Martin Luther said that Abraham was justified by faith long before this time, but that it is first recorded in this context in a connection where the Savior is definitely involved in order that none might venture to dissociate justification from the Savior (cited by H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Genesis [Baker], 1:479). The word credited (Greek = logidzomai) is used 40 times in the New Testament, 34 times by Paul, 19 times in Romans, and 11 times in this chapter, so it is a key word. ), The Lectionary Commentary: The Second Readings: Acts and the Epistles (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001), Briscoe, D. Stuart, The Preacher’s Commentary: Romans, Vol. Paul must have said, “God justifies the one who tries to do his best. 13 Let every person p be subject to the governing authorities. • and the fact that righteousness is possible only through faith (3:21-31). In doing so, Paul was challenging the Judaism’s central premise—that obedience to the law determined one’s relationship to God (MacArthur). Paul does not say that our faith makes us righteous, but that “faith is accounted for righteousness”—which is to say that God, seeing our faith, credits our account to wipe out our insolvency—freeing us of debt—God’s grace undoing our unrighteousness. If you see yourself as better than notorious sinners and thus somehow more deserving of salvation, you can’t be justified. Just as God created a people of God out of Abraham’s physical descendants who had become slaves in Egypt, so also God also created a people of God out of lowly Gentiles. The Faith of Abraham. He thus reveals the broad scope of God’s relationship with humans. • First, God “who gives life to the dead.” This recalls Abraham and Sarah, who were as good as dead, but who, by the grace of God, gave birth to descendants “as many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as innumerable as the sand which is by the sea shore” (Hebrews 11:12. Achtemeier, Paul J., Interpretation: Romans, (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1985), Barth, Karl, The Epistle to the Romans (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1933), Brawley, Robert L., in Van Harn, Roger E. Come to Jesus, crucified for sinners! Their families mourn the tragic loss of their daughters. It was when Martin Luther finally understood this truth that he was saved. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. After all, he was a godly man. In a certain correspondence with philosopher Bertrand Russell, author Joseph Conrad lamented the following: “I have never been able to find in any man’s book or in any man’s talk anything convincing enough to stand up for a moment against my defeated sense of fatality governing this man-inhabited world…The only remedy for Chinamen [referring to the problems in China] and for the rest of us is the change of hearts. Surely, there must be a copier’s error in the text! So it’s a very important text to understand. So also we have no right to demand anything from God based on our achievement, righteousness, or faith. That fulfillment is accomplished, not simply as followers of a philosophy, or a philosopher, but through relationship with a Living Person, Savior and Redeemer. Paul is writing to a church that includes both Jews and Gentiles. The New Perspective on Paul also argues that the Reformers misinterpreted Paul regarding this doctrine. God justifies even the ungodly (Romans 4:5). 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