Romans 5:3-5

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” 

Not only do Christians look forward to our eternal glory with great joy (vs. 2), but we also have joy in our present tribulations and sufferings.  Why?  Because we know that God wastes no tears.  He uses everything in our lives, both good and bad, for our good and his glory.

But there’s more.  Suffering teaches us endurance like nothing else.  Under pressure, we continue to believe.  This endurance then produces character.  It forms us into the image of Christ.  Then this character produces hope.  As we see God working, we know he will continue to work in us.  And this hope never puts us to shame, especially as we ponder God’s judgment day, because through it all God has poured in abundance his deep and abiding love into our hearts.  

We are certain he loves us, even amidst the tough times.  This love is experienced by the presence of the Holy Spirit, God himself, within us.  We know there is nothing we can’t face when God is with us in the loving presence of his Holy Spirit. 

Do you rejoice in your sufferings?  Do you believe that God is with you in them?  Do you believe he’s working through them in ways you can’t understand?  Do you see that in the pain God is giving  you more of himself, more of his love?


Romans 5:2

“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into his grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” 

Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, Christians now have “access” to the Father.  Before our sin kept us from entering into his presence, but now we can go to him any time, any place and ask him anything.  It’s a gift by faith that allows us to secure his grace.

We “stand” in this position before the Father.  It’s a position of eternal security.  It’s a blessed gift because of justification.  It’s now our identity.  Christians are not who we are by what we do but what has been done for us.   

And we rejoice in what awaits us: the glorified state of perfection in heaven.  The very thought of this perfected beauty fills our hearts with joy!  It is an eternal joy that never escapes our thoughts.

Do you know this joy today?


Romans 5:1

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Whenever you see a “therefore” in the Bible you need to know what it’s “there for.”  This “therefore” connects 5:1 with the previous thought.  Christians now have an objective, legal, justified standing before God because of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  We are forgiven.  We are righteous before God, justified by faith.  This is a forever reality.  It is finished, once and for all.

The great gift of God to believers is his wrath is no longer to be poured out on us.  Therefore, Christians have peace with God through Jesus Christ.  It is something felt internally, motivated primarily by his abiding presence.  But it’s also an eternal reality.  God is not angry with us any more.  We need never fear eternal separation from him.  We will be with him always, for all time.  Nothing can ever separate us from his love.

Do you know this peace today because of your justification through Jesus?


Romans 4:25 

“…who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”

Jesus’ death and resurrection are necessary for the forgiveness of our sins.  Both are necessary for our justification before God.  Both are needed to be declared “not guilty” for our sins by God. 

When the Father raised his Son from the grave, it showed that he fully accepted the Son’s sacrifice as total payment for all our sins.  Now, people who have accepted this free gift of eternal life through faith, have the Father’s favor upon our lives.  No longer do we live in fear of his wrath, for his wrath was poured out on his Son, not us.

Since believers’ lives are united with Jesus’ life, that means that when the Father approved of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, he approved of us.  When he accepted his life in resurrection glory, he accepted our lives in resurrection glory.  

This reality allows all who believe in Jesus to be justified before the Father.  That was the point Paul was trying to make. 

Do you believe this today?


Romans 4:24

“It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,…”

If Christians don’t have the resurrection, we are people most to be pitied.  The resurrection is the proof that the cross is sufficient for the forgiveness of our sins.  The resurrection proves God accepted the sacrifice of his Son for our sins to be forgiven.

We are forgiven.  In God’s eyes, Jesus’ death now proves our sins are no longer “counted” against us.  His life now living in us who believe is “counted” to us as righteousness.   

God no longer sees our sins.  They are no longer counted against us.  They are wiped away forever because of Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead.


Romans 4:23

“But the words ‘it was counted to him’  were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also.”

The fact of Genesis 15:6 was not only for Abraham but for us too.  Long before Jesus entered this world, God’s plan of salvation was through faith, not works.  The promise given to Abraham was also given to people living in the new covenant age who trust in Jesus. 

One of the major reasons to believe in the Bible is its amazing unity of themes.  From Genesis to the Gospels to Revelation, a time period that covers almost 1500 years, God’s plan was for all people everywhere to be saved by grace through faith.

Trust God’s Word.  It is true.  Its message of forgiveness through sins by faith gives new life and hope like nothing else.


Romans 4:22

“That is why his faith was counted to him as righteousness.”

Paul is talking about Abraham’s righteousness before God.  That was what Genesis 15:6 clearly stated.  His right standing before God was not given to him because of his works.  It was given simply because he believed God’s promise to him.

We can work as many good works as possible yet still not have enough “counted” by God to declare us righteous.  If we can never do enough good works to be counted as righteous, what is our only other option?  It must be done for us.  God must accomplish the work of salvation for us.  It’s a free gift given to us through Jesus.  His one work on the cross is “counted” to us as righteousness when received by grace through faith, not works. 

