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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
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Blessed Are They -- Romans 4:1-12

romans%20fragment.jpgThe Ninth in a Series of Sermons on Paul's Epistle to the Romans

Paul has said a number of striking things about the gospel.  The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.  Through its proclamation, both the wrath of God as well as a righteousness from God are being revealed.  Embracing the gospel through faith brings life, delivers us from God’s wrath and justifies us, that is, gives sinners a right-standing before God.  In fact, these points are so striking that some of Paul’s critics could easily argue that this gospel was Paul’s invention and amounted to a betrayal of the Judaism which Paul claimed to be upholding.  Paul must now prove that his gospel is no innovation.  Not only was this gospel revealed to him by Jesus Christ, it is the same gospel believed by Abraham, the father of all the faithful.

Given the sorts of problems faced by the Roman church, it is vital for Paul to demonstrate to the Jews in Rome that the gospel he has been preaching is no mere innovation.  As Paul has pointed out in Romans 2-3, the failure of the Jews to understand the true purpose of the law and the meaning of circumcision, does not at all mean that the Old Testament says nothing about the gospel that Paul is now preaching.  In fact, for Paul, the Old Testament anticipates, indeed points the reader ahead to that one event which marks the turning point in redemptive history–the coming of Jesus Christ to inaugurate the long-expected messianic age of salvation in which God will deliver his people–Jew and Gentile–once for all from the guilt and power of sin.  This is what God promised throughout the Old Testament, and what God has now accomplished through the person of his son.

Paul has already spoken to some of these matters earlier in the epistle.  In Romans 2:28-29, Paul made the point that the true Jew is the one who believes God’s promise to save sinners, not someone who merely hears the law and trusts that by possessing the oracles of God, he is somehow exempt from judgment.  In Romans 2, Paul has also addressed the question of Jewish superiority and the false hope on the part of those who undergo circumcision, thinking that it makes them members of the covenant and exempts them from that judgment which is coming upon the whole world. 

In believing God’s promise, the true Jew recognizes that God has acted in Jesus Christ to bring about all that he has promised.  Through faith in Christ’s blood, shed to redeem God’s people and to turn aside God’s wrath toward sinners, God justifies all of those who believe in Jesus.  Trusting in the cross of Christ is the only way for sinners who are under the curse because of their sins to receive a right-standing before God, and this trust excludes all human boasting.  Furthermore, far from eliminating the law from the life of a Christian, seeing the law in the light of the coming of Christ actually establishes proper role for the law, as both the teacher of sin and as the rule of gratitude.

To read the rest of this sermon, click here 

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