Not the Law but the Promise
Topic: AM Service Passage: Romans 4:13–4:17
The Apostle Paul continues to press home the point in his letter to the Romans that there are two contradictory, opposite ways to look for salvation – either salvation is by faith, or it is by works. Either we can try to be right with God by fulfilling the demands of the law, or we can receive God’s grace by faith and be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. There is no middle way; there is no combination of these two ways that can be cobbled together. The life and experience of Abraham provide us with perspective on the incompatible nature of law (works) and promise (grace). It is not just that salvation by works is hard (impossible, really). It is that if we believe we can be saved by works we make God’s promise of no effect and bring down wrath on ourselves. That is why Paul tells us that it is “Not the Law but the Promise” that we must seek (Romans 4:13-17).
I. Why Not the Law?
A. The Law Cannot Bring the Inheritance
B. The Law Makes the Promise Useless
C. The Law Brings Wrath
II. Why Faith?
A. Faith is Consistent with the Promise
B. Faith Guarantees the Promise
C. Faith Opens the Promise to All
III. Faith in Whom?
A. The God Who Gives Life
B. The God Who Brings His Will to Pass
Questions for consideration: (1) If the law cannot bring what we need (the inheritance) why is that we continue to seek justification by law? (2) What is it that causes you most to struggle with assurance of salvation? (3) What kinds of “faith” are you tempted to have that is not a specific faith in the revealed character and actions of God?