Do or done.  Those are the two options for all humans to be righteous before God.  One is achieved by works.  The other is achieved by faith.

Abraham knew the difference between the two. 

Do you?


Romans 4:21

“…fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” 

Abraham was not only convinced that God would keep his promise, he was “fully convinced” that God was able to do so.  It was not a haphazard faith.  His cup of faith was not half-full.  It was completely full. 

God is able to do anything in this world.  He is able to do exceedingly above and beyond what we ever hoped for or imagined.  Nothing is impossible with him.

And if God makes a promise, our job is simply to be “fully convinced.”  It make take some time before the promise is seen.  That’s what happened with Abraham and Sarah’s wait for their son, Isaac.  From the time the promise was made to the time it was ultimately fulfilled was twenty-five years!  But God was faithful.  He did complete the promise.

Do you believe God is able to do anything in your life today?  Does your faith support this promise?


Romans 4:20

“No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”

Abraham refused to let unbelief enter his heart.  He knew how deadly unbelief is.  He would not waver.  He kept his eyes focused on the promises of God.

Therefore, his faith grew stronger and stronger each day, even though his body grew older and older.  He knew that God had given him a promise.  That’s all he needed to know.

There was an evidence to Abraham’s faith becoming stronger by the day.  What was it?  He gave glory to God!  He constantly praised God.  He praised God for what he knew he was going to do.  Though it hadn’t yet happened, he praised God as if it had already happened!

He believed he had received.  Praise proceeded from this faith.

Does this describe your faith today?


Romans 4:19 

“He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.”

Abraham’s faith didn’t weaken when he considered how old his own body was.  It was as good as dead.  He was about one hundred years old.  And Sarah had the same problem, just a few years younger!

Abraham knew this truth: faith can’t be built on circumstances.  It can’t be built on feelings.  Both fluctuate.  Both change regularly.  

Faith can only be built on God’s promises.  They never change.  They come from a God who never changes like the wind or shadows of life.  His compassion is steadfast.

So Abraham clung to God’s promises.  He refused to examine his feelings or circumstances.

As you contemplate God’s promises in your life, is this you?


Romans 4:18

“In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be.’”

God had promised that Abraham would not only have a son and become the father of many nations, but that through this son all the nations of the earth would be blessed.  From a natural perspective, these promises seemed crazy.  Abraham and Sarah were beyond the child-bearing years. 

But Abraham not only believed these promises were true, he hoped they were true.  He hoped against hope they were true.  That’s what God had said.  “So shall your offspring be.”  If God had said it, the promise must be true.  So Abraham believed it to be true.

How is your hope meter today?  Is it low or high?  If you want to follow Abraham’s example, it needs to be high.  No matter how bad his circumstances seemed, he hoped against all hope that God’s promise would come true.

Is this you today?


Romans 4:16 

“That is why it depends on faith, in order that he promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,…”

The “it” to which Paul refers here is a person’s eternal salvation.  It must depend on faith.  The promise Abraham received, and the promises which God  gives to us, must all be by faith through grace.  Faith means trusting explicitly in another person.  Grace means trusting in unmerited favor received from another person.

Therefore, salvation is trusting in God, the giver of everything.  Plus, everything we receive is a gift not earned by works but solely received by his divine favor.  The Jewish “adherent” may receive this gift, as can anyone, anywhere throughout the entire world—as long as they receive it with Abraham’s faith.  That makes him the father of all who believe!

Living solely by grace through faith is God’s way to live.  Does this describe your life today?


Romans 4:15

“For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.”

Here is Paul’s argument: by trying to be righteous by works or the law, you are only inviting God’s wrath.  If you think you are righteous by keeping the law, that means you must keep every iota of the law.  That’s impossible.  That means you fall under God’s judgment and wrath.  Without the law, no one would ever know he’s committed heinous transgressions against God.  There would be no way to discern a need for a Savior.

Paul is also saying that the Jews will be held even more accountable for this truth.  They have the law.  They know how righteous it is.  However, they would also easily know how impossible it is for anyone to keep it.  Above all people, they should know the need for a Savior. 

Being saved by grace through faith should be a freeing piece of good news for us all.  God has done the work for us in Christ.  His wrath was poured out on his Son instead of us.  We are saved!  We are forgiven!

Praise him!


Romans 4:14

“For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.”

Paul continues making his very simple but profound argument.  If the inheritance of eternal life can be attained by works, then it can’t similarly be attained by faith.  They two ideas are diametrically opposed to one another.  They are contrary to one another.  You either have been forgiven by God and declared righteous in his sight by works of the law or by grace through faith.  It can’t be both.  It’s either/or.  One of the other.

