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  • Question about Romans 4

    Romans 4:2 For is abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before GOD.

    What exactly are the works paul is talking about?

    I really romans 4,5,&6 one of my favorites. I know Paul is talking about being "justified by faith but not by law" What law(s) is Paul exactly talking about as well?
    I'm astounded, bewildered, confused, baffled when people tell me there are 75 million people in America that are filled with the Holy Ghost and we're the most rotten nation on earth. "Leonard Ravenhill"

  • #2
    I think he is talking about all the work Abraham did throughout his lifetime, also when he says "not under the law" he means that you are justified by the faith you have in Christ and not under like the Ten Commandments I believe.
    Jesus Christ is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

    Soli Deo Gloria!


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    • #3
      Originally posted by Gentile View Post
      Romans 4:2 For is abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before GOD.

      What exactly are the works paul is talking about?

      I really romans 4,5,&6 one of my favorites. I know Paul is talking about being "justified by faith but not by law" What law(s) is Paul exactly talking about as well?
      The Scripture does not say Abraham was justified by works. It says "For If Abraham were justified by works." Abraham was not justified by works, he was justified by faith. Look at verse 3. Abraham was justified by faith.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Reynolds357 View Post
        The Scripture does not say Abraham was justified by works. It says "For If Abraham were justified by works." Abraham was not justified by works, he was justified by faith. Look at verse 3. Abraham was justified by faith.
        Great answer! Context is always so very important.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Reynolds357 View Post
          The Scripture does not say Abraham was justified by works. It says "For If Abraham were justified by works." Abraham was not justified by works, he was justified by faith. Look at verse 3. Abraham was justified by faith.
          Yes, we can find the same in Hebrews 11.

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          • #6
            Romans has to be read as a whole book. It is very difficult to discern with any certainty anything that Paul is discussing because we are removed from the social, political, and religious context. The most common answer that I've heard is that Paul is talking about circumcision and other types of covental nomism that define Jews by ritual.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Gentile View Post
              Romans 4:2 For is abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before GOD.

              What exactly are the works paul is talking about?

              I really romans 4,5,&6 one of my favorites. I know Paul is talking about being "justified by faith but not by law" What law(s) is Paul exactly talking about as well?
              The law Paul speaks of is in relation to physical descent. Abraham's faith is what made him righteous. He was living by faith when he was 75 and wasn't circumcised until he was 99 yrs old. He was the father of Gentiles who live by faith before he became the father of faithful Jews.

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              • #8
                Christians are not justified by faith alone. There must be the fruit of that faith manifested as things the Christians does (actions/works).
                Even initially, when a person accepts Jesus, there must be the acceptance of repentance, which is a work. There must be the acceptance of the understanding that Christ's death was a substitute death for themselves individually, which is the same as saying they must believe that Jesus died for them. Believing is regarded as a work.
                Justified means being right with God. Unless a person has accepted God's means of forgiveness through accepting the correct understanding of Jesus' death for them then they are not justified; they are not right with God.
                Hence, taking Rom. 4 to mean that a Christian's eternal destiny is not in any way determined by what he does as a Christian is blasphemous.
                Rom. 8 declares to Christians that if they live after the flesh they shall die. Eternal life is dependent on walking after the Spirit, which is a work, but not of themselves lest they should boast, for it is His Spirit working in true believers that enables them to abstain from fleshly lusts.
                Rom. 4 is comparing the old system with the new. Both systems require works. Paul is saying that Abraham was not justified by the old system's works, (Moses' system).
                The NT declares that Abraham was in fact justified or had a right standing with God in His time in the same manner that a Christian today is justified; by works and faith. Not by faith alone.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Alaska View Post
                  Christians are not justified by faith alone. There must be the fruit of that faith manifested as things the Christians does (actions/works).
                  Even initially, when a person accepts Jesus, there must be the acceptance of repentance, which is a work. There must be the acceptance of the understanding that Christ's death was a substitute death for themselves individually, which is the same as saying they must believe that Jesus died for them. Believing is regarded as a work.
                  Justified means being right with God. Unless a person has accepted God's means of forgiveness through accepting the correct understanding of Jesus' death for them then they are not justified; they are not right with God.
                  Hence, taking Rom. 4 to mean that a Christian's eternal destiny is not in any way determined by what he does as a Christian is blasphemous.
                  Rom. 8 declares to Christians that if they live after the flesh they shall die. Eternal life is dependent on walking after the Spirit, which is a work, but not of themselves lest they should boast, for it is His Spirit working in true believers that enables them to abstain from fleshly lusts.
                  Rom. 4 is comparing the old system with the new. Both systems require works. Paul is saying that Abraham was not justified by the old system's works, (Moses' system).
                  The NT declares that Abraham was in fact justified or had a right standing with God in His time in the same manner that a Christian today is justified; by works and faith. Not by faith alone.
                  To put it bluntly, you are wrong. We aren't saved by faith plus works we are saved by faith that produces works. It is the faith that Justifies us and the process of Sanctification is what brings out the good works. Don't confuse these two or make them one and the same. They are different but go hand in hand, meaning you can't have one without the other.

                  If somebody has faith then that faith will produce good works but it's the faith that saves you not the product of the faith, the good works.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Reynolds357 View Post
                    The Scripture does not say Abraham was justified by works. It says "For If Abraham were justified by works." Abraham was not justified by works, he was justified by faith. Look at verse 3. Abraham was justified by faith.
                    But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 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? James 2:20-22 (KJV)
                    Abraham was justified by obedient faith (faith + obedience) – a faith that obeyed God…”By faith Abraham…obeyed…”
                    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. Hebrews 11:8 (KJV)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gentile View Post
                      Romans 4:2 For is abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before GOD.

                      What exactly are the works paul is talking about?

                      I really romans 4,5,&6 one of my favorites. I know Paul is talking about being "justified by faith but not by law" What law(s) is Paul exactly talking about as well?
                      Greetings Gentile.

                      I have a lot to say in regard to your OP, but I'd rather keep it simple. To understand the works Paul is speaking to, consider verse 1 of the context;

                      Rom 4:1
                      4 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?
                      NKJV

                      What is meant by "according to the flesh"? "According to the flesh" modifies "works" in verse 2. Thus, Paul is speaking to "works" "according to the flesh". These "works" do not justify men, but rather they provide for man to boast in them. These "works" are not the "works" referred to by James (James 2:22-24).

                      Now, consider this passage;

                      Gen 22:18
                      18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."
                      NKJV

                      Why is it written, "because you have obeyed"? Why not, "because you have believed"? Probably because they mean the same thing; "obedient faith."

                      As to your second question, what law is Paul speaking to? Well, he is not speaking to the Law of Moses, for Abraham was never amenable to it. In fact, he was justified before his circumcision, Romans 4:9-12. The law being discussed is the law of faith, Romans 3:27. And this law is given to both the circumcised and the uncircumcised, both Jew and Gentile.

                      Jake
                      Jake

                      What does the bible say?

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                      • #12
                        The works that James says we are justified by (along with the faith manifested by the NT) are different works than what Paul is referring to in Romans, which works do not justify.

                        Please read the above statement again.

                        These different works, (the ones that do justify and the ones that do not justify) can be illustrated by comparing the works of an unbeliever with the works of a believer.
                        Let's say both the believer and the unbeliever do not steal. The good work from both of them is that they do not steal, which is a righteous thing to do.
                        The unbeliever is not right with God (justified) for doing this righteous thing because he has not accepted the payment for his sins in Christ. His sins are still held against him.
                        The believer on the other hand because he has received forgiveness of sins through faith in and obedience to Jesus and has been changed from within by the power of regeneration by the Holy Ghost; to this person we can apply what James said as it pertains to believers; that a man is justified by works and faith. Our right standing with God (being justified) is not only by the faith that we hold but also by the works that that faith produces. How can a man claim to be right with God by faith and yet not do what that faith requires?
                        Do you see how that by works a Christian is justified and not by faith alone?
                        Paul's words are wrested as Peter said. In Romans and Galatians Paul is comparing the old system with the new system. For example the OT ordinance of physical circumcision, which is not required in the NT. A person can become circumcised and keep the moral obligations like not stealing yet they still have need of forgiveness through the only means provided for by God: Jesus.
                        A born-again Christian's obedience to the necessary things of the NT cannot be regarded as filthy rags. Obedience should rather be understood to be "The Lord Our righteousness". Christians are the body of Christ.
                        Could the righteousness seen in Jesus, full of grace and truth, be rightly called filthy rags while he walked in the flesh among men? I trow not. Then the righteousness performed by his body now cannot be called filthy rags but rather God in Christians, the hope of Glory. The blasphemy of calling obedience by Christians "filthy rags" must stop.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Alaska View Post
                          The works that James says we are justified by (along with the faith manifested by the NT) are different works than what Paul is referring to in Romans, which works do not justify.

