The Berean Expositor
Volume 51 - Page 141 of 181
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In addition to this is the fact that the law produces wrath, for it inevitably imposes
penalties for failure to keep it. Where no law is there is no transgression. Here the
Apostle is anticipating what he expands in chapter 5: 12-14.  All the law can do is to
show up sin in its true colours. It can never save or justify the sinner. Because of this,
God's way is the principle of grace which is appropriated by men only through faith in
Him and what He has accomplished through Christ on their behalf. Only in this way can
God's promise be secure to all the seed (whether Jew or Gentile). If it rests on sinful men
it can never be sure and certain, but if it rests on God alone then there can be absolute
In Abraham's case, as we have seen before, all this was worked out in spite of the
fact that both he and his wife, around the age of a hundred years, were beyond the
capability of having a son. Abraham looked to and completely trusted the God of
resurrection to keep His promise and give him an heir from which a posterity would
spring. Verses 18-21 record this. Some Greek manuscripts omit the negative in verse 19
and read "he considered his body now dead", but the sense is not altered. Even if he did
consider his aged body, he did not allow this to affect his faith in the promise of God, but
looked to the One, Who can overcome death and quicken the dead, to keep His Word:
". . . . . before God, in Whom he believed, God, Who quickens the dead and calls into
being the things which do not exist. This, Abraham believed, hoping against hope, so as
to become the father of many Gentiles (according to the Scriptures), So shall thy seed be.
He considered without weakening in his faith that his own body was as good as dead
(since he was about a hundred years old), and also the dead state of Sarah's womb.
Looking rather to God's promise, he did not waver in unbelief, but gave God the glory,
was fully convinced that what God had promised He had the power to do, and grew
strong in faith, that is why it was accounted to him for righteousness" (4: 17-22).
We give Dr. 100: K. Barrett's translation here as it makes the sense of the passage more
clear than the A.V. The Apostle brings all this to bear on the believers of his day and for
those who would follow after. Our justification as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ is
the same as Abraham's, for it is based and rooted in the free grace of God Who counts
faith in Himself as righteousness and this is possible because the Lord Jesus was
"delivered up because of the sins we had committed and raised up because of the
justification that was to be granted to us" (4: 25 100: K. Barrett).
Having made clear how it is possible for a holy God to justify sinners, chapter 5:
starts by enumerating the rich blessings that follow:
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have gained access by faith into this
grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only
so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces
perseverance;  perseverance, character;  and character, hope.  And hope does not
disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit,
Whom He has given us" (Rom. 5: 1-5, N.I.V.).
Some translations (A.V., R.V. margin, R.S.V.) read "We have peace with God". The
R.V., and R.S.V. margin, read "let us have peace with God". Some Greek texts read the
indicative of the verb, echomen; others the subjunctive, echomen. One has the short `o',