Be sure to see the first part of this study: Studies in Romans (1)
In chapter 4, Paul points this out in a different way. He brings Abraham into the discussion.
- Abraham was not a Jew
- Abraham was not circumcised
- Abraham received not the Law (Law of Moses)
- Abraham did not live under the authority of the Law
- Abraham was justified before God
On what basis was Abraham justified before God? He was justified before God because of his faith, that is, his trust and obedience in and to Him who is the Giver of life. Because of his response to the Lord, the covenant of circumcision was given to him. The Law of Moses, however, came much later; thus, the Law of Moses played no role in Abraham’s justification.
Abraham is called the “father of the faithful” because, as far as the Holy Record is concerned, he is the beginning point of the Lord’s declaration of those justified by faith, whether they are circumcised or not circumcised. Before Abraham, there is nothing in the previous fourteen chapters of Genesis that speaks of a person justified by faith (or anything corresponding to that). Because of his faith, the Lord said of him that he would become “the father of many nations,” and in this case, the term “many nations” means, contextually, the Jews and non-Jews (or Gentiles).
In chapter 5, Paul continues teaching about justification by faith, only this time moving from how Abraham was justified by faith before God (Gen. 15:6) to how one is justified by faith before God today, that is, by faith (trust and obedience) in Jesus (the “I am” of John 8:58 is the “I am” of Exodus 3:14).
Abraham’s justification was before the time of Moses and before the Law from Mount Sinai was given to Moses.
Because of one man (Adam), sin entered the world and God’s judgment followed; the judgment that followed was separation from God. Similarly, because of one man (Jesus), life entered the world and God’s judgment followed; the judgment/declaration that followed was God’s reconciling man to Himself (cf. 2 Timothy 1:10).
In chapter 6, Paul answers a reply that he, evidently, anticipated or fielded many times. If God’s grace is so great and abundant, then why not continue in sin to manifest the greatness of God’s grace? Paul addressed this by teaching that when one puts his trust in Jesus and is baptized into His death, burial and resurrection, that same person has now taken on himself a new life and new way of thinking. Thus, he is to give no ground to sin at all! In short, one becomes a servant to that which he obeys. If he obeys sin, then he is a servant of sin. If he obeys the Lord, then he is a servant of the Lord. The application of the words of Joshua 24:15 works well at this juncture.