First, grace (God's freely given desire and ability to do His will, Ph. 2:13) called the sinner, a servant of sin, to freedom through faith in Christ, for by grace are ye saved. The sinner serving his master, sin, was headed for death and destruction, but his union through faith to Christ's death and resurrection freed him from his servitude to guilt, temporal power and the eternal hold of sin, damnation. God's Spirit of Grace freely given at conversion provides both the desire and power to do God's good pleasure as revealed in His Word of Truth; grace thus frees the believer from his former master, the lusts of sin, v. 7.
Second, Paul identifies the believer with the risen Christ over Whom sin had no power; therefore, sin has no power over the believer united in Christ through faith, v. 10. (Cf. Gal. 2:20; v. 21, the law could not provide righteousness for the OT saints. (The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law, 1 Co 15:56. The Jews saw justification resulting from obedience to God's law, but obedience could not remove the fear of death brought about by the law; only Christ could remove that fear.)
Third, the sin principle Paul develops is sin's power to cause individuals to follow after corrupt desires contrary to God's Word, v. 12.
Fourth, righteousness, v. 13, has two understandings: first righteousness for eternal life provided only through faith in Christ, and second righteousness, i.e. right living, in this present life resulting from the power of the indwelling Spirit, v. 16. Not only does Paul clearly list God's standard for right living in this life, i.e. righteousness, Rom. 13:8-14, but the Apostle John clearly defines sin as the transgression of the law of righteousness, 1 Jn. 3:4; 5:17. John is dogmatic: if one is righteous/just before God by faith, he will desire to be righteous/just in this life according to God's Commands, 1 Jn. 2:3; 3:24; 5:2, 3; 2 Jn. 1:6. "The inwrought divine will" is not the Christian standard of life; anyone saying he knows God and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 1 Jn. 2:4 (see Jo 8:44).
Fifth, the law of sin is to have no dominion over the believer, v. 14. Its power was broken by the Spirit of Grace through faith in Christ. Moreover, the Spirit of Grace released the believer from guilt, the temporal power and the eternal hold or penalty of sin, hell. Can the believer now say that because the eternal hold of sin is no longer active against him, God's holy law of righteousness no longer applies? GOD FORBID. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good, Rom. 7:12. The law is holy in itself; the fault is in us, the abusers of the law.
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. (Jn. 8:56.) And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Lk. 24:27.)
First, Abraham was not made righteous by works. "Why," Paul points out, "do those proud of their linage to Abraham depend on their deeds according to the law and traditions for righteousness and justification when Abraham did not?"
Second, if Abraham had been justified by works, he would have had grounds for pride, and God would have been debtor to him: there would be no grace. Therefore, faith has always been the grounds for justification, righteousness before God, for God is debtor to no man, Rom. 11:35. James, though, makes it clear that faith, exemplified by Abraham, without works is dead, 2:18. Paul argues against any heretical teaching that the OT saints were justified by the deeds of the law.
Third, God's righteousness by grace - not works - was clearly evident not only in Abraham, but in David. Thus faith resulted in God's righteousness throughout the OT period. The fact that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness is important enough that the Lord said it at least five times, Gen. 15:16; Rom. 4:3, 9; Gal. 3:6; Ja. 2:23.
Fourth, faith for righteousness before God was not restricted to the OT nation of Israel, i.e. the circumcision, and Paul uses Abraham as his proof; Abraham is the father of all them that believe regardless of their physical relationship to him, v. 11. The promise went through the line of faith and grace, through the righteousness of faith, not through the line of the deeds of the law, v. 13.
Fifth, the Lord told His OT people what He thought of those who failed in faith, Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith, Habakkuk 2:4.
V. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (8:3, 4.)
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. (1 Pet. 2:9.)
Christ did not come to bring any new way of righteousness and salvation into the world, but indeed to fulfil that which was shadowed by the figures of the Law, by delivering men through grace from the curse of the Law: and moreover to teach the true use of obedience which the Law appointed, and to engrave in our hearts the power for obedience. (Geneva)
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 Jn. 2:3, 4.) And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. (3:24.) By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (5:2, 3.) And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. (2 Jn. 1:6.)
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Mat. 5:19.)
Printed copies of the above in tract form as the Lord Provides:
Pastor Ovid Need
Linden Baptist Church
P.O. Box 6 (30 Plum St)
Linden, Indiana 47955