Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO ROMANS 4\\

The apostle having, in the preceding chapters, proved that there is
no justification before God by the works of the law, partly from the
depraved state and condition that all men are in by nature, both Jews
and Gentiles; and partly from the nature of the law itself, which
discovers sin, arraigns men for it, and convicts of it, and pronounces
guilty before God for it; as also by showing, that it is by another
righteousness, which he describes, that men are justified in the sight
of God; proceeds in this to confirm the same by an example; and that
which he pitches upon is the most appropriate and pertinent he could have
thought of, namely, that of Abraham, the father of the Jews, \\#Ro 4:1\\,
for in whatsoever way he was justified, his sons surely could not
imagine but it must be the right way, nor should they seek another: now
that Abraham was not justified by works, he proves \\#Ro 4:2\\, from an
absurdity following upon it, that he would have just reason to glory;
whereas no man ought to glory before God, but only in the Lord: and by
a passage of Scripture, \\#Ro 4:3\\, to which he appeals, he makes it
clearly appear that he was justified by faith, for that says, his faith
was counted for righteousness. This case of accounting anything to
another for righteousness, is illustrated by two sorts of persons, who
have different things accounted to them, and in a different manner; to
the worker, the reward is reckoned of debt, and not of grace, \\#Ro 4:4\\,
but to the believer that works not, his faith, as Abraham's was, is
counted for righteousness; whence it follows, that not the worker is
justified by his works, but the believer by the righteousness of faith;
and this is confirmed by a testimony of David in \\#Ps 32:1,2\\, by
which the apostle proves the imputation of righteousness without works,
in which the happiness of men consists, \\#Ro 4:6-8\\, and shows,
that this happiness does not belong to circumcised persons only, but to
the uncircumcised also; and therefore is not by circumcision, but by
faith, \\#Ro 4:9\\, and which he proves by observing the time when
faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness; not when he was
circumcised, but before, \\#Ro 4:10\\, the use of which circumcision to
him was to assure him, that he should be the father of uncircumcised
Gentiles that believed, to whom righteousness should be imputed, as to
him when he was uncircumcised, \\#Ro 4:11\\, who are described by their
imitation of his faith, which he had, and exercised before his
circumcision, \\#Ro 4:12\\. And this leads on to a fresh argument,
proving justification to be by faith, and not by the works of the law,
since the promise made to Abraham, and his seed, was not through the
law, but the righteousness of faith; and consequently both his and
their justification were not by the one, but by the other, \\#Ro 4:13\\,
or, if otherwise, both the faithfulness of God, and the faith of his
people, would be void, and the promise of grace of no effect,
\\#Ro 4:14\\. And this is still further argued from the effect of the
law working wrath, which, if justification was by it, it would never
do, \\#Ro 4:15\\. The wisdom and goodness of God in giving faith, and
not works, a concern in justification, are observed, \\#Ro 4:16\\,
whereby it appears to be of free grace, faith only being a recipient,
and what gives all the glory to God; and also the promise of eternal
life through justification by free grace becomes sure to all the
spiritual seed; who are distributed into two sorts, the believing Jews
under the legal dispensation, and the believing Gentiles, under the
Gospel dispensation; of both which Abraham was father; which is
confirmed by a testimony out of \\#Ge 17:4,5\\, whose faith is
described by the object of it, the omnipotent God that quickens the
dead, and calls things that are not, as though they were, \\#Ro 4:17\\,
and by the nature of it, \\#Ro 4:18\\, believing in hope against hope,
resting on the promise of God; and by the strength of it, being not at
all weakened by considering, either his own case, or that of his
wife's, \\#Ro 4:19\\, and was so far from being staggered through
unbelief at these things, that it was strong in exercise, thereby
glorifying God, the object of it, \\#Ro 4:20\\, nay, it rose up to a
plerophory, a full assurance, \\#Ro 4:21\\, being built upon the power
of a promising God; hence, as before observed, his faith was reckoned
to him for righteousness, \\#Ro 4:22\\, And now in the same way that
he was justified, all his children, his spiritual seed, are justified,
whether they be Jews or Gentiles; for what is said concerning the
imputation of the righteousness of faith to him, does not concern him
only, \\#Ro 4:23\\, but all true believers also; whose faith is
described by the object of it, him that raised up Christ from the
dead, that is, God the Father, \\#Ro 4:24\\, who is supposed hereby to
have been dead, and is represented as the Lord and Saviour of his
people; and of whom a further account is given, \\#Ro 4:25\\, as being
delivered into the hands of men, of justice, and of death, for the
sins of his people, which he took upon him, and bore, and made
satisfaction for, and as being raised again for their justification;
so that this is a benefit owing not to the works of men, but to what
Christ has done and suffered in the room and stead of his people;
which is what the apostle meant to bring this point unto; the blessed
effects and consequences of which he relates in the next chapter.