Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Romans 4:9-15
"Only By Faith"

[Crossposted to Street Prophets. The index for the series is here.]

I am using the Pastor's titles for these posts. The appropriate links are:

The text:

(NET) Romans 4:9 Is this blessedness12 then for13 the circumcision14 or also for15 the uncircumcision? For we say, “faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.”16 10 How then was it credited to him? Was he circumcised at the time, or not? No, he was not circumcised but uncircumcised! 11 And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised,17 so that he would become18 the father of all those who believe but have never been circumcised,19 that they too could have righteousness credited to them. 12 And he is also the father of the circumcised,20 who are not only circumcised, but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham possessed when he was still uncircumcised.21 13 For the promise22 to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not fulfilled through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if they become heirs by the law, faith is empty and the promise is nullified.23 15 For the law brings wrath, because where there is no law there is no transgression24 either.

Notes:

12 tn Or “happiness.”
13 tn Grk “upon.”
14 sn
See the note on “circumcision” in 2:25.
15 tn Grk “upon.”
16 sn A quotation from
Gen 15:6.
17 tn Grk “of the faith, the one [existing] in uncircumcision.”
18 tn Grk “that he might be,” giving the purpose of v. 11a.
19 tn Grk “through uncircumcision.”
20 tn Grk “the father of circumcision.”
21 tn Grk “the ‘in-uncircumcision faith’ of our father Abraham.”

22 sn Although a singular noun, the promise is collective and does not refer only to
Gen 12:7, but as D. Moo (Romans 1–8 [WEC], 279) points out, refers to multiple aspects of the promise to Abraham: multiplied descendants (Gen 12:2), possession of the land (Gen 13:15-17), and his becoming the vehicle of blessing to all people (Gen 12:13).

23 tn Grk “rendered inoperative.”
24 tn Or “violation.”

Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.

My Comments: Carl started by pointing to this story in Matthew 8:
Healing the Centurion’s Servant

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him asking for help: “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible anguish.” Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Instead, just say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I say to this one, ‘Go’ and he goes, and to another ‘Come’ and he comes, and to my slave ‘Do this’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found such faith in anyone in Israel! I tell you, many will come from the east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; just as you believed, it will be done for you.” And the servant was healed at that hour.

Here, as Paul keeps hammering at in this section of Romans, Jesus points out that it is faith that will bring people to Abraham's table in Heaven - and will bring them there from the gentiles as well as the Jews. Also, by lack of faith, some Jews will not be at that table. Carl lists these reasons why Paul keeps stressing over and over again that God makes people “right” with Him - by grace through faith:
  1. Exalt His Son Jesus as the only sufficient sacrifice and object of faith. (3:24-26)
  2. Eliminate all human boasting (and glorify God’s mercy and grace). (3:27-28)
  3. Enable people to experience the proper place of works and acts of obedience. (4:1-5)
  4. Love and bless people – with forgiveness of sins and imputed righteousness. (4:6-8)
  5. Open the way for all people to become true children of Abraham. (4:9-15)
Going Deeper:
  1. Look at Genesis 15:6. How would you explain that to someone else? What does it mean for us today?
  2. How do you understand “sign” and “seal” in Romans 4:11?
  3. Why is God more glorified—if salvation is only by grace through faith?
  4. What does it look like for you—today—to “walk in the footsteps of faith” like Abraham did?

Next: 4:16-17 -- "The Promise Comes by Faith"

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How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly

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