In our journey through the book of Romans, we’ve been seeing that we can’t work for righteousness. It can only come as we put our faith in Christ.
Paul uses the life of Abraham as an example to us. He is aptly called the father of our faith. Now Paul brings us another step further along this path.
It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.
The apostle now uses a new word. This is the first time, in the book of Romans, that Paul mentions the promise.
This is an important word. It literally means an announcement. However, a promise from God is not like a promise we’re used to receiving.
For us, a promise is based upon mistrust. You don’t believe me so I try to gain your trust by saying, “I promise.”
God, on the other hand, makes an announcement of His intentions (We call it a “promise”). It is absolute truth. It’s now up to you whether you believe His Word or not.
The good news is that now, all of God’s promises are fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Because of His work on the cross, Christ has fulfilled the requirements for the promises. This teaching is carried on throughout the New Testament. It’s not just a verse pulled out of context, but a scriptural theme that has been all but ignored by the church.
Paul continues with this thought.
For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.
This is a foundational passage in our knowledge of how the promises are obtained in Christ. The blessing is received, not by my working to do the requirements, but by faith in the One who has already fulfilled them.
This truth is not only given to us by Paul, but also by Peter as well.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
2 Peter 1:3-4
The phrase, through these, obviously refers to the glory and goodness of God, not our works of righteousness. According to this verse, the reason God blesses us is so that we might actually be participants, sharers, in His divine nature. You will not find the call for us to fulfill the requirements of the promises anywhere in the New Covenant.
If that’s true, then what are the promises for? We can look at it this way; each promise has two halves. There are the requirements and the blessing.
According to the New Testament, Jesus came to fulfill the requirements of the promises. Because of His finished work on the cross, we receive the blessing of the promise because we’re in Him.
Question: Why is it so hard for us to accept that Christ has finished this work on the cross?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi