. As Adam had named the animals, discovering there was none like himself. We seek that which we intrinsically feel inside.

Genesis 2:22-23
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

Notice the connection between God and Adam. Before Adam names her woman in verse 23. God identifies her as woman in verse 22. God’s gift of holy spirit is that connection.

This is the figure of speech ampliatio, a retaining of an old name. Woman is the female Hebrew word, ishah, of man, ish. Some Lexicons define woman as the opposite of man, but God called her a help meet (Genesis 2:18), one who helps, assists, and supports. In order to help a woman must be equal in intellect, power, and her connection with God. Now it is up to every individual to believe what man writes or what God has said. The Hebrew word ezer, translated “help meet” in Genesis 2 is used 21 times in the Old Testament, at least 16 refer to God helping an individual or the Nation of Israel.

Remember, the woman was not called Eve until after the fall. In Genesis chapters 1 and 2, Adam was the man and she who had come out of him was called the woman. 

Then Genesis 5:3 shows us humanity is in the image and likeness of Adam. The likeness of Adam is one of disobedience and rebellion since he rejected what God had given. This gives the likeness of God a competing likeness in the mind of man. The likeness of Adam, fueled by the Adversary’s influence and power in the world, will work toward corrupting the spirit of man, or the conscious God imprinted upon the soul life of man.

Romans 5:12
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so, death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 

All of this is to say, even without the Mosaic Law, Abram had need of justification before God could reckon, or impute, or reason Abram as righteous. Some have called this the “Original sin.” I understand the phrase but to the best of my knowledge God never uses that phrase. However, from one generation to the next generation man’s separation from God continues, man’s fall from the Kingdom of God continues, man’s absence of God’s gift of holy spirit by nature continues, the Adversary’s dominion over the earth and man continues to each generation that is in the image and likeness of the first Adam.

In Dr. E.W. Bullinger’s book The Witness of The Stars God’s plan of redemption, reconciliation, and the ultimate victory of the seed of the woman is declared. But what is sin, is not declared in what God had written in the stars. It is not until the Mosaic Law that God shows Israel what is sin and the consequences of sin.

Romans 4:4-5
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith [believing] is counted [logizomai] for [eis = unto] righteousness.

Romans 4:4-5
Now if a man earn his pay by his work, it is not reckoned to him as a favor, but it is paid to him as a debt; but if he earns nothing by his work, but puts faith in Him who justifies the ungodly, then his faith is “reckoned to him for righteousness.”
Conybeare and Howson

Picture yourself out in the ocean. No land in sight, no ships in sight. You are just treading water hour after hour, day after day. There are many others out there with you most are treading water like you. But some have jumped into a small rowboat. You have tried a small rowboat or two in your time, but they are more work than treading water and do not get you anywhere. Others have climbed on board a motorboat, but again where will they replace their fuel. So, ultimately, a larger rowboat! 

Finally, you see a large ship on the horizon. It is bathed in light, it has so much extra power it has lights on! You begin to swim toward the vessel, it is hard work, the current is against you. Others, even family, pull at you. Beg you to stop wasting your efforts. Those around you, even some friends ask why? Why put forth so much effort for a ship you will never reach, but even if you did reach it, you would never be able to board such a huge ship.

Believing is work! Hard work, harder for some than for others. But God ask’s you to believe unto; to confess unto and then He will take care of the rest by His grace, His unmerited favor. You believe “unto” the ship and God does the rest by His grace and mercy.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

“For” (gar), “all” (pas) both Judean and Gentile, even everyone since God removed man from the Garden, “have sinned” (hamartano) to miss the mark, to be mistaken. Honestly, I did not just miss the mark, the bullseye, I did not even hit the target! Everyone has missed the mark on their own. Everyone has “come short” (hystereo) to fail, to be lacking or be in want of the “glory” (doxa) of God. 

Matthew 19:20
The young man saith unto him, all these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack (hystereo) I yet?

