Rom 4:1-5


Abraham is one of the most highly esteemed characters of the Jewish people.


Through men like Abraham the Jew thought he gained a measure of superiority.


He boasted “Abraham is our father”.


John 8:39

39  They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.


David was another character highly esteemed by the Jew.


Matt 22:42

42  Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.


The apostle Paul will use Abraham as an illustration of justication by faith and he will use David’s own Words as they were uttered under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God to prove his point, as we examine the first six verses of Romans chapter 4.


If we are to serve God the way He planned, we must have an anchor for our faith. 


An anchor holds the ship in place when the winds and waves blow vehemently against it.


The Word of God is our anchor.



When the winds and waves of this stormy life blast against us as an unrelenting violent hurricane our anchor will hold us on course.


Let us examine our Scripture and be strengthened there by.




Rom 4:1-2

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


A. God extends His mercy to the ungodly

Abraham was a sinner without God.  He had nothing to merit his justification.


He was a gentile, a heathen an ungodly human being just like you and me.


Rom 5:6

6    For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.


Ps 32:5

5    I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.


Prov 28:13

13  He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.


Isa 1:18

18  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.



Matt 9:12

12  But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.


Rom 5:8

8    But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.


God cannot forgive those who feel they are good enough. 


God can and will forgive those who call upon him out of a contrite heart.

A heart broken by the guilt of sin, having no hope in the world, by faith in God’s Word that He will save simply by taking God at His Word.


B. God does not honor works for justification


Rom 4:2

2    For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.


If it were possible for a man to work hard enough to get to heaven, then grace would not be needed, Christ would have died in vain.

Abraham was a sinner with nothing to offer in exchange for his soul.


Job 9:20

20  If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.


Job 14:4

4    Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.


Ps 51:5

5    Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.


Ps 143:2

2    And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.


Prov 20:9

9    Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?


Isa 64:6

6    But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.


Jer 2:22

22  For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.


Jer 13:23

23  Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.






Rom 4:3-5

3    For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

4    Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

5    But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.



Work cannot change the color of the leopards spots nor change a sinner into a saint.


Abraham could not save himself but, thank God he had a wonderful, loving, merciful heavenly Father who could save to the uttermost, by grace through faith.


Eph 2:8-9

8    For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9    Not of works, lest any man should boast.


A. Abraham’s faith stems from his belief in God’s Word


God told Abram to get him up and leave Ur of the Chaldees and get him into a land that would be shown.


Now Paul reverts to God’s Word in bringing the Jew to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.


Vs 3 What do the Scriptures say?


Gen 15:6

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


Ps 32:1-2

1    Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

2    Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.


B. Abraham’s justification is dependent on God’s grace not Abraham’s works


It was faith that caused Abraham to leave Ur not leaving that brought the faith.

Heb 11:8-10

8    By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

9    By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

10  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

C. Our debt is more than all our works could accrue.


Rom 4:4

4    Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.


If we are going to work to repay a debt then two principle come into play.


1. One must have the means to pay the debt himself


Good works are not sufficient.


The requirement to pay the sin debt is eternity in the lake of fire.


Rom 6:23

23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rev 20:14-15

14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.


Our sin debt can and will be paid.

Our sin debt cannot and will not be paid by works of righteousness.


2. Someone else can pay the debt  - grace


Abraham was justified by faith in God not by works of righteousness which he had done.








Rom 4:4-5

4    Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

5    But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.


Abraham was depending on God as he left Ur of the Chaldees and searched for that city of promise.

But, Abraham was working the whole time.




James 2:21-23

21  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.


Gen 15:6-7

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

7    And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.


Abraham believed enough to do what God asked him to do.


The works justified Abraham before men.  The faith justified Abraham before God.


How do people know if we’re saved?


By our works.


We are not save by works but we are saved unto good works.


Eph 2:10

10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.


Matt 3:8-9

8    Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

9    And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.


Rom 2:13

13  (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.


2 Cor 9:8

8    And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:


Gal 6:4

4    But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.


Col 1:10

10  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;


Titus 2:14

14  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.



Titus 3:1

1    Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,


Titus 3:8

8    This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.


Heb 10:24

24  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:


James 1:22-27

22  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

23  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

24  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

25  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

26  If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

27  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

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