Subject 9 : Romans (Commentaries on the Book of Romans)

[Chapter 4-1] Introduction to Romans Chapter 4

In Romans 4:6-8 Paul talks about the blessed people before God. A person who has been truly blessed in front of God is one whose lawless deeds are forgiven and whose sins are covered. So Paul declares, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin” (Romans 4:8).
Then Paul introduces Abraham as being a blessed person. Using Abraham as a typical person in the Bible, Paul explains what the true and blessed faith is. Abraham would have something to boast about if his own works had justified him, but in reality, it wasn’t like that. The righteousness of God he obtained was possible only by believing in God’s words.
The Bible indicates that the faith by which one can become righteous and blessed is the naïve faith in God’s words just like the faith of Abraham. In this chapter, Paul the Apostle talks about how one can obtain God’s righteousness in one’s heart by believing in His words.
There is no one who never sin at all while living on earth. Moreover, we people commit as much sin as a thick cloud covering the sky. In Isaiah, it is written that our sins and transgressions are like thick clouds (Isaiah 44:22). So, there is no one among all of mankind who can escape from God’s judgment without believing in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
The baptism Jesus received and His blood on the Cross fulfilled God’s righteousness. Everyone commits sins; both the born again and the non-born again commit sins with their flesh without exception. Moreover, we commit sins that we are not even aware of and therefore, we were destined to be judged for those sins.
One should keep in mind that if a person has even the slightest bit of sin, he/she has to die in front of God’s justice. It was said in the Bible that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and we should therefore understand and believe in God’s law. We must pay the price of the sins we have committed with our minds and deeds, and only when we have paid off all the wages of sin will the problem of sin be settled. On the other hand, no matter how hard we try, if we still don’t pay the price of sin, the issue of the judgment of sin will not come to an end. What we should know is that even a person who believes in Jesus, yet has sin, will be judged of his/her own sins.
We live in this world that is flooded with all kinds of sins: big and small, perceived and unperceived, willingly and inevitably. We cannot but admit the fact that we should be condemned to death on account of our own sin according to God’s law, “The wages of sin is death.”
If one wishes to get all his/her sins covered, he/she should receive the remission of sin by believing in the righteousness of God, which comes of the water, the blood and the Holy Spirit. One who has obtained the remission of sin by believing in God’s righteousness is able to and has proper qualifications to offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually for He has taken over all the sins by the baptism and the blood. Since our Lord had already taken over all the sins of the world, including my cloud-like sins, by His baptism, blood and resurrection, we therefore come to give thanks before the Lord who has given us eternal lives.
If Jesus Christ had not taken over all the sins at the Jordan River by getting baptized by John and dying on the Cross, we would have paid the wages of death by going to hell. How can we praise Him, if He hadn’t blotted out all our sins completely? Would it be possible for us to praise God’s name whenever we come before our Holy and Sacred God if our hearts were full of sin? Could we really offer the sacrifice of praise to His righteousness saying, “He has forgiven all our sins!” when we still had sin in our heart? No.
But now, we can praise Him in His righteousness. All of this has been possible because we believe in the gift of God’s righteousness, which we have been clothed with.

Paul said that we have obtained the righteousness of God by believing in what God has done 

“What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (Romans 4:1-5).
Here, Paul explains how to be justified by taking Abraham as an example. It is reasonable for one to receive his/her appropriate wage for his/her work. However, it is entirely God’s gift and not the wage for our works that we were made to become righteous by being born again, without doing any good or living perfect lives before God.
Paul the Apostle said, “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.” This talks about how a sinner obtained salvation from sin through the baptism of Jesus Christ and His sacrificial blood. This salvation was given as a blessed gift for the remission of sin to all who believe in God’s righteousness.
The salvation of a sinner is the unconditional gift given by God’s righteousness. One who has been born a sinner has no other choice than to sin, and he/she has no other choice than to confess to God that he/she is inevitably a sinner. The sins of such a sinner cannot disappear just because he/she diligently says prayers of repentance by believing some prevailing Christian doctrines.
A sinner cannot boast about his/her own righteousness before God. “We are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). So, a sinner has no other choice than to believe in God’s righteousness, which was fulfilled by our Lord’s baptism at the Jordan River and His atoning death on the Cross. Only then can one be forgiven for all one’s sins by the faith in God’s righteousness. There is nothing more a sinner can do in order to obtain God’s righteousness. Your remission of sin can only be obtained by believing in God’s righteousness.
All sinners are able to find His righteousness through Jesus Christ’s baptism and His atoning blood on the Cross. Therefore, it is the faith in God’s righteousness that makes it possible for a sinner to obtain salvation from sin. This is the truth. This is the gift of God’s righteousness.

