Next time you are feeling overwhelmed, go outside and look up. Okay, we live in the city. There's somewhat light pollution here.
Not as bad as where I'm from, but it's still out there. But then take a drive somewhere. Go to the mountains and look up. Park the car.
Lay out on the hood. Look up at the sky and realize your God did that. When we only focus on life's difficulties, they can seem insurmountable. See on Connect with Skip Heitzig. Skip shares how you can face your trials and troubles with hope and confidence. Now we want to tell you about a resource that helps you dive even deeper into God's truths. Joy in the midst of hardship is a hallmark of the Christian life.
But is it really possible? Here's Lenya Heitzig. Sometimes what starts out as a happy trail turns into a really daunting road and we have to figure out how to navigate. A lot of times, God's purpose in allowing trials is to give us opportunities to grow to the point where we genuinely experience joy in the midst of trials. Learn how to face trials with courage, wisdom, and yes, joy with Lenya's booklet, Happy Trials. And when you give $20 or more today to help keep this Bible teaching ministry on the air, we'll send you a special bundle of three booklets by Lenya. Happy Trials, Don't Tempt Me, and Speak No Evil. Get your bundle of three booklets for a gift of $20 or more by calling 800-922-1888. Or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer.
That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. Okay, we're in Romans chapter 4 as we join Skip Heitzig for today's study. Go back to verse 21 and notice what he says. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law, the law of Moses, is revealed, here's the phrase I want you to see now, being witnessed by the law and the prophets. Now, if you're a Jewish listener and you just hear the rabbi say, you know, God makes people right through faith, and that's a principle that goes all the way back to the Torah. It goes all the way back to the law and the prophets. Your immediate question is, oh, really? Forgive me, Paul, but I didn't read that. Help me understand that.
Where exactly is that? So Paul brings two witnesses into the courtroom. One is Abraham, who was justified by faith before the law, and one is David, King David. So the two great persons from the Old Testament that every Jewish person looks up to, Father Abraham, or as my Torah guides in Israel like to call him, Grandpa, bring in Grandpa as the first witness, bring in David. So we get on the witness stand Abraham in chapter 4, verse 1, what then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast of, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say?
Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Now, to him who works, the wages are encountered as grace, but as debt. If you have an employer, you put in so many hours per week, and he gives you a paycheck, you're going to go, oh, you're so kind to give me that paycheck. Thank you. What caused you to be so overwhelmingly sweet? Nothing. You earned it.
You deserve it. That was the contract. So to him who works, the wages are encountered as grace, but as debt. But to him who does not work, but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. What is Paul referring to? Paul is referring to an incident in Abraham's life when one evening God took him stargazing. Abraham, come outside. Let's look at the stars together.
Abraham was 86 at the time. So it was one of those dry, warm, Middle Eastern skies where he looked up and he saw the panoply of stars spread out like diamonds on velvet. And he looked up and he said, Abraham, you see all those stars? Yep. That's what your family is going to be like, man.
You're going to have a whole bunch of kids, offspring. Now, when that happened, Abraham didn't go, oh, no. Come on. That's so ridiculous. I'm 86. Hello.
That's a little bit impossible. He said, amen. That's the Hebrew. He believed God. He said, amen.
He said, right on. Amen. It's good, God. Amen. I agree with that. Amen. And so God said, that's all I need. You believe that. You said amen to it.
I'm going to count what you just did in your heart and said with your lips as being right before me. God accounted that to Abraham as righteousness. Now, the word accounted is a banking term, laggizimai.
It means to put to your account. So Abraham was bankrupt before God is the thought. He believed God's promise. God said, I'm changing the books. Now I'm changing the books. So God says to you and you say, I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. God says, I'm changing the books.
You're not guilty. You are right before me. You are righteous before me. It's a declaration God makes. He accounted it to him for righteousness. God didn't say, Abraham, listen, I'm glad you said that, but there's 36 things you need to do first and you need to be baptized and you need to go to church regularly.
And then, maybe then, I'll make you right with me. Just the amen, just the belief was enough. Do you realize how great this is, especially if you have a religious background? This is so freeing.
You mean I don't have to do anything? No, the whole point is, is he did it for you. You agreed with what he did. You believed in your heart. It was authentic. He takes you that way.
That's the portal by which you enter. And you are made right before God. Now let me give you a recommendation before we mosey on really quickly. Next time you are overwhelmed with your troubles, whatever they may be, I don't even have to give examples, you have your own. Next time you are feeling overwhelmed, go outside and look up.
Okay, we live in a city, there's somewhat light pollution here, not as bad as where I'm from, but it's still out there. But then take a drive somewhere, go to the mountains and look up. Park the car, lay out on the hood, look up at the sky and realize your God did that.
