Romans (10): Raised To-Cause Our Justification

Date: 8/17/2008
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Romans 4: An Exposition (10) - Raised To-Cause Our Justification
All Saints * Dr. Gregg Strawbridge * August 17, 2008

Romans 4:17 As it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations.” He is our father in the presence of God whom he believed—the God who makes the dead alive and summons the things that do not yet exist as though they already do. 18 Against hope Abraham in hope believed with the result that he became the father of many nations according to the pronouncement, “so will your descendants be.” 19 Without being sickly in faith, he considered his own body as dead (because he was about one hundred years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 But looking into the promise of God, he did not doubt himself into disbelief but was made strong in faith, yield to God the glory. 21 He was fully convicted that what God promised he was also able to perform. 22 Therefore, it was credited to Abraham as righteousness. 23 But the statement “it was credited to him,” was not written only for Abraham’s sake, 24 but also for our sake, to whom it is going to be credited, those who believe in the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead 25 Who was delivered up be-cause of our transgressions and was raised to-cause our justification. (GS tr.)

The Abrahamic Promise was about _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
The Abrahamic covenant was not to create a “terrestrial people” (Israel) and a “celestial people” (Church) (Scofield, et al) or to make a ghostly set of spirits for a gnostic bliss of anti-creation. Rather, it was to restore God’s good creation, especially His human/bodily image-bearers. Thus, bodily resurrection from death in the world was required for God to bring about redemption. In Abraham’s case, the “resurrection” of life from a dead womb is, like the Land of Promise, an emblem of a future resurrection of all the Seed. Just as the Promised Land turns out to be a Restored World (Rom. 4:13, 19, 8:22-23), so new life in Isaac is a foretaste of resurrection from the dead.

The Abrahamic People would be _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
The whole theme of resurrection is a “last day” (eschate hemera) vindication for the righteous (i.e., Pharisees believed this, Acts 23:8). God promised (e.g., Isaiah 40-55, Ez. 36-37) that the faithful will be raised to life on the last day. The Announcement of the gospel (Rom. 1) has to do with the resurrection which shows Jesus to be Lord. The apostles were “proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” is come (Acts 4:2). What was to happen in the eschaton [future hope] was now brought forward in middle of history. Here justification is not in banking terms (of a transfer of righteousness funds). Paul’s first sermon, includes, “He raised Him from the dead. . . by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:34ff)

The Abrahamic Purpose is _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
The final verse is the summary of all the preceding argument, yet it is poetic, not argumentative. Jesus was “delivered up be-cause of our [the] transgressions and was raised to-cause our [the] justification” (4:25). We gave the sin, we gave the transgressions, and he was executed for us. He gave life, he was raised, and he justified us. The final verse says God intended to justify His people by means of the resurrection of Jesus. His people, finally, are not Torah-ers, but Believ-ers in Jesus. His death and resurrection form the basis for being included in the “righteous people.”

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more