1. Since the Jews looked to both Abraham and the Law, and Paul declares that the Law is upheld by this new “righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ” (3:21-22 and 31), the question of “What about Abraham’s righteousness?” arises. How does one understand Abraham’s relationship with God if he was “justified by works?” After all, his circumcision was the beginning of a 2000-year-old religious practice of the Jews! If he were justified by works, Abraham would have reason to boast. The truth is, he had no reason to boast. Paul’s response (4:3): “Abraham _____________ God, and it was ______________ to him as ______________________.” This is a quote from Genesis 15:6.
<— 430 Years–><–1500 Years–>
Abraham Moses Christ
2. There are two approaches to righteousness: (1) working so as to earn our ____________________ (4:4) and (2) ____________________ in which case our “faith is counted as righteousness” (4:5). Either Abraham worked to earn his righteousness or he believed to receive his righteousness. To understand the order which these happened one must read Genesis 15:6 and Genesis 17:23-26. Since “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” and was circumcised later, Paul believed that Abraham was made right before God by faith and not by circumcision i.e., keeping the Law.
3. Circumcision was a _____________ and seal of the _________________ that he had by _____________ while he was still uncircumcised (4:11 see Genesis 15:6). This made him “the ______________ of all who __________________” (4:11). Thus, he became the father of those who “walk in the ______________ of the faith that Abraham had before he was circumcised” (4:12 see Genesis 17:23-26).
4. Paul’s conclusion: the promise did not come through the law, but through “the righteousness of faith” (4:13). It depends on faith so that it may rest on ______________ and be guaranteed to all (4:16). See Galatians 3:16-18. This promise is from the God “who (1) gives ________________ to the dead and (2) calls into existence the things that do not ___________________” (4:17), that is the God of the Resurrection and of Creation is the one making the promise. Does it get any better than this?
5. What kind of faith did Abraham have that was counted as righteousness?
a. 4:18 – “in __________ he believed against ___________.”
b. 4:19 – “he did not ________________ in faith” even when the promise seemed impossible.
c. 4:20 – “no _______________ made him waver….”
d. 4:21 – he was “______________ ____________ that God was able to do what he had promised.”
6. The result was that “his faith was ‘counted to him as righteousness’” (4:22). However, these words were written for us as much as for him (4:23-24). Paul assures us that, “It will be counted to us who __________________ in him who _______________ from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our _____________________ and raised for our _________________________” (4:24-25).
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