The God who loves you, the God who promises things to you did that. As Isaiah said, God measures the universe with the span of his hand. Realize I'm looking up at the Milky Way galaxy, something that they say has 100 to 400 billion stars. That is between 10 and 100,000 light years across.
So if you could travel at the speed of light at 186,000 miles per second to get from one end to the other end would take you 100,000 years. God says, it's only about that big. It's very, very small. There are several others out there besides that one. Your God makes promises to you. Look up and say, Amen. Amen. Yes, Lord. And realize God loves you.
Do that. It's a good exercise. So Abraham is the first man to the witness stand. The second one is David. Just as David also described the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works. Here's the quote. This is Psalm 32. Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven and whose sins are covered.
Blessed. Oh, how happy is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin. After David sinned with Bathsheba and Nathan came and said, You're the dude.
He penned Psalm 51, as I mentioned, and Psalm 32. David is declaring the joy of God not holding his sin against him. And David believes that. So in Paul's courtroom, Abraham and David are what you would call prima facie evidence for justification by faith. OK, these men are examples of people, apart from the law of Moses, who simply believed God's promises and were held in right standing before God.
Abraham and David. Now you say, well, David, I don't know if that's a good example for Paul to bring into the courtroom. David's not a good guy to get on the stand because David was a good Jewish boy and he did get circumcised. He kept the law and he was circumcised. So knowing that rebuttal, he circles back to Abraham.
And he says this. Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.
How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised or uncircumcised, not while he was circumcised, but while uncircumcised. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith, which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that the righteousness might be imputed to them also.
And the father of circumcision to those who not only are the circumcision, but also walk in the steps of the faith, which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised. Genesis chapter 15, where God said, I'm counting you righteous before me, happened before there was a law. Before there was the ritual of circumcision. Before Moses was ever born. So before there was any kind of a standard whereby people were called on to do this ritual, God imputed a righteousness to Abraham. It precedes the law. Now if you think about it, Abraham was declared righteous before God while he was still a Gentile.
Now this is interesting. It's a little bit of a quandary to the Orthodox Jewish person. To call Abraham, the father of Judaism, the first Jew, a Gentile. But he was. He came from more of the Chaldees. His father, Terah, was an idol worshiper. He had a pagan Gentile background. He was uncircumcised, but he believed in God. And that Gentile, also first Jew, was made right before God without any ritual, without any law, just by believing.
It's an incredible case study. Now you need to know something. Abraham does get circumcised when he's 99 years old.
I'm just going to pass over that. There's so many implications, but the point is, he got circumcised, and he took Ishmael and got him circumcised, and then Isaac, and then it got carried on. Circumcision was introduced before the giving of the law. The law made it a mandate for every Jewish male to do.
But here's the point. The father of circumcision, Abraham, got circumcised not because it added to his faith, but because it attested to his faith. It didn't make him right before God. It proved that he was right with God, and he did it as an act of obedience, the outward sign that proved the inward change, like a baptism. It came subsequent.
It came later to that. For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith, for if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath. For where there is no law, there is no transgression. Now, do you realize that there was a time in this country where there was no speed limit? I know some of you drive as if there's no speed limit now, but there is. But there was a time when you could just get on an open road and do whatever you wanted to do.
Just have a blast. No speed limit. No law. You can't break the law. There is no law.
It doesn't exist. You can't break what doesn't exist. If you travel to Europe, you can get on the Autobahn. I've done that. No speed limit. Now, they have a recommended speed, 80 miles an hour. That's recommended. Nobody really follows the recommendations.
You can go 130 if you want, 140 if you want. And if you rent a car and drive the Autobahn, it's a rush. Okay, enough of that. You can't transgress a law if the law doesn't exist. But once the law exists and you go over the speed limit or do whatever, the law now brings wrath.
You get the point. Therefore, it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations in the presence of him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.
Now Paul is referring to a principle that he clearly, or I would say more clearly, articulates in fewer words in the book of Ephesians. In Ephesians 2, verse 8, it says, For by grace you have been saved through faith. For grace you have been saved through faith. Not of yourselves, lest anyone should boast. So it's all by faith.
Not of works, lest anyone should boast. You are saved through faith. Abraham was simply the prototype of salvation by believing. Salvation by grace through faith. He didn't work for it.
You and I don't work for it. All we do is say amen to it. We receive it. Verse 18, let's finish this out. Who contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations. According to what was spoken, so shall your descendants be.
The promise in Genesis chapter 15, stars of the sky. And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body already dead since he was about 100 years old. And the deadness of Sarah's womb. I sort of feel sorry for Abraham. You know, his name was Abram, which means exalted father. And that was his name while he had no children. And then God made him change his name, or God changed his name, to Abraham, which means father of a multitude. Still no children.
So you can just imagine the caravan coming through, meeting him for the first time. What's your name, sir? Abram. Oh, father, exalted father. How many kids do you have? Ah, nada.
Zip, zilt, zero, none. Okay, weird name for that, but nice to meet you, Abe. See ya. Comes back a year later, hey, Abram, no, name's changed now, father of a multitude. Really? So you've had children? Nope, not yet. They're coming. Now, notice what he says here.
We want to make that quick. Not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body already dead since he was about 100 years old. The reason Abram, Abraham, could say amen to God's promise, so shall your descendants be okay, I believe that I'm going to have kids, the reason he could do it is simple. He factored God into the equation. When you don't factor God into any equation, it's difficult, it's hard, it's improbable, it's impossible. When you factor God into it, it's like, okay, amen.
That's what we need to do. Factor God into life's problems. Jesus said with God, nothing shall be impossible.
We carry our limitations over onto God. Sarah did. When she heard the promise that she was going to have a child, she laughed. She was behind the curtain. She went, shall I have pleasure at such an old age and shall my master Abraham have pleasure?
No way. And God said to Abraham, why did Sarah laugh? And she spoke now a little bit louder from behind the curtain, I didn't laugh. God said, you did laugh, Sarah. And then he said, is anything too hard for God? You see, that's the factoring God into the equation. Is anything too hard for God?
Well, you know the rest of the story. Verse 20, he did not waver at the promise. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what he had promised, he was also able to perform. And therefore, it was accounted to him for righteousness. Now, to be honest, I read this. It says he didn't waver at the promise of God.
And I kind of smile and I even kind of laugh a little bit. And I think, God, you're being very generous with Abraham. And Paul, you are certainly being very generous with Grandpa, saying he never wavered. The truth is, when God said, so shall your descendants be, he said, amen. But then he goes, you know, he was having a tough time.
You know, I've only got this guy named Eleazar hanging around, and how will I know? And then later on, the very next chapter, he seemed to waver a lot when he took Sarah's advice and took Hagar, the handmaiden, and went into her and had a child named Ishmael. Because he sort of reasoned, well, maybe it's not going to really be a miracle. Maybe what God really meant is simply it's going to be through natural means.
And Ishmael was born. So it sort of seems like he wavered, but let me answer that by saying this. Doubt is not the same as unbelief. Everybody struggles with issues of faith. You should. It's okay to do that. If you have struggles, you should voice them.
It doesn't make you a bad person. I have had my struggles, and every struggle I've had, I've wrestled through it. And my faith has gotten stronger. So doubt isn't the same as unbelief, and he's dressing unbelief here. Unbelief saying God can't do it, won't do it. That's unbelief.
It's more of a position of the heart, a decision of the heart. Also, the fact that 99-year-old Abraham gets circumcised shows he's all in, and he believes what God's going to do. He's attesting to his faith. So enough said on that.
Let's finish it out. Now, it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us, it shall be imputed to us who believe in him, who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and he was raised up because of our justification. So Abraham on the witness stand, evidence that he is saved, and all of us are saved by that same principle, faith. And God, when you believe, imputes to you a righteousness you cannot produce, you can merely receive and walk in. You are right before God, therefore God looks at you with the same purity that he would behold his own son. Hard to believe, hard to get your mind around that, heart around that, but it's the truth of Scripture. I love Abraham because Abraham didn't focus on his impotence, but on God's omnipotence.
He can do anything. I can't, but he can, and he believed God. That's Skip Heitzig with a message from the series Expound Romans. Now, we want to tell you about an opportunity you have to take your knowledge of God's Word to a deeper level. If you're ready to study God's Word beyond going to church and personal Bible study, you're ready for Calvary College.
Take your learning and your life's purpose to the next level with an education in Biblical studies. Registration for the 2022 fall term is open right now. Classes happen onsite at Calvary Church Albuquerque and online. Classes like Old Testament survey, world views, apologetics, and theology, plus book specific courses like Daniel, Romans, and Revelation. Calvary College partners with Veritas International University and Calvary Chapel University so you can earn an accredited undergraduate or graduate degree or simply increase your knowledge of God and his Word.
Your application for the 2022 fall term is available now, and classes start August 15th. Apply today at calvarychurchcollege.com. That's calvarychurchcollege.com.
Thank you for tuning in today. We're passionate about helping you strengthen your walk with God, and you can be a part of connecting others to Jesus in the same way with a gift to help keep these teachings you love on the air. Just call 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888, or visit connectwithskip.com-slash-donate. That's connectwithskip.com-slash-donate.
Thank you. Tune in tomorrow as Skip Heitzig shares about the benefits that you experience because of what Christ accomplished on the cross. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection, connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-08 11:56:11 / 2023-04-08 12:05:23 / 9