WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM ABRAHAM?
Click here to listen to this sermon.
Narrative or Proposition
- Narratives expand
- Propositions reduce
- This is why we have four gospels
- Abrahams story is foundational to trust/faith
- Paul is unpacking the story to further his thesis in 1:16-17
- And Abraham believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.
- Abraham becomes the paradigmatic person of faith.
- Paul regards him as the forefather of all who believe
Q & A (Romans 4:1-12)
One is justified by faith apart from works of law (3:28)
- But what about Abraham?
- (4:1-8) Trust is credited as righteousness.
- Is this limited to the circumcised?
- Abraham was not circumcised when faith was credited as righteousness (4:9-10).
- So whats the point of circumcision?
- A seal of the covenant (4:11-12)
Credit on Account
- Abraham trusts in Gods promise of offspring and heirs.
- Confidence and hope the issue is one of trust.
- This trust is booked to his credit as righteousness.
Source of Metaphor
- Legal or Forensic
- Since Erasmus
- Christs Righteousness Imputed
Imputed or reckoned?
Erasmus translated from Greek and used forensic terms (imputed).
This notion of legal substitution is strictly interpreted in Protestant tradition.
Christs righteousness is imputed on the believer.
Legal fiction opens the door to problems with injustice.
- Financial Accounting
- In the text
- Historical background
Greek is commercial/bookkeeping language.
Awareness of the imagery being used to describe Gods work of justification (no single image base).
Romans vs Galatians
- Paul accepts basic Jewish truths Abraham is father of all
- Applies it to Gentiles
- Emphasis on trust and faith
- The particular Jewish worldview is made universal
- A polemical letter
- Paul has relationship with them
- Crisis situation
- Legalists imposing circumcision
- Doing more abandons the sufficiency of the gift
- 2 similar discussions (Galatians 3-4)
- 2 different situations
Galatians are practicing circumcision as a way of keeping law and thus being Christian.
Romans are ignoring the Jewish heritage/story and putting more faith in culture and ethnicity (Gentile).
Boasting in works and payment due is only Romans; dont read this into Galatians.
Gift or Law (4:13-17)
- This contrast has everything to do with Gods power
- If we can secure righteousness and justification via the law, then God does not take initiative rather we do.
- But if it is a gift, then Jew and Gentile both must respond in trust/faith.
Hoping Against Hope (4:18-25)
- Abraham trusts even though the evidence goes against it
- God has power to bring life out of death
- Isaac (Birth and Sacrifice)
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 7 December 2008
Link to next sermon
Link to other sermons of Chris Benjamin