Paul the Apostle talks about how sinners obtain salvation from all sins

Paul explains this by using Abraham as a typical example. “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.” Paul the Apostle is saying that one cannot obtain God’s righteousness by doing a certain kind of lawful deed. The only way we can obtain God’s righteousness is by believing in His righteous words of the spiritual circumcision.
God’s righteousness is the truth that cannot be obtained by human efforts or deeds. The gift of God’s righteousness was as follows: You and I were people who were destined to enter eternal destruction, but our Savior Jesus Christ took over all the sins through His baptism, given by John at the Jordan River. He then bore all of the sins on His back to the Cross, where He paid all the wages of sins with His blood. Jesus thereby fulfilled all of God’s righteousness. All His righteous deeds had completed God’s righteousness that saved sinners from eternal death.
Those who believe in the words of God can obtain Gods’ righteousness!
Verse 5 states, “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”
In this part, Paul the Apostle explains the way to God’s righteousness by using the ‘ungodly’ as an example. ‘The ungodly’ are those who are not only fearless of God, but also commit dissolute sins throughout their lives. God’s words that say all people were born as ‘masses of sin’ are certainly right. Moreover, it is also right that the true nature of humankind is that they have no other choice than to sin until they receive God’s fearful judgment. However, if God calls us, the ungodly, as sinless and accounts our faiths for righteousness, what else could make this possible except God’s righteousness?
Our Lord speaks to us, the ungodly: The Lord Himself had to get baptized at the Jordan River by John the Baptist, the last High Priest of the Old Testament, to take over all the sins of the world. He also had to pay the wages of our sins with His atoning bloodshed at the Cross to fulfill His words, “The wages of sin is death.” Do you believe that Jesus Christ paid off the wages of all our sins with God’s righteousness, by the baptism He received and His blood on the Cross? God accounts the faith of those who believe in His righteousness for righteousness. This is not an obstinate insistence but a fact made up of the fair righteousness of God.
Therefore, to a person who believes in God’s righteousness, God the Father says, “Right, you are my people. You do believe in My righteousness. Now you are My child. You are sinless. Why? Because I have made you sinless by taking over all your sins by My Son’s baptism and His blood! He also paid the price of your sins with His bloodshed according to the words, ‘the wages of sin is death.’ He rose again from the dead for you. He is therefore your Savior and God. Do you believe in this?”
“Yes, I am.” Then He will continues, “I gave you My righteousness, completed by the righteous deeds of My Son. You have now become My child, I have adopted you with the water and blood of My Son.”
All of mankind is ungodly before God. However, our Lord Jesus took over all the sins of the ungodly─both the sins we have already committed and the sins we will commit in the future─at once by the baptism John gave Him. Moreover, God clothed all those who believe in God’s righteousness with His righteousness and thereby saved them from all their sins. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27). Now the question is whether we truly believe in God’s word with our hearts or not. We become righteous if we believe, but if we don’t, we come to lose God’s righteousness.

Even the ungodly in the sight of God…
Even to those who are ungodly before God, He promised that His righteousness would become theirs if they only believe that Jesus took over the sins of the world at once by getting baptized at the Jordan River. God actually gave His righteousness to every believer. Anyone who believes in God’s righteousness receives salvation from all the sins of this world. Our Father God told those believers in His righteousness that they are His children. “Yes, now you are sinless. My Son Jesus saved you from all your sins. You are righteous. You have been saved from all yours sins.”
Even if we are not ungodly, God seals His righteousness on us to confirm that we are righteous. God’s righteousness is eternal. Lord Jesus has truly done the right job for all mankind. The people of this world were saved from all the sins of this world by God’s righteousness. God accounts the souls of the ungodly as sinless by looking at their faiths in His righteousness. “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin,” because he has acquired the blessing of God’s righteousness by faith.
God asks us, “Are you godly?” Then, we admit the fact that we are ungodly in the sight of God. When we acknowledge this fact, we come to be thankful that Jesus got baptized for the sinners, shed His blood on the Cross, and that it was God’s righteousness that took over the sins of the world; not our own efforts. However, if we think that we are people who can obey the law very well, we can never be as thankful nor have faith in His righteousness.
One who believes in God’s righteousness that “justifies the ungodly,” he/she comes to obtain His righteousness as a gift. God’s righteousness will be given as a gift those who believe in the redemption and