Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


Romans 4:12-17
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 4:12
v12: And though he is genetically the physical father of all Jews, Abraham is the spiritual father only to those who have the same faith which he had when he was saved. In saying this Paul is distinguishing between Jews who are merely Abraham’s physical descendants and those who, like Abraham, are truly saved by faith. Such a distinction is not new to Paul but is evident throughout Old Testament history. In each generation it was the faithful remnant whom God considered to be His own. Though He is often seen giving care to those who are unfaithful, such care was not considered proof that they were saved but was seen as evidence of God’s faithfulness to keep the promises He had made to their ancestors.

Monday: Romans 4:13
v13: God promised several things to Abraham: He promised him a homeland for his descendants (Ge 12:1); He showed him that this homeland would be the land of Canaan (Ge 12:5-7; 13:14-18; 15:13-16, 18-21; 17:8); He promised to multiply his descendants into a great nation (Ge 12:2; 15:4, 5; 22:17) and that He would superintend over him and his family to protect them both physically and spiritually (Ge 12:3); He promised that he would be the physical father of many nations (Ge 17:1-6, 16); but the greatest promise of all was that through him God’s spiritual blessing would come to all the earth (Ge 12:3; 18:18; 22:18).

Tuesday: Romans 4:13
v13 (continued): In Galatians 3:8-18 Paul explains more fully how he views this promise. There he makes it clear that the “blessing” that God would extend through Abraham to “all the families of the earth” (Ge 12:3) is ultimately salvation and that this promise was fulfilled by Abraham himself. Abraham was the beginning of a physical family into which the Messiah would someday be born but it is the Messiah Himself whom God promised would become the “heir of the world” (1Co 15:27, 28; Eph 1:20-23). Yet there still remains a deeper dimension to this promise. Because of what the Messiah has done the fulfillment of this promise will be realized by Abraham and all who have a faith like his.

Wednesday: Romans 4:13
v13 (continued): Elsewhere in his letters Paul declares that God has given authority over all His creation to Christ and those who belong to Christ (Ro 8:32; 1Co 3:21, 22; 6:2, 3). Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Abraham and all his spiritual children also inherit the kingdom God has given to His Son (Heb 1:8-13). So when Paul calls Abraham “heir of the world” he literally means what he says, but he views him as a man joined to Christ. It is in Christ and because of Christ the he inherits this exalted position. Abraham didn’t earn the position on his own by observing religious laws or living a faultless life. Yet he shares in Christ’s inheritance because of his faith.

Thursday: Romans 4:13-15
vs13-15: There aren’t two different paths to righteousness: one which earns it by keeping God’s rules, and one which receives it by faith as a gift. And the reason is simple: the Law is unable to reach down and take the rebellion out of a person’s heart, and without this change learning the Law actually results in increasing a person’s guilt because he or she knowingly disobeys. Those who are ignorant of the Law at least break its rules without knowing that what they are doing is wrong. Their law-breaking, though it still produces death (Ro 5:12-14), is not done defiantly therefore God doesn’t hold them accountable for breaking His Laws. This doesn’t mean they didn’t sin, it means they didn’t intentionally disobey the Law, yet they aren’t innocent. Like all humans the rebellion in their hearts still separates them from God because they rebelliously violate the “light” they do have (Ro 1:18-23).

Friday: Romans 4:13-15
vs13-15 (continued): Paul earnestly wants us to see that Abraham was a man who didn’t know the Law. Circumcision wouldn’t be commanded (Ge 17:1-14) until 14 years after God pronounced him righteous (Ge 15:6), and the Law of Moses wouldn’t be revealed for another 500 years. So if keeping the Law were a prerequisite for receiving the promise Abraham himself would have been disqualified and if that were the case the promise given to him would never have taken effect. And if that had happened Abraham’s failure to receive the promise would prove that there is no such thing as the righteousness of faith. But he did receive it so his example proves just the opposite that God gives His promises to those with faith, not those who merely know the Law.

Saturday: Romans 4:16, 17
v16: Paul is trying to teach us that everything we receive from God comes because of grace. We are saved and blessed because of His kindness, not because we earn or deserve it—which means anyone who has faith can receive Abraham’s promise, not just those who are his physical descendants, but Gentiles as well. In God’s mind they become members of Abraham’s family. Abraham becomes their spiritual father and they become part of his inheritance as the “heir of the world” (v 13). v17: Paul quotes Genesis 17:5, “A father of many nations I have made you” so we will realize God always meant to include Gentiles in His great work of salvation. God’s work among the Gentiles wasn’t an accident or an afterthought, it was the fulfillment of His promise to Abraham two millennia earlier. By referring to “many nations” He meant much more than just the fact that various nations would emerge from Abraham’s descendants. He was telling him that he would be the spiritual father of believing Gentiles who would arise out of all the nations of the earth (Mt 24:14; 28:19; Mk 16:15; Ac 1:8; Rev 5:9, 10).
 


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