|Romans 4:3-11 |
3 For what does the scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness."[Abraham did not just believe that there was one most high God, he believed the words that God spoke to him enough to obey Him; that is believing in God, at least as defined in this book. A belief that Jesus is the Son of God is a belief in history, or Bible-faith. Similarly then, to believe in Jesus, as Paul has defined Abraham's belief, is to believe the words we hear Jesus speak to us; that is also faith as the Bible defines it in Romans, hearing the word of God in your heart so that you may obey it, Rom10:8,17, and believing. So Paul says that belief and faith mean hearing the Word of God speak to you from your heart and believing God or believing Jesus. You might be saying to yourself: "well if God told me to do something like he did Abraham, of course I would do it." From the Word of the Lord within: "Abraham willingly exposed himself to God's commands. " So too we must wait on God, watch, and silently listen for His commands to us, and then we must believe His words and obey them, just like Abraham did. From the Word of the Lord within: "Wait, expose yourself to His commands, and hear. Only the faith-that-frees imparts righteousness."]
4 Now to him who [does] works, the wages are not measured by grace, but as a debt for the works.
5 But to him who works not, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous, his faith is counted for righteousness.1[To believe in the one who declares the ungodly righteous, is to believe the words you hear God or Jesus speak to you, just as Abraham believed God in verse 3 above; otherwise, you will stay ungodly and die in your sins to be banned from heaven. We start ungodly, God reveals the sins in our heart, and then He removes them by his grace. By grace he teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and how to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, Tit 2:12 — thus the ungodly becomes godly. Only God can make an ungodly man godly by His cleansing, washing, purifying, grace. The faith that is counted for righteousness is the faith that Christ authors and is received along with the fruit of the Spirit, which occurs after you have crucified your sinful lusts and affections on the inward cross of self-denial.]
6 Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, to whom God imputes righteousness without works, [The imputed righteousness of Christ only comes to you after death of your selfish spirit on the inward cross of self-denial, when you receive faith with the fruit of the Spirit, against which is no law, to then walk in love, obeying the continuous commands of Christ. Until then we through the Spirit, by faith, patiently wait for the hope of righteousness, Gal. 5:5.]
9 Does this blessedness then come only upon those who are circumcised, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham as righteousness.
10 Then when and how was it accounted? After he was circumcised or before circumcision? Not after he was circumcised, but while he was uncircumcised.
11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith that he had received while still uncircumcised; that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are not circumcised; so that righteousness might be imputed to them also.
1 to him who works not, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous, his faith is counted for righteousness. This is a case of translation error. Most Bibles are translated to say: to him who works not, but believes in the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness. The Greek word in the Net Bible is dikaiwyentev, (1344) of which the root is dikaioo, and most commonly means to render righteous. "Just" is very remote in the choices for the translators, but they took it. This verse is simply restating the imputed righteousness of Christ that comes to you only after the death of your selfish spirit on the inward cross of self-denial, when you receive faith with the fruit of the Spirit, against which is no law, to then walk in love, obeying the continuous commands of Christ. Until then we through the Spirit, by faith, patiently wait for the hope of righteousness, Gal. 5:5. See Footnote 2 in Romans 3 for the details of imputed righteousness. Faith within justifies; faith within purifies.
Isaac Penington writes of the impossibility of God justifying the ungodly in his Holy Truth Defended:
God justifies no man as ungodly; but calls upon men to repent, and turn from their ungodliness, and he will have mercy upon them, justify and save them. Now men are not ungodly after turning from their ungodliness, but changed; and so their state is in some measure changed before justified. If Abraham was ungodly when God called upon him; yet in forsaking his own country, and following the Lord, and offering up his son, he was obedient, and not ungodly, and in that obedience he was justified. A man may have notions of justification in his mind, and accordingly think himself to be justified, when he is not; but there is no man justified by the Lord until he be changed, translated into him [Christ] in whom God justifies, out of the place of condemnation into the place of justification. For until men are changed by the Spirit and power of the Lord, they are only darkness, and in the darkness, where no justification is. It is the believing, the obedient, the children of light, that are justified by the Lord.
What is the evidence of faith? Jesus told us: By your producing of much fruit, my Father is honored and glorified, and you show that you are truly my disciples [true followers]. John 15:8
And Paul defines that fruit: the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace (quietness and confident trust forever), patience (including longsuffering, steadfastness, and perseverance), kindness (including morality and integrity), goodness, faith, gentleness (including meekness and humility), and self-control (mastery of sensual appetites, passions, and desires). Against these there is no law. Gal 5:22-23
Faith is not just agreeing that Jesus is the Son of God, that is faith in history or Bible-faith. Faith is hearing the word of God from within your heart, Rom 10:8,17, believing it to be the Son of God, and obeying whatever you are commanded to do. What was the evidence of Abraham's faith? — he believed the voice in the vision that he heard to be from God, he believed the promise, and so he obeyed God's voice, Gen 22:18. He believed, and had faith enough to be obedient. To believe without obedience is a false belief, a false faith, the lip service of a hypocrite. So we too must believe enough to seek to listen for, hear, and obey God's voice — and the evidence of our faith is to produce the fruit of the spirit, thus to show ourselves to be true followers of Christ; and the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). The branches that do not produce fruit are cast into the fire to be burned. It is through obedience that fruit is produced. Obedience leads to righteousness, Rom 6:16. The words you hear spoken to you are Spirit and impart the life of God, John 6:63, which life is Christ, who is the life of God. When you possess Christ in full measure as a perfect man, Eph 4:13, you are righteous.
From the Word of the Lord within: "Abraham willingly exposed himself to God's commands." So too we must wait on God, watch, and silently listen for His commands to us. And Christians, so you too must do works as commanded by God to you to evidence your faith in what you are commanded to do. Faith without works is dead; not dead works that you decide to do based on some rule or your own decision, but works that are specifically commanded by God — which are works of love for God. The first works God will command of you are acts of repentance from your sinful, selfish behavior. Obedience leads to righteousness, Rom 6:16, as we through the Spirit, by faith, patiently wait for the hope of righteousness, Gal. 5:5.