×
Ecclesiastes Podcast

Romans 4:23-25

The Apostle Paul writes to the world-renowned believers in Rome, the center of the world at that time, in order to answer a slanderous charge made to them against Paul and his message. Paul’s detractors claim his emphasis on faith overturns the law. Paul says that ” just living by the law” does not achieve personal justice before God, while “just living by faith” does. Paul then demonstrates what a just life looks like: harmonious living with Jesus as the leader. Paul also makes clear the choice a believer has: to walk in faith and the power of the resurrection and experience resurrection life, or walk in sin and unnecessarily experience the negative consequences.


Paul expands the defense of his gospel against slanderous charges from competing Jewish “authorities” to now include the biblical and Jewish heroes: Abraham and King David. Paul demonstrates that the Bible teaches both Abraham and David were justified before God by faith, and that is the only way any human can be justified before God.


Abraham was credited as righteous because of his faith. If we have faith that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead and that alone can make us right in the sight of God we also will be counted as righteous.

Paul brings the promise to Abraham, the father of all who believe, right to our doorstep. If Abraham is the father of all who believe, then God will give to those who believe in Him the same thing God gave Abraham: God will count the one who believes His promise as righteous before Himself. What exciting news this is, and the news is ancient. This is how God dealt with mankind from the very beginning. God wants us to believe Him.

What specific promise does God want us to believe? The next verse tells us. Abraham believed that his “as good as dead” body could bring new life. God wants us to believe essentially the same thing, that our bodies that are dead in sin (Romans 5:17) can be raised to new life (Romans 3:23-24). If you have trusted anything but the death and resurrection of Jesus to make you just in the presence of God, right now is a time to believe that God is who He says He is, that He came to earth in the form of the human Jesus Christ, lived a perfect life then suffered and died on our behalf.

Here Paul gives the ultimate good news, that God will do for us what He did for Abraham. Abraham simply believed God and God “counted” Abraham as righteous (verse 23). This is such good news because, as Paul has made clear, there is no way to become righteous before God on our own. It is popular in some circles to refer to “paths to God” and discuss whether there are many or one. But this letter of Paul to the Romans makes clear that there are no paths to God. There is no way for any person to bridge the gap between us and God. There is no way for us to do enough good to stand justified in the presence of God.

That is why Jesus had to become a human Himself. Jesus took on all our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21) so that we could become righteous. The way this occurs is simply for us to believe that God came as a man, died on our behalf, and rose from the dead in victory over sin and death. The promise of God is that if we believe His promise to us of forgiveness and a new life, then God will grant it to us, He will “count” us righteous just as He did for Abraham.

Jesus left heaven, became a man, and came to earth to die on our behalf. His resurrection is what allows us to be justified before God when we believe. Jesus was in heaven and was equal with God, but did not hoard that privilege. Instead, Jesus set that aside to take on the form of a human (Philippians 2:5-8) and learn obedience, even to death on the cross. This was necessary because of our “trespasses.” This is the same word used by Paul in Romans 5:15 to describe Adam’s sin against God. Paul has already clearly laid out the plight of humanity, that every one of us has sinned, every one of us has done something wrong; we have done something selfish, hurtful, or false (Romans 3:9-25). Jesus was “delivered up” to death on the cross to redeem us from our sins. Jesus did this through His own choice, His own obedience.

Thankfully, the story does not stop there. Jesus also rose from the dead. His raising from the dead justified us before God. We are raised to walk in newness of life by believing. We are made new creations in Christ by the resurrection power of Jesus (Romans 8:10-11). The next two verses in this letter to the Romans (5:1-2) discuss the new life we live, the life under God’s grace, by faith, so in the verse preceding it (verse 25), Paul concludes the topic of our justification in the presence of God. He summarizes Christ’s legacy, “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification” (verse 25). The first four chapters of this letter have dealt with out eternal justification: our renewed relationship with God, our justified standing in God’s presence (accomplished by Christ’s sacrifice and our faith in His death and resurrection), saving us from Hell. Christ died for our sins, and was raised from the dead to give us a new way of living, a resurrection life. In this resurrection life, we can live out our faith here and now, resulting in earthly justification, which is righteousness, right living, and harmonious living. Our eternal destiny is sealed, we are saved by faith in Christ, but now our continued earthly existence can and should adhere to God’s will. We are not only justified for eternity, we are now called to live out our justification here on earth. We have the power to live this resurrection life. In Chapters 5-8, Paul discusses this new life for believers, a life that imitates Christ’s obedience to God, all by continued faith in God.

Biblical Text

23 Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.