Righteous or Wages Owed


Intro story-Guys testimony

That man was made righteous the moment he believed God is who He says He is

He knew that God could redeem him

He wasn’t made righteous by the act of placing his drugs on the altar

He believed God, was made righteous then immediately laid down his addiction in an act of faith and has been living for the Lord since that day

Romans 4:1-12

4 What then shall we say that Abraham our father[a] has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was [b]accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted [c]as grace but as debt.

5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:

7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,

And whose sins are covered;

8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”

9 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. 10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. 11 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 righteousness might be imputed to them also, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.

Pauls audience were Jews and Gentiles at the moment

Jewish leaders at the time would teach justification by works

That’s why paul is using the reference of Abraham in the old testament

He is showing the jewish rabbis through it, that Abraham was justified by faith in God and not by works

Abraham Is called the father of faith because “he believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness”

Abraham did many good works that men would boast about and commend

Jewish leaders would proudly proclaim the direct lineage of Abraham and boast about being physical descendants

They thought just because they were direct descendants that it gave them special favor and merit with God as if through Abraham they were made righteous

They thought through association they were justified in the eyes of God

They would even teach, even though wrongly, that their offspring was automatically justified and made righteous by default

Paul was letting them know that righteousness is not inherited

It is not gained by good works either

It cant be obtained by keeping the law, religious ceremonies, or passed down from a parent

Righteousness is only obtained by believing God is who He says He is

It is gained through faith by believing Jesus Christ did everything on the cross

We are not justified by any work that we could ever do or by our own merit

But by faith alone

Romans 4:2

For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God

Abraham did many good works that gained the favor of man

The works he did gained mans approval

But that’s not what justified him in the eyes of God

Men thought Abraham was justified and made righteous by his works

And in the eyes of men, his works are what justified him

But good works aren’t what justifies us with God, Its our faith

Abraham did many incredible works including almost sacrificing his son

Known as one of the most faithful moments he had with God

But even before those works Abraham was made righteous

God declared Abraham righteous way back in genesis 15

He had left his birthplace, listened the voice of God and believed Him

Genesis 15:4-6

And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6 And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

Abraham was justified by God and made righteous through faith alone

There is no lineage, good work, or by the works of the law that will make you any more righteous in the eyes of God

Romans 4:3

For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was [b]accounted to him for righteousness.”

He believed God

He believed God will do what He says he will do

He fully submitted to God through his faith in Him

Abraham trusted God and His word to him

He fully rested on the character of God

And it was credited to him as righteousness

We need to be people who fully believe God is who He says He is

There has been times in my life where God has spoken directly to me and I had the choice to believe Him or ignore Him

Story: Youth Pastor

I fully believed God and what He said came to be true

Maybe you haven’t heard directly from God about something in your life

But there is plenty of things God has spoken to you through His Word

We must believe who He says He is and be made righteous

We are made righteous by believing in Jesus Christ

If we trust in Him and fully believe we are justified

You will never be able to work for your salvation

It would be meaningless to even try

You might gain recognition before men but there is nothing you can do to earn your salvation

If you try to work for your righteousness it will be counted as debt, not grace

Romans 4:4

Now to him who works, the wages are not counted [c]as grace but as debt.

Paul is making the clear distinction that salvation is a gift of Gods grace and not by the works of the law

Salvation has nothing to do with us or what we can do, but by the work that had already been done on the cross by Jesus

Salvation is a free gift

We can not add to it by any of our own acts

We can never earn it

We are only declared righteous by our belief in Him

And not by the works of our hands

If we were able to work for our salvation then it would be considered a payment for our labor and not a gift from God

Similar to wages owed out of obligation by an employer

When we work for our employer they pay us based on the work we have done

They aren’t freely giving us money

We have earned that money

Illustration-Trying to get money

The employer is not just going to give you what you didn’t work for

You will only get what you are owed

Its not a gift, its your wages

If we were to get what we were owed by God it would be death

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the [a]gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A works based salvation would result in God paying you what you were owed

You would have to be able to keep the full law, which is impossible

That was shown throughout the whole bible

If we could earn it with our own merit, there would be no need for the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross

No work could ever come close to that

Because are own righteousness in the eyes of the Lord are filthy rags

Isaiah 64:6

But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like [
a]filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.

