Pastor’s Class Notes
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Romans 4:22 “And therefore it was imputed to him for
God is so pleased with faith that He reckons it as unrighteousness. It was the means of salvation for Abraham.
Faith looks past itself and sees only God. Faith allows the Lord to apply His righteousness to our account. Salvation has to be totally of God. We only tend to get in the way. A young man accepted Christ, and shared this testimony regarding his conversion: “God did a part, and I did a part. I opposed God all I could; and He did the rest.”
Look to God for your salvation. He is your only hope. It is impossible to look to God and yourself at the same time. Which one are you looking at for salvation? Abraham looked to God. May the Lord help you to do likewise.
Romans 4:23-24 “Now it was not written for his sake
alone, that it was imputed to him; But
for us also, to whom it shall be
imputed, if we believe on him that
raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.”
The Holy Spirit now leaps to a new time zone. He leaves the ancient for the modern. The leading actor of this chapter has been Abraham, but now center stage belongs to you and me, to all who live at the present time.
What was written about Abraham was written for our benefit. The case of Abraham illustrates what God has in mind for every human being. The patriarch’s case must not be viewed as unique, but rather as an example for us all to follow.
Learn from the example of Abraham! The Old Testament stories are not intended to chronicle history only. Their purpose is not solely to inform us, but also to establish precedents for us to follow. Biblical history teaches us what life ought to be.
If we have the same faith as Abraham, we can have the same righteousness he received. Since all men are equally sinners, the same method of salvation applies to all.
Abraham trusted God based on the resurrection he believed the Lord “would do.” We trust God based on the resurrection God “did do.” There is no salvation apart from belief in the literal resurrection of Jesus. You cannot have a personal relationship with someone you believe to be dead. You must believe that God has raised Jesus from the dead.
I like Paul’s emphasis here on writing. It is ever the written Word that serves as the foundation of our assurance. It is the food that feeds us, the source that enlightens us, the confidence that assures us, the bedrock that supports us.
Romans 4:25a “Who was delivered for our offenses. . . .”
Notice that the verb is passive; God the Father delivered Jesus to death. Men went through the motions of crucifying Jesus, but they were only instruments in the hand of God. He was in complete control at every step of the way.
But why did the Father allow this to be done to the Son? Because Jesus was dying for (on account of) our offenses (transgressions, violations, trespasses). He was paying our sin debt. Do not blame the Jews and Romans for the death of Jesus. Blame yourself! You and I put Him there. He died in our place.
During the hysteria of the Reign of Terror in France, many persons every day were executed by the guillotine. On one occasion a young man was led to the foot of the scaffold among others to die. His father stood by him, and when the son’s name was called, the father stepped forward, ascended the scaffold, and died in his place. Even so, Jesus stepped forward to die in our place. But praise God that is not the end of the story.
Romans 24:25b “. . .and was raised again for our
When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He was referring to the work of redemption. Others thought He was referring to His own life, but His resurrection proved them wrong.
The resurrection is the Father’s way of saying He is completely satisfied with what Jesus accomplished at the cross. Notice that we have another passive verb in this phrase. God the Father delivered Jesus to death; God the Father raised Jesus from the dead.
Christ’s death and resurrection are the two main hinges on which the door of salvation turns. At Calvary Jesus paid it all–at the garden tomb the Father produced a receipt to verify the transaction.
Jesus voluntarily offered to pay our debt. While buried, He was, in a sense, a prisoner in the sate of execution because of the paying off of that debt. But on the third day God discharged the prisoner, thereby proving that divine justice was satisfied.
This truth was well portrayed on the Day of Atonement. On that day the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies with the blood of a sacrificed animal. This was a suspenseful ceremony. The people waited anxiously, because they could be assured of their acceptance by God only if the High Priest returned from the room alive. Even so was it with Jesus. Only when Christ came forth alive was it demonstrated that all was well. Until then, there could be no assurance.
As long as Jesus stayed in the “prison” tomb, there could be no proof that our sin debt had been paid in full. We could not be assured that justification would be a possibility for us.
The ultimate proof that a legal debt has been paid is the release of a criminal from jail. Payment brings liberation. As Thomas Chalmers said,
You know that when the prison door is opened to a criminal, and that by the very authority which lodged him there, it evinces that the debt of his transgression has been rendered, and that he stands acquitted of all its penalties.
Jesus paid the debt. He bore it all. He became sin itself, the embodiment of evil. But His death satisfied all the demands of God against evil. This fact was proven by the resurrection.
The death satisfied God; the resurrection ratified Jesus.