Trust is the root of faith and the basis of our religion and life. We must learn to trust Him. We strive not just to trust him more, but to trust him completely.

Mark 9 records a wonderful illustration of growing trust in Jesus.

When they came back to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them.

15Immediately, when the entire crowd saw Him, they were amazed and began running up to greet Him.

16And He asked them, “What are you discussing with them?”

17And one of the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute;

18and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.

19And He *answered them and *said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!”

20They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth.

21And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.

22“It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”

23And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”

24Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Mk 9:14–24.

“I believe, help thou my unbelief.” How often have we been there?! I imagine Abraham, the father of the faithful, had seasons like that as well. God promised Abraham an heir who would bless all the nations and that his descendants would be as numerable as the stars. Abraham’s trust in God’s promise is reckoned unto him as righteousness (Gen. 15:6).

Of course, we know that Abraham and Sarai take matters into their own hands. They grew impatient with God and thought they could arrange for God’s promise to be fulfilled themselves. That failure brought hardship on so many. It reminds us it is always best to wait on the Lord and trust him.

In Romans 4 we see Abraham put forward as an example of justification by faith. The Jewish and Gentile Christians had been at odds with one another in the church at Rome. In order to unify the two social groups, Paul demonstrated to them that they were now in the same spiritual family.  In the first chapters, Paul described how that all people (Jew and Gentile) are lost in sin and that all people are now saved through faith in Christ.

No one could earn their salvation. No one could keep the Torah perfectly. No one could live perfectly by keeping in step with their own conscience. We all sin. We all struggle. We all have only one hope–Jesus.

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

22even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;

23for all ahave sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation bin His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;

26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ro 3:21–27.

There is no reason for any of us to be proud or boast of ourselves. We can only boast in the cross of Christ and trust him for our salvation. Romans 4 describes that trust by the example of Abraham.

How Does Righteousness Come? Romans 4:1-5

One of the great questions of life and of the book of Romans is “How can I be right with God?”. Is living according to my conscience enough? Could I perfectly keep God’s law and be righteous that way? We know that niether of these options will work. The only way for us to be righteous is through trusting Christ. It seems unreal. It is almost too good to be true! But that is how we can be righteous before God. We trust Jesus.

In Romans 4:3 Paul took us back to Genesis 15 to show us how righteousness comes through faith. “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.” He did not live perfectly before God (Romans 15:1-2). He lived before the Law came (Romans 4:9-12) so he was not justified by law keeping. He was reckoned righteous because he trusted God.

Not the contrast in drawing to God by faith and fleeing from God through faithlessness in Romans 1 and Romans 4.

Rom 1:20–27

Rom 4:17–21

Humanity failed to recognize its creator (1:20, 25)

Abraham trusted the creator (4:17)

Humanity ignored God’s power (1:20, using dunamis)

Abraham trusted God’s power (4:21, using dunatos)

Humanity did not give God glory (1:21)

Abraham gave God glory (4:20)

Humanity dishonored their bodies (1:24)

Abraham found new strength in his body (4:19)

Humanity used their bodies in non-productive, same-sex relations (1:26–27)

Abraham and Sarah conceived a child (4:19)—miraculously being fruitful and multiplying

Craig S. Keener, Romans, New Covenant Commentary Series (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2009), 67.

What is Righteousness? Romans 4:6-12

What does it mean to be righteous before God? It doesn’t mean that we are perfect or that we are excellent law keepers. It means that we are viewed as righteous before God.

Paul quoted Psalm 32:1-2 to define righteousness for us. “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.” (New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ro 4:7–8).

Righteousness is determined by how God views us. We are blessed, favored or righteous when our lawlessness is forgiven and our sins are covered. How is that possible? Only because God does not take them into account.

Notice that these blessings are not just for the Jews and not just for the Gentiles. Righteousness is not limited to an exclusive race. Righteousness is credited to those who are in Christ.

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

22even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;

23for all ahave sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation bin His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;

26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ro 3:21–26.

The same message was given in Ephesus.

Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands—

12remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, aexcluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

13But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near dby the blood of Christ.

14For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,

15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might cmake the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,

16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Eph 2:11–16.

This right relationship with God is now for all who trust in Jesus–Romans 4:9-12.

What Does Righteousness Depend On? Romans 4:13-25

Righteousness depends on faith. No human will or exertion is good enough. All depend upon the grace of God. “But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe”  (Ga 3:22).

For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.

14For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified;

15for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.

16 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to cthose who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ro 4:13–16.

Now, Abraham’s example is given for our model.

Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him,

It was written “but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. (Ro 4:23–25). Mankind’s righteousness or being right with God, depends upon our trust in him not what we can do for him.

So What Exactly is Faith Again?

Faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is something to be obeyed–Romans 1:5; 16:26. Faith is the system wich replaced the Law (Romans 3:27). Faith is a means of justification–Romans 5:1. “Faith” is the summation of that which Christians preach–Romans 10:8. Faith is created by the preaching of the word–Romans 10:17. “Faith” is a description of what an individual believes–Romans 14:1-2, 22.

Faith is trust in the Lord, yet it also refers to that which we believe concerning the Lord–1 Corinthians 15:14, 17; 16:13. Christians are to examine themselves to see “whether or not they are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Some try to destroy the faith–Galatians 1:23. Faith is the Christian system as opposed to the Old Testament system–Galatians 3:23-27. Faith is to be defended–Jude 3.

Faith is a mark of salvation. It is because we have faith in God’s power that we are baptized and saved–Colossians 2:12. Faith alone is dead (James 2:24). Genuine faith is trust and obedience coupled together. Therefore, we are saved when we obey not simply acknowledge who Jesus is–Acts 2:36-38. Baptism, therefore, is not a work to earn righteous standing with God. Baptism is an act of faith in God and the point at which we become Christians by faith–Galatians 3:26-27.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s