We are justified by faith alone in Jesus Christ

Who lived a sinless life and was crucified so we could be righteous before God

Romans 4:5-8

But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:

7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,

And whose sins are covered;

8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”

If you believe God you will be made righteous

God is the same everyday

He doesn’t change

If he made Abraham and David righteous because they believed God, He will do it for you

I often hear people say they wish more people had faith like Abraham or David

Well guess what you can

Believe God

These guys were normal people, like you and I

They aren’t super human

They both sinned

Abraham lied 2 times to kings and said his wife was his sister so he wouldn’t be killed

He slept with his wifes maidservant and even had a child with her

David lusted, lied, committed adultery, then had the womans husband killed in the frontlines of a battle

These guys were just as human as us, yet they were declared righteous by God

Because they believed God for who he was

They didn’t make up a god in their head to fit their needs

They didn’t try to manipulate scriptures to benefit their lifestyle

They simply believed God

The same goes for us

We cant twist scripture for personal gain and think God will be ok with it

He truly knows our heart

We cant turn God into something He is not

We have His word and we must believe Him and obey His words

Don’t try to find a work around to what He says

That’s the same as making an idol

Believe Him and only Him

Im going to show you through scripture who God is

Im using a lot of scripture because there is no better way than the word to explain Him

Most of the scriptures are going in the order of the books of the bible

Except this verse that I wanted to focus on

God appeared to moses in the burning bush to tell him that he would lead his people out of Egypt

Exodus 3:14-15

13 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”

14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

The phrase I am who I am in Hebrew translated is ehyeh asher ehyeh

The word ehyeh is the first person common singular of the verb to be

It was used in many normal situations

Like “I am watching sheep”

“I am walking down the road”

Or I am his father

But when used as a stand alone description “I am”  is an ultimate statement that God is self sufficient

Hes always existed, it is not contingent on anyone else

He is promising that He will be who He will be

He is the eternal God, He never changes, Hes always existed

He is completely sufficient in Himself and He will do what He wills to do and accomplish whatever His will would be

God is I am

  • God is the Creator : Genesis 1:1 ESV

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

  • He is the everlasting God: Genesis 21:33 ESV

Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God.

  • He is our gracious redeemer: Exodus 34:6-7 ESV

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands,[a] forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

  • He is not a man: Numbers 23:19 ESV

God is not man, that he should lie,
    or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
    Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

  • He is a covenant keeper: Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

  • He keeps His promises: 1 Kings 8:56 ESV

“Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant.

  • He knows your heart: 2 Chronicles 6:30 ESV

then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways, for you, you only, know the hearts of the children of mankind,

  • He will not forsake you: Psalms 9:10 ESV

And those who know your name put their trust in you,
    for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

  • He is righteous: Psalms 11:7 ESV

For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

  • He is your Shepherd: Psalms 23:1 ESV

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

  • He is your salvation: Psalms 27:1 ESV

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold[a] of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

  • He forgives, Heals, and redeems: Psalm 103:1-5 ESV

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

  • He is wisdom and understanding: Proverbs 3:19 ESV

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens;

  • He does not change: Malachi 3:6 ESV

For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

  • Nothing is impossible for Him: Luke 18:27 ESV

But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

  • He is spirit: John 4:24 ESV

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

  • He is the only wise God: Romans 16:27 ESV

to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

  • He is immortal: 1 Timothy 1:17 ESV

To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.[a] Amen.

  • He is not a liar: Titus 1:2 ESV

in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began

  • God is light: 1 John 1:5 ESV

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

  • God is love: 1 John 4:8 ESV

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

  • He is Alpha and Omega: Revelation 1:8 ESV

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

  • He is almighty: Revelation 19:6 ESV

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

For the Lord our God
    the Almighty reigns.

This isn’t even every scripture that explains who God is

The whole bible shows who He is and explains His character

You must read the word and know God yourself and who He says He is

Know who He is, believe Him and be made righteous, or you will get your wages owed

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