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Geneva Study Notes
Romans Chapter 4

Romans 4:1
4:1 What {1} shall we then say that Abraham our father, as
    pertaining to the {a} flesh, hath found?

 (1) A new argument of great weight, taken from the example of
     Abraham the father of all believers: and this is the
     proposition: if Abraham is considered in himself by his
     works, he has deserved nothing with which to rejoice with
     God.
     (a) By works, as is evident from the next verse.

Romans 4:2
4:2 {2} For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath
    [whereof] to glory; but not before God.

 (2) A preventing of an objection.  Abraham may well rejoice and
     extol himself among men, but not with God.

Romans 4:3
4:3 {3} For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and
    it was counted unto him for righteousness.

 (3) A confirmation of the proposition: Abraham was justified by
     imputation of faith, and therefore freely, without any
     regard being give to his works.

Romans 4:4
4:4 {4} Now to him that {b} worketh is the reward not {c}
    reckoned of grace, but of debt.

 (4) The first proof of the confirmation, taken from opposites:
     to him who deserves anything by his labour, the wages are
     not counted as favour, but as debt: but to him that has
     done nothing but believe in him who freely promises, faith
     is imputed.
     (b) To him that has deserved anything from his work.
     (c) Is not reckoned or given to him.

Romans 4:5
4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that {d}
    justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for
    righteousness.

    (d) That makes him who is wicked in himself to be just in
        Christ.

Romans 4:6
4:6 {5} Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the
    man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

 (5) Another proof of the same confirmation: David puts
     blessedness as a part of the free pardon of sins, and
     therefore justification also.

Romans 4:9
4:9 {6} [Cometh] this {e} blessedness then upon the circumcision
    [only], or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that
    faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

 (6) A new proposition: that this manner of justification
     belongs both to uncircumcised and also to the circumcised,
     as is declared in the person of Abraham.
     (e) This saying of David, in which he pronounces them as
         blessed.

Romans 4:10
4:10 {7} How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision,
     or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in
     uncircumcision.

 (7) He proves that it belongs to the uncircumcised (for there
     was no doubt of the circumcised) in this way: Abraham was
     justified in uncircumcision, therefore this justification
     belongs also to the uncircumcised.  Nay, it does not belong
     to the circumcised, in respect of the circumcision, much
     less are the uncircumcised shut out from it because of
     their uncircumcision.

Romans 4:11
4:11 {8} And he received the {f} sign of circumcision, a {g}
     seal of the righteousness of the faith which [he had yet]
     being uncircumcised: {9} that he might be the father of all
     them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that
     righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

 (8) A preventing of an objection: why then was Abraham
     circumcised, if he was already justified?  That the gift of
     righteousness (he says) might be confirmed in him.
     (f) Circumcision, which is a sign: as we say the "ordinance
         of baptism", for "baptism", which is a ordinance.
     (g) Circumcision was previously called a sign, with respect
         to the outward ceremony. Now Paul shows the force and
         substance of that sign. That is, to what end it is
         used, that is, not only to signify, but also to seal up
         the righteousness of faith. By this we come to
         possess Christ himself: for the Holy Spirit works that
         inwardly indeed, which the ordinances being joined with
         the word, represent.
 (9) An applying of the example of Abraham to the uncircumcised
     believers, whose father he also makes Abraham.

Romans 4:12
4:12 {10} And the father of circumcision to them who are not of
     the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of
     that faith of our father Abraham, which [he had] being
     [yet] uncircumcised.

 (10) An applying of the same example to the circumcised
      believers, whose father is Abraham, but yet by faith.

Romans 4:13
4:13 {11} For the promise, that he should be the {h} heir of the
     world, [was] not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the
     {i} law, but through the righteousness of faith.

 (11) A reason why the seed of Abraham is to be considered to be
      by faith, because Abraham himself through faith was made
      partaker of the promise by which he was made the father of
      all nations.
      (h) That all the nations of the world should be his
          children: or by the "world" may be understood the land
          of Canaan.
      (i) For works that he had done, or upon this condition,
          that he should fulfil the Law.

Romans 4:14
4:14 {12} For if they which are of the {k} law [be] heirs, faith
     is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

 (12) A double confirmation of that reason: the one is that the
      promise cannot be apprehended by the law, and that if it
      could it would be made of no effect: the other, that the
      condition of faith would be joined in vain to the promise
      if it could be apprehended by works.
      (k) If they are heirs who have fulfilled the law.

Romans 4:15
4:15 {13} Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is,
     [there is] no transgression.

 (13) A reason of the first confirmation, why the promise cannot
      be apprehended by the law: because the law does not
      reconcile God and us, but rather proclaims his anger
      against us, because no man can fully keep it.

Romans 4:16
4:16 {14} Therefore [it is] of faith, that [it might be] by
     grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the {l}
     seed; {15} not to that only which is of the law, but to
     that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the
     father of us all,

 (14) The conclusion of this argument: the salvation and
      justification of the posterity of Abraham (that is, of the
      Church which is composed of all believers) proceeds from
      faith which lays hold on the promise made to Abraham, and
      which promise Abraham himself first of all laid hold on.
      (l) To all the believers.
 (15) That is to say, not only of those who believe and are also
      circumcised according to the law, but of those also who
      without circumcision and with respect of faith only, are
      counted among the children of Abraham.

Romans 4:17
4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a {16} father of many
     nations,) before him whom he believed, [even] {m} God, who
     {n} quickeneth the dead, and {o} calleth those things which
     be not as though they were.

 (16) This fatherhood is spiritual, depending only upon the
      power of God, who made the promise.
      (m) Before God, that is by membership in his spiritual
          family, which has a place before God, and makes us
          acceptable to God.
      (n) Who restores to life.
      (o) With whom those things are already, which as yet are
          not indeed, as he can with a word make what he wishes
          out of nothing.

Romans 4:18
4:18 {17} Who against hope believed in hope, that he might
     become the father of many nations, according to that which
     was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

 (17) A description of true faith wholly resting in the power of
      God, and his good will, set forth in the example of
      Abraham.

Romans 4:19
4:19 And being {p} not weak in faith, he considered not his own
     body now {q} dead, when he was about an hundred years old,
     neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb:

     (p) Very strong and steadfast.
     (q) Void of strength, and unfit to have children.

Romans 4:20
4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief;
     but was strong in faith, giving {r} glory to God;

     (r) Acknowledged and praised God, as most gracious and
         true.

Romans 4:21
4:21 And being {s} fully persuaded that, what he had promised,
     he was able also to perform.

     (s) A description of true faith.

Romans 4:23
4:23 {18} Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was
     imputed to him;

 (18) The rule of justification is always the same, both in
      Abraham, and in all the faithful:  that is to say, faith
      in God, who after there was made a full satisfaction for
      our sins in Christ our mediator, raised him from the dead,
      that we also being justified, might be saved in him.

Romans 4:25
4:25 Who was delivered for our {t} offences, and was raised
     again for our justification.

     (t) To pay the ransom for our sins.



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