                          Please read the above statement again.

                          These different works, (the ones that do justify and the ones that do not justify) can be illustrated by comparing the works of an unbeliever with the works of a believer.
                          Let's say both the believer and the unbeliever do not steal. The good work from both of them is that they do steal, which is a righteous thing to do.
                          The unbeliever is not right with God (justified) for doing this righteous thing because he has not accepted the payment for his sins in Christ. His sins are still held against him.
                          The believer on the other hand because he has received forgiveness of sins through faith in and obedience to Jesus and has been changed from within by the power of regeneration by the Holy Ghost; to this person we can apply what James said as it pertains to believers; that a man is justified by works and faith. Our right standing with God (being justified) is not only by the faith that we hold but also by the works that that faith produces. How can a man claim to be right with God by faith and yet not do what that faith requires?
                          Do you see how that by works a Christian is justified and not by faith alone?
                          Paul's words are wrested as Peter said. In Romans and Galatians Paul is comparing the old system with the new system. For example the OT ordinance of physical circumcision, which is not required in the NT. A person can become circumcised and keep the moral obligations like not stealing yet they still have need of forgiveness through the only means provided for by God: Jesus.
                          A born-again Christian's obedience to the necessary things of the NT cannot be regarded as filthy rags. Obedience should rather be understood to be "The Lord Our righteousness". Christians are the body of Christ.
                          Could the righteousness seen in Jesus, full of grace and truth, be rightly called filthy rags while he walked in the flesh among men? I trow not. Then the righteousness performed by his body now cannot be called filthy rags but rather God in Christians, the hope of Glory. The blasphemy of calling obedience by Christians "filthy rags" must stop.
                          Thanks for clarifying this up. You are right but it's important to stress that once you have the faith then you are sealed regardless of the works this faith produces. If the faith is true faith then it will produce good works and that's how people can tell if a person is saved. It's two sides of the same coin, it's cause and effect. The cause saves you not the effects that follow.
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                          • #14
                            By works a man (a Christian) is justified and not by faith alone.

                            "The cause saves you not the effects that follow"
                            Is that like telling a soldier that it is his gun that keeps him alive and not the bullets?
                            I think we should simply accept the good counsel of the word and not split things up that cannot be split. Justification for the Christian is by faith and works as the Word declares.
                            Two sides of the same coin is fitting, yet you declare in a sense that when buying something with that coin only one side is paying.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Alaska View Post
                              By works a man (a Christian) is justified and not by faith alone.

                              "The cause saves you not the effects that follow"
                              Is that like telling a soldier that it is his gun that keeps him alive and not the bullets?
                              I think we should simply accept the good counsel of the word and not split things up that cannot be split. Justification for the Christian is by faith and works as the Word declares.
                              Two sides of the same coin is fitting, yet you declare in a sense that when buying something with that coin only one side is paying.
                              Well now you are just confusing me. What you are saying here is just wrong. It seems you are saying that faith is not enough to be saved and that one must perform good works to be saved. Is this what you believe? If this is true then what constitutes the good works and how many must be done to guarantee salvation?

                              It seems you believe salvation is a process and not an instant declaration from God. If you believe this then you are joining Justification and Sanctification together. They are different but they go hand in hand. They are separate things but you can't have one without the other. When somebody has faith in Christ then he is declared Justified by God and his entrance into heaven is sealed. If that person died an hour later then he would enter heaven. When one is justified then the Holy Spirit dwells the believer and begins the process of Sanctification that will only end when the person dies and is glorified in heaven. Sanctification always comes after Justification, it isn't joined with it so that you make salvation a process.

                              So please, if you would, clarify your view more. When a person has faith in Christ, according to you, are they saved? Even if they haven't had the chance to perform a good work? If not, then how many good works must they do to be guaranteed entrance into heaven?
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