In these pages of Dr. Constable’s Notes on Romans, we find exposition on Romans chapters four and five. In chapter four, we are given the proof of justification by faith from the law. This chapter shows how that God has always justified people by faith alone. It is necessary to remind ourselves of what it means to be justified. To be justified is to be declared righteous. It is not a making of one to be righteous or live righteously, however, it is a declaration of righteousness on the life of we who are unrighteous. This justification is given to us as a free gift by faith. Paul shows his Jewish readers that we are not saved by the law but by justification by faith. The example is made of Abraham in 4:1-5. These verses clearly show how that Abraham was justified by his faith in God and not in his works. Abraham had no ground for boasting before God because he received justification by faith, not by works. It is not totally clear as to the details of what Abraham believed. He simply believed God. This belief and trust in God was the factor in Abraham being declared righteous. Trust in God’s promise is what constitutes faith and results in justification. The example is given of someone who works to earn wages. Abraham did not work in order to earn God’s favor, he simply believed. In 4:6-8, we see Paul using another Old Testament example, David. Abraham lived before the law and was justified by faith. David lived during the law and was justified by faith. Therefore, the law cannot save, only faith in Jesus can save. In verses 9-12 we see the priority of faith to circumcision. The point here is that no outward act or rite can bring salvation. Again, we are justified by faith alone. It is noted that Paul then continues to look at the example of Abraham by showing the exemplary value of Abraham’s faith (4:18-22) and the conclusions from Abraham’s example (4:23-25).
Moving into chapter five, we find the benefits of justification. Since we are justified by faith alone we are given certain blessings or benefits. Those blessings are listed as follows: peace with God, access into God’s grace, joy in tribulation, the indwelling Holy Spirit, deliverance from future condemnation, and present reconciliation with God. This is a wonderful and glorious thing! Justification by faith is the doorway to manifold blessings that the law could never provide. In 5:12-21 we see the restorative effects of justification. Here we see a comparison between Adam and Christ. Through Adam, all are condemned. Through Jesus, all those who believe by faith are justified. Through Adam, all will die. Through Jesus, all those who believe by faith are made alive in Christ and are given eternal life with Christ! It is this justification by faith that overcomes the effects of the fall. We are condemned because we ourselves have sinned and we are condemned to death because of Adam’s sin. The death of Christ removed that condemnation for all those who come to Him by faith. The penalty for sin is completely removed from the life of the one who is justified by faith!