Memory Text: “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31).
In many ways Romans 4 gets to the foundation of the biblical doctrine of salvation by faith alone and to the heart of
what began the Reformation. Indeed, 500 years ago this week it all began with Luther, and faithful Protestants have never looked back.
By using Abraham-the paragon of holiness and virtue-as an example of someone who needed to be saved by grace without the deeds of the law, Paul left readers no room for misunderstanding. If the best one’s works and law-keeping weren’t enough to justify him before God, what hope does anyone else have? If it had to be by grace with Abraham, it has to be the same with everyone else, Jews and Gentiles.
In Romans 4 Paul reveals three major stages in the plan of salvation: (1) the promise of divine blessing (the promise of grace), (2) the human response to that promise (the response of faith), and (3) the divine pronouncement of righteousness credited to those who believe (justification). That’s how it worked with Abraham, and that’s how it works with us.
It is crucial to remember that for Paul, salvation is by grace; it’s something that is given to us, however undeserving we are. If we deserved it, then we’d be owed it, and if we’re owed it, it’s a debt and not a gift. And for beings corrupt and fallen as we are, salvation has to be a gift.
To prove his point about salvation by faith alone, Paul goes all the way to the book of Genesis, quoting Genesis 15:6 – “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (NIV). Here’s justification by faith in one of the earliest pages of the Bible.
Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, November 4.
Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons