Paraphrase of the Book of Romans
by E.H. “Jack” Sequeira

Chapter 4

Righteousness by Faith is Apart From Good Works

1 To prove that this is how God saves all mankind, (especially to you Jews), let us consider the situation of our forefather Abraham, who is the prototype of the saved. 2 If Abraham was declared righteous or justified on the basis of his good works, he would certainly have bragged about it; however, his boasting would obviously be in his achievements and not in God’s free gift of salvation. 3 But what are the facts? Scripture tells us that “Abraham put his full confidence in God’s promise of salvation and not in his own performance and God in turn credited Abraham’s faith with righteousness” [Gen. 15.6].

4 When a workman, for example, collects his pay he does not consider it as a gift or a favor from his boss, but as wages that he rightfully earned and deserves. 5 On the other hand, a person who fails to produce any righteousness but gratefully accepts by faith God’s free gift of salvation, prepared in Christ for sinners, that person’s faith is credited with Christ’s righteousness.

6 This is exactly how David, too, describes the good news of salvation aside from any good works we may have done, 7 for he declared in his Psalms “Happy is the person whose willful disobedience [transgression] has been forgiven, and whose failures [sins] God has covered up; 8 Happy is the one whose very sinfulness [iniquity] the Lord does not take into account and holds nothing against him” [Ps. 32:1,2].

Righteousness by Faith is Apart From Circumcision

9 Does this happy news of righteousness by faith apply only to the circumcised Jews, or are the uncircumcised Gentiles included too, seeing we are discussing Abraham’s situation, whom the Jews claim as their father? 10 The answer to this question can be determined by another question, and that is, When did God acknowledge Abraham’s faith and credit him with righteousness, before or after he was circumcised? The facts are that Abraham received the gift of righteousness that comes through faith long before he was circumcised; to be precise it was about 25 years bcfore God required him to be circumcised.

11 Then why, you will inquire, did God introduce circumcision, seeing Abraham was already declared fully righteous without being circumcised? It was not added as an extra requirement for salvation but rather to seal or confirm the righteousness he already had by faith. You see, circumcision, which symbolizes the removal of unbelief [Deut. 10:16], was introduced because Abraham unfortunately sidetracked from the way of faith in trying to fulfill God’s promise of a son through his own efforts, when he produced Ishmael [Gen. 12 and 15-l7]. So then we may say that since Abraham was justified by faith while still being uncircumcised he is the father or prototype of all the Gentiles who like him believe, even though they have not been circumcised. 12 And since circumcision confirmed Abraham’s righteousness which he received by faith he also becomes the father or prototype of the circumciscd Jews, as long as they, like Abraham, believe in God’s promise of salvation in Christ apart from being circumcised. Thus we may conclude that Abraham’s situation proves that God’s way of saving all mankind is through faith alone.

Righteousness by Faith is Apart From Law Obedience

13 Now I know you Jews will not fully agree with this conclusion and will insist on bringing in the law. May I remind you that the promise made by God to Abraham and his descendants, that he should inherit the earth made new, was not on thc condition that he observe the law but on the basis of righteousness that comes through faith [Gal. 3:17, 18]. 14 For if those only who keep the law qualify to inherit the new earth, then no longer can faith be the means by which we receive salvation, and the promise of God becomes meaningless. You cannot have it both ways; for righteousness through the law and righteousness by faith are mutually exclusive so that the two can never be mixed.

15 But the truth is, salvation can never be gained through lawkeeping since the law demands perfect obedience and none of us can claim that; in fact all of us have sinned and therefore deserve the just punishment of the law. Don’t you realize that the purpose of the law was never to save but to convince us that we stand condemned as sinners, thus making the promise of salvation all the more desirable? 16 God, in His great love and mercy, promised us undeserving sinners salvation entirely as a free gift and all He is asking from us is to accept it by faith with deep heartfelt appreciation. In view of this, everybody, Jews and Gentiles, is guaranteed salvation, as long as they live by faith as did Abraham, whom God referred to as our father.

Abraham’s Faith is Our Example

17 For God declared to Abraham in His Word: “I have made you the father of many nations” [Gen. 17:5]. God calls him our father in the sense that He has set him to be our example or the prototype of all who will follow in his footsteps and believe in God’s promise—He who is able to bring to life those that are dead or create things without depending on pre-existing matter. 18 Consider for a moment Abraham’s faith: he believed God could give him a son even when medical science said it was impossible; and that is why he qualified to be the father of many nations, because the promise was: “that is how your numberless descendants will be saved—by faith” [Gen. 15:5,6].

19 Abraham’s faith in God’s promise became so strong that it did not weaken, even the slightest bit, at the age of about 100 years when he realized that humanly speaking it was impossible to have a child through Sarah his wife, because she had now passed the age of child bearing. 20 Yet he never doubted for one moment, through unbelief, God’s promise made to him some twenty-five years before; therefore he continued to praise God and give Him glory, 21 being absolutely sure in his mind that God was able to do the impossible and keep His promise of giving him a son, even at this late stage in life. 22 This is why God was pleased with him and credited his faith with the righteousness promised to him in Christ [Gal. 3:16].

23 Now the statement recorded in Scripture, “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him for righteousness,” does not apply to Abraham alone, 24 but to all of us also; for we too will be credited with righteousness if we believe in Jesus Christ whom God raised from the dead. 25 For God abandoned Christ to experience the second death on the cross in order to meet the just demands of the law for the sins of everyone and then raised Him up so that Christ may rightfully claim justification for us who believe.

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