Romans 4 Bible Study Guide

Romans 4

Romans 3 concludes with explaining that we are all justified by faith alone, both Jews and Gentiles.

4:1-12

1-2: If anyone should be justified by his or her works, it would be Abraham. Yet Abraham has nothing to boast about before God since obedience/good works is not what makes us right before God.

3-4: It was for his faith that God counted Abraham as righteous. If our works saved us then salvation would only be God paying us back what he owes us, just like an employer pays an employee.

5-8: Because of the gospel, it isn’t our works that save us.

9-12: The blessing of the Gospel is for everyone who believes, not just the Jews. Abraham was righteous before he was circumcised, therefore circumcision and following the law is not what saved him. Circumcision was simply a sign of the righteousness that he already had. That didn’t add anything to his righteousness and didn’t change his righteousness. Circumcision was just a sign that God had given him, thus making him the father of all who believe (both the circumcised and uncircumcised). Abraham was a gentile before he was a Jew!

Question: This was a radical section for a Law-abiding Jew. Paul says the circumcision for Abraham was a sign or seal of his faith. As Christians, what is the sign or evidence of our salvation? How do we know if we have been saved?

4:13-15

13-15: If it is those who follow the law who receive this inheritance, than righteousness is no longer based on our faith. For the law brings wrath means that because none of us can perfectly uphold the law, we all deserve to be condemned. But if our works don’t save us, if we are saved by faith, the law cannot condemn us.

Question: Faith and works are at their core fundamentally opposed to one another. Faith is believing in what God has done and not on any human performance, while works is believing in what we can do and our own performance. Knowing that, what role does following the law (or living God-honoring lives) have to play in our salvation?

4:16-25

Abraham did not give up faith when his body was as good as dead (v. 19) and he had not yet had a son.

20-25: Faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness because he believed in God. It is also the same with us; we also will be counted as righteous when we trust in God through Jesus Christ.

Question: When was a time were you saw God be faithful in your life?

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