By trying to be righteous by works of the law, you are only inviting God’s wrath.  If you think you are righteous by keeping the law, that means you must keep every iota of the law.  That’s impossible.  That means you fall under God’s judgment and wrath.  Without the law, no one would ever know he’s committed heinous transgressions against God.  There would be no way to discern a need for a Savior.

Being saved by grace through faith should be a freeing piece of good news for us all.  God has done the work for us in Christ.  We are saved!  We are forgiven!

Praise him!


Romans 4:13

“For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he wold be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.”

God gave Abraham several extraordinary promises.  He promised a land of Canaan.  He promised a son in his and Sarah’s barrenness.  He promised that through this son the whole world would be blessed. 

How were these promises given to Abraham?  Would they be received by works of the law or simply by believing them to be true?  The answer is obvious.  There was nothing Abraham could do to earn these promises.  They were gifts.  All Abraham was asked to do by God was simply believe God is faithful and will accomplish what he promised to do.

All God’s promises to his children can only be accomplished by grace through faith.  If we could work to achieve them, why does God even need to give them to us?

Faith is the key.  How is your faith today?  Are you clinging to God’s promises no matter what your feelings or circumstances are saying to you?



Romans 4:12

“…and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk int he footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.”

Abraham was the father of the circumcised, the Jews.  But circumcision was never intended by God to be the most important part of his relationship with his people.  It was merely a sign and seal of the promise given to Abraham that he would be his God and he wanted Abraham to be his chosen person and to live by faith, not sight. 

God desired all Jews to walk in Abraham’s faith.  He would then be the father of their faith more than anything else in life.

Father Abraham’s faith is not only something to be followed by the Jews, the circumcised.  But it’s also an example for the Gentiles.  His great faith, believing in God’s promise when everything around him seemed to suggest impossibility, is the kind of faith God wants for all people everywhere.

Is Abraham’s faith your faith today?


Romans 4:11

“He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.  The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,…”

Paul never wanted to say that circumcision was unimportant.  Though it was not necessary for righteousness, it was the sign and seal of Abraham’s righteousness before God.  Though Abraham enjoyed God’s approval and righteousness before being circumcised, circumcision did ratified the promise God had given to him.

Circumcision was an outward sign of the inward reality of God’s forgiveness.  For us, we can have something like a photo of our baptism.  Or a Bible verse we carry in our wallets.  Or a cross we may wear around our neck.  These outward signs aren’t unimportant.

But they are only signs and seals of what should have happened in our hearts: a radical surgery of the old being cut away and a new life of inward grace consuming those who have received God’s righteous gift of forgiveness though Jesus.


Romans 4:10

“How then was it counted to him?  Was it before or after he had been circumcised?  It was not after, but before he was circumcised.”

Paul continues to make his point that Abraham was declared righteous by faith in Genesis 15, then circumcision was given to him as a sign of that relationship in Genesis 17.  Therefore, from the Hebrew Scripture, we clearly see that forgiveness of sins and being declared righteous in God’s sight does not demand any work to be complete, including circumcision. 

Salvation must be solely achieved by grace through faith.  If anyone adds anything to the completed work of Jesus on the cross, it can’t be grace through faith by which this work is accomplished.  Grace plus anything means it’s not grace! 

How deep and wide is the Father’s love for us all!


Romans 4:9 

“Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised?  For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.”

Paul is asking now if this gift of forgiveness is only for those who have been circumcised?  That was a Jewish argument.  But Paul counters that this is implausible thinking.  When God declared Abraham as “righteous” simply because of his faith in Genesis 15:6, that was before God gave him circumcision as the sign of his covenant.  Circumcision didn’t occur until Genesis 17!   

Therefore, not only is circumcision unnecessary in order to receive God’s gift of righteousness but the gift of forgiveness from God is for everyone throughout the world, Jew and Gentile alike!

How great is the Father’s love for all people everywhere!


Romans 4:8 

“…blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Paul is trying to show that God’s gift of forgiveness cannot be by works.  Who could ever do enough to earn God’s favor?  It’s impossible.

Therefore, he uses one of Israel’s most revered characters to prove his point: King David.  After his adultery and murder, he goes to God and asks for forgiveness.  In Romans 4:7-8, Paul quotes from Psalm 32:1-2.  In this psalm, David is crying out to God for forgiveness for his sins.  He says how blessed are those who know their sins are forgiven and the Lord no longer counts his sins against him. 

Here’s Paul’s point: David experienced forgiveness not from any work of the law but simply by crying out to God.  Forgiveness is a free gift from God!  King David knew it.  Now Paul appeals to his readers to know this same truth about forgiveness through Jesus.

It can’t be earned by works.  It must be a free gift given by God through Jesus Christ.