August 6, 2023
SERMON SERIES: GOD’S WORLDWIDE PLAN FOR EVERY PERSON
BOOK OF ROMANS
Sermon # 6: We Are Made Righteous by Faith
Many people are familiar with a piece of equipment called a treadmill. They can be found in all exercise gyms and in a good number of homes. Their styles and prices range from the moderate to the extravagant, but most treadmills at least have a speed adjustment so the user can control how fast or slow he wants to walk or run.
This same piece of equipment is also found in many hospitals to measure the amount of stress upon the heart. The person who takes the treadmill test there is unable to control the rate of speed according to his own comfort level. There is the doctor who controls the rate of speed. When a person with a bad heart takes the treadmill test in the hospital, although he or she does the best he or she can, he or she is not good enough to pass the test. The test reveals a clear fact: he or she needs the immediate care of the doctor.
Likewise, if people are left on their own to set their own standards and pace in life, they might feel they are doing just fine. But when put to the test by the Great Physician, the Lord Jesus Christ, they fail every time. It is then and only then that they recognize they need help beyond themselves, help that only God can provide.
This is the importance of understanding that it is your faith in Christ alone makes you acceptable to God, not just doing the best you can. Most people actually believe they secure God’s approval by being reasonably good: by being a respectable and upright citizen and by occasionally helping others who are less fortunate. But note a startling fact: a person is not justified by works but by faith. Logic proves the fact. WE ARE MADE RIGHTEOUS BY FAITH!
I. THE LOGIC OF ABRAHAM’S JUSTIFICATION v.1-3
(Logic is a particular way of thinking, especially one that is reasonable and based on good judgment; is proof and good sense.)
Paul uses the model of Abraham to prove justification by faith alone because the Jews held him up as the supreme example of a righteous man (v. 1).
A person can look at Abraham’s life and logically see that a person is not justified by works but by faith (v. 1).
A. Abraham was not justified by works, for works cannot qualify a person to glory before God. Now note this: if Abraham had been justified by works…(v. 2).
· He would be qualified to glory or boast before men
· But he would not be qualified to glory or boast before God
Think about it—the logic, the clarity of the matter. No person is
ever qualified to glory or boast before God.
B. Abraham was justified by believing God. Paul reminds his readers of what fact in Genesis 15:6, which he quotes in Romans 4:3b. “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” This means That Abraham was saved just like you and I---through faith in God’s promise. Abraham deposited his faith with God, and God credited Abraham’s faith as righteousness!
Take a moment and think about what God has done for you in Jesus Christ. Through the Father’s perfect love for His Son, He also allows you to love Christ even though…
· Your love is not perfect
· Your life is not perfect
· Your choices are not perfect
It is God and God alone who makes you righteous, who makes you perfect in His eyes.
The students in the sculptor’s studio had come for their last day of lessons. For several months, each student had tried to apply what he had learned from his teacher. The assignment for all was to create a statue that symbolized the perfection of man. Each student stood behind his finished work, waiting for his teacher’s evaluation.
The first student’s statue looked pretty good to the untrained eye: The impressive image appeared to be without any flaws. The skilled teacher took one look and remarked, “No, this one will not do. You have his eyes looking down.” The teacher went on to the next student. This statue looked even better than the first. Once again, the teacher noticed a flaw in this statue. “No, this one does not pass. You have his eye closed.”
The third student’s statue did not have the same graceful curves as the other two statues. The features of the face were not sharp and striking. While he was working on his statue, a large crack had occurred—right in the middle of the stone. Try as he did, the crack was impossible to hide. The student hung his head down, expecting to hear the same judgment upon his work as the others. “Yes! This is what I am looking for. Look at the eyes…they are looking up.”
Taken aback, the third student asked his teacher, “Master, I do not fully understand. My work is marred with an obvious defect and my craftsmanship is awful when compared to the other statues. What is so important about the eyes?”
The sculptor looked at all his students and said, “The first two statues were made with the hopes of being judged perfect. But the man who looks away from God will never be made perfect. However, the man who looks up toward God will be made perfect by Him—despite his many flaws.
How are you planning to be perfect: Are you looking at yourself, or are you looking up to God?
II. THE LOGIC OF THE WORKER OR LABORER v. 4-5
A person can look at the day-to-day laborer and logically see that a person is not justified by works but by faith.
A. Works necessitates debt (v. 4). When a person works, someone owes him or her something. If a person could work for righteousness, that is, work so that God would owe him righteousness, then God would owe man. But God, being God, is completely self-sufficient; therefore, He cannot be put in debt to any man. he cannot be made or forced to do anything.
B. Believing in God results in righteousness (v 5). So, Paul writes: But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (v. 5). The word counted means “to put to one’s account.” Salvation doesn’t come with a “do-it-yourself kit” or an installment plan.
Forgiveness of our sins is deposited into our accounts when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior!
III. THE LOGIC OF DAVID’S BLESSED MAN v. 6-8
A person can look at the greatest king of Israel, and see clearly that justification is not by works but by faith (cp. Ps. 32:1-2). Even King David recognized that sins are not overcome by hard work, and lawless acts are not overcome by good deeds. The Lord does the forgiving, he does the covering; we simply believe it and receive it!
A. The blessed man is counted righteous without works (v. 6).
B. The blessed man is the man whose sins are forgiven and covered (v. 7).
C. The blessed man is the man whose sins are not counted (v. 8).
Responsive Reading: Romans 4:1-8