The Heart of the Christian Faith (some notes)

(Romans 4.22-26)

First, we have the same promise revealed to us as to Abraham – not for his sake only was it written, but for our sakes, also (verses 23-24).  God had an eye on the whole church, the family of God, of Jews and Gentiles, from the very beginning, when Abraham was called and his faith and life were placed before us.

Second, we have the same justification by righteousness credited, by faith, as our father, Abraham, enjoyed (verse 24, but for our sakes, also, to whom it will be credited).  This has been the burden of the whole chapter – that this righteousness apart from the law, but by faith, has always been the way of salvation.

Third, we are united to Him who raised Jesus, our Lord, from the dead (verse 24b).  Like Abraham, our faith is in this gracious God who so loved the whole world that He gave us His Son – like Abraham earlier, willing and ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, so God the Father gave His best in the Son of God to become man, made of a woman, made under the law, to bear the curse.

Fourth, God the Father and Jesus are one in this crucial feat of the cross and conquering death (verse 25).  Jesus willingly laid down His life for our sins and arose as a public representative for us.  But it is the Father who gave Him and the Father who raised Him.

Fifth, the work of the cross and the resurrection morning are inseparable (verse 26).  Even though the full payment of sin was made on the cross, to which nothing can be added, that payment guarantees the lives of all whose sins have been paid by Jesus, and Jesus Himself must rise.  If Christ did not rise, we are yet in our sins.

Sixth, likewise, all the transgressions condemned and justification from all sin are united – the just for the unjust, that the unjust would be pronounced just, the ungodly justly justified.

Seventh, every believer is one with Christ in His death for our sins and in His resurrection for our justification. – B. J. Gorrell (born in 1961)

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