WHAT HATH ABRAHAM FOUND?
Romans 4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
The Apostle Paul is teaching the believers in Rome of the great work of the Lord God in the salvation of the lost soul. And he goes back to the man Abraham, whom he calls, “the father of us all,” in order to reveal that God’s way of saving Abraham is the way of salvation for every sinner. Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; 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,
For everyone born of the Holy Spirit are all birthed in the exact same way. And it is a way of sovereign and free grace. John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Therefore this way which “Abraham Found” in his regeneration is the exact same way all of God’s believers are brought into salvation.
First of all we find Abram living in the Ur of the Chaldees with the rest of his family of unbelievers. Genesis 11:28 And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. 31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.
And before any of the redeemed were born into the family of God, they were all born of the flesh, or of the natural man. John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. In our natural birth we were all without God, and without hope in this world!
Secondly, we learn that his family and community were idol worshippers. Joshua 24:2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. 3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
Joshua 24:14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. 15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Prior to our own regeneration we were like the woman at the well to whom the Lord said, “Ye worship ye know not what.” We were led about by the powers of darkness before the Lord brought us into his kingdom by the new birth. Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Thirdly, We learn that Abraham was not a Jew! The first time the word “Jew” is mentioned in the Bible is in Ester 2:5. Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;
Abraham was a Hebrew. Genesis 14:13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram. He was of the lineage of Shem, a son of Noah. And one of his ancestors was named “Eber.” Genesis 10:21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. 11:10 These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood: 11:26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
And that word “Eber” is also translated as “Heber” in 1 Chronicles 5:13, and 8:22. We also find it in the Greek listed in Luke3:35 as “Heber.”
It is also worth our attention to read the scripture’s clear definition of one who is not a Jew, and also what the description of the Jew really is. This is found in this same book of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans. Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. 1 Samuel 16:7 …for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
Therefore the Jews come from a Gentile. For just as Abraham was the father of Ishmael who brought in a nation of twelve tribes, so he was the father of Isaac, who was also used to bring in the nation of Israel with its twelve tribes. Genesis 17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. (See also Genesis 25:12-18)
Fourthly, we are clearly taught that Abram was then an uncircumcised Gentile. Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How was it then reckoned? (Or how was faith credited?) when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
Circumcision is now spiritually accomplished by the operation of the Spirit of God, separating the natural, fleshly man from the new-born, spiritual believer. Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Attempting to approach the Lord God by physical works of religion (including natural circumcision), will make the atoning work of Christ to be without profit. Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Galatians 5:2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
1 Corinthians 7:18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. Galatians 6:12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
And fifthly, Abraham was saved by free grace alone. Romans 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; 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, 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
But then what does James mean concerning Abraham being justified by works? James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Clearly he does not mean that Abraham, or any other believer, was ever accepted by God on the basis of his own works! (Recall the Titus 3:5 verse listed in the previous column.) In reading the following verses we see that he was speaking of works as the EVIDENCE of Abraham’s faith and not the CAUSE of it! James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Salvation is evidenced by works of righteousness, not just by rehearsed and memorized religious words! It is a matter of “doing truth,” not just speaking truths! John 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Abraham was given a specific issue of faith. 1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; (That is, a specific issue of faith.) For we read of the various personal and specific issue’s of faith given to the individual believers listed in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. And of Abraham we read in Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
There is a vast difference between works in order to obtain salvation and works that extend from salvation. The Apostle Paul writes of this in his letter to the Ephesians. He clearly reveals the difference by his phrases, “not of works,” and “unto good works.” Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Take good notice that the “good works” which are manifest from the elect believer are also “before ordained” in order to manifest that one is a believer by his walking in them. Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The Apostle Peter states that it is by doing the works of the indwelling Holy Spirit that evidences ones election! 2 Peter 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul writes of these same matters to the Galatians. Galatians 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
There are not two churches. There are not two ways of faith. The believing Jew is no different from the believing Gentile. Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Pastor Gene Breed
July 22, 2020