He still lacked it because he was convinced, he could do it without Christ. Read the full account in Matthew 19:16-22. Without Christ you will always lack, you will always fall short of the glory of God.

John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

“Of the glory of God” is the figure of speech antimereia, the exchange of one part of speech for another. “Glory” is the Greek word doxa and it means the perfection required. The perfection required by God. Where do we get our perfection required by God to stand in His presence? To receive His righteousness?

Remember, verse 23 began with the Greek conjunction gar, a further explanation. It is a further explanation of verse 22.

Romans 3:22
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith [pistis] of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe [pisteuo]: for there is no difference:

“And upon all” is not in the oldest Critical Greek texts. 

Pistis is the noun and pisteuo is the verb. The righteousness of God which is by (dia) or through the believing [pistis] of Jesus Christ unto all of those who believe [pisteuo] in the accomplished work of our Lord Jesus (Romans 10:9-10). 

The word pistis, a noun, is generally translated faith. The word pisteuo, a verb, is generally translated believe. To break these words down a little further and more accurately, we need to take into account the context in which they are used.

Let’s talk about a ball. Now if I say, he pitched a fastball at 103 miles per hour. I bet I met the definition you were holding in your mind when I said let’s talk about a ball. The words “pitched” and “fastball” gave ball the context to understand what I was saying. However, every four years, in January there is an Inaugural Ball for the new President. Now your definition may have been incorrect at first, but the context gave you the proper understanding.

Now, in Romans 3:22 the believing of Jesus Christ is more accurately understood as the accomplished believing of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ believed God with each action he took and every word he spoke. He believed God completely or perfectly. He accomplished believing God from the beginning to the end.

Consider for a moment the “glory of God” in Romans 3:23. The glory, the perfection required by God. Everyone has missed the mark, all of us are lacking in our own lives. All of us are in the image and likeness of Adam.

Hebrews 12:1
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Hebrews chapter 11 is filled with great examples of men and women that took God at His Word and believed Him. But only one believed God completely and fully, that is Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:2
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

“Looking” is the Greek word aphorao. It is a compound Greek word consisting of the prefix apo which means out from or away from and the stem horao which means to look at, to fix your eyes on. Therefore, we are being told to look away from other things and fix our eyes on Jesus “the author and finisher of our faith…”

The word “our” has no corresponding Greek word, the translators added it, therefore it should be removed. If he had taken care of my believing, why does God still ask me to believe? Common sense. God expects us to use our common sense. 

“Faith” is the Greek word pistis and should be translated believe. The Greek word translated “author” is archegos and means the beginning, while the Greek word teleiotes, from the root telos is translated finisher and it means finishes, completes, accomplishes, or perfects.

Hebrews chapter 11 has many examples of men and women that believed God. But none of them believed God completely, meaning all the way through their life, in every situation and with every word they uttered. Only Jesus Christ believed completely.

John 4:34
Jesus saith unto them, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

The Greek word for “meat” is broma and it means food. Consider his temptations by the Devil in Matthew 4:2-4 and Luke 4:2-4. Both, Matthew and Luke, have Jesus quoting Deuteronomy 8:3.

John 5:30
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

The understood comparison should always be as it is in God’s Word, the first Adam and the last Adam. What one failed to do, the other was sent to accomplish. As Adam should have continuously returned to the Tree of Life for knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, Jesus chose to follow the example of his Father. Romans 5:12-21, 1 Corinthians 15:22,45.

John 6:38
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

How did he come down from heaven? Always remember the comparison is between the first Adam and the “second” or last Adam. 

The first Adam was formed and made by God alone, no others were necessary. The last Adam was formed and made using the process God incorporated in the body of the woman in Genesis chapter one. God, using this process created in Mary’s womb a fertilized egg, God supplying all genetic material Himself (Luke 1:26-38).

In Genesis chapters 1 and 2 Adam was perfect with pure blood (Leviticus 17:11). In Genesis chapter 3 when Adam sinned his blood was corrupted (Romans 6:23a). The last Adam was required to also begin with pure blood. (Matthew 27:4, Hebrews 9:14, 1 Peter 1:19). Jesus Christ was without sin (John 14:30). This is why the temporary sacrifice of an animal required the animal to be without spot and without blemish (Exodus 12:5).

John 10:30
I and my Father are one.

“One” heis in the Greek, the word for the number one. Dr. E.W. Bullinger, in his book Numbers in Scripture, Part II says, “There can be no doubt as to the significance of this primary number. In all languages it is the symbol of unity.” God and Jesus had unity of purpose.

John 14:9
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?

His “meat,” his food was every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God. He went to the words of God for every situation he encountered and placed himself under those words (Hebrews 5:8 hypakoe). God and Jesus had unity of purpose, the redemption and salvation of humanity. He was the image of the invisible God (2 Corinthians 4:4, Hebrews 1:3). If everything you do is a reflection of another then when you have seen one, you have also seen the other.

You could look around you and see the Creator (Romans 1:20). But Jesus said, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” What is the Father? He always acts in love for his child, no matter the circumstances. The Father instructs his child in the right way of life and living. When the child is wrong, He offers correction with understanding. He moves with compassion or mercy and forgives, with patience and longsuffering. The Father demonstrates his authority and power by holding off the consequences of the mistake as long as He can (forbearance). All of these are some of what the Father gives by grace to his child. 

What do you see in the life of Jesus that shows you the Father? The One who formed and made humanity.

Jesus Christ was a man. Not like you and not like me, and not in the likeness spoken of Adam in Genesis 5:3. He read God’s Word and then with complete comprehension unfolded the scriptures. Consider John 1:18. The Greek word for “declared” is exegeomai and it means to unfold, to clarify, to explain. Jesus led Israel into a clear, and complete, comprehension of God’s words, showing all the true heart of their Heavenly Father.

Jesus believed God completely. He is the only one who has believed God every step through his life. Jesus Christ accomplished believing God from beginning to the end, when he declared from the cross, “It is finished.” Yes, our redemption was finished and so was his life of believing God. He had accomplished what no other had ever accomplished, he accomplished what no other since Adam could accomplish. He believed God perfectly.

Galatians 2:16
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

This verse uses pistis twice and pisteuo once. The first is the accomplished believing of Jesus Christ. It is also a genitive of origin. This means you could translate it the accomplished believing originating from Jesus Christ. The works of the Law does not justify anyone. Why? Because it would then be by our works, giving us a right to boast. Our justification is by God’s grace. 

The second is pisteuo our believing in Jesus as in Romans 10:9-10. 

Then the second occurrence of pistis. Notice the name Jesus is missing. God is sending us to the use of the genitive case. Here it is a genitive of relation and should be handled as our believing pertaining to Christ.

Galatians 2:16
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the accomplished believing originating from Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the believing pertaining to Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

We are in Galatians because Galatians is the correction epistle for failure to walk in the right doctrine given in the epistle to the Romans. The Galatians, because of fear instilled in their minds by religious zealots, turned to the works of the Law to earn their own righteousness.

Remember Romans 3:22-23. Verse 22 the righteousness of God by or through the accomplished believing of Jesus Christ to all who believe. Verse 23, because all of us, Judean and Gentile, have missed the mark (sinned) and come short (lacking) of the glory (the perfection required) by God.

What we did not do, what we could not do, Jesus Christ did!

Galatians 2:21
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

“Frustrate” is the Greek word atheteo and it means to nullify, to reject, to refuse the grace of God. Sounds like Adam in the Garden. Do you want to stand, to be identified, with the first Adam or the last Adam? Like the Galatians of yesterday, how many today have allowed the orthodoxy to scare them into following the Law to earn what God has already given by His grace.

Jesus Christ earned his way into heaven by always doing the will of God. Now, by God’s grace, when I believe what God has said about His son, I am identified in the accomplished believing of Jesus Christ.

Romans 4 
Part II

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God's Gospel Series