Paraphrase of the Book of Romans
by E.H. Jack Sequeira
Chapter 4Righteousness 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 Gods free gift of salvation. 3 But what
are the facts? Scripture tells us that Abraham put his full confidence in
Gods promise of salvation and not in his own performance and God in turn credited
Abrahams 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 Gods free
gift of salvation, prepared in Christ for sinners, that persons faith is
credited with Christs 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
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 Abrahams 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 Abrahams 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 Gods 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 Abrahams 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 Gods promise of salvation in Christ apart from being circumcised.
Thus we may conclude that Abrahams situation proves that Gods 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.
Dont 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.
Abrahams 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 Gods promiseHe 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 Abrahams 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 savedby faith [Gen. 15:5,6].
19 Abrahams faith in Gods 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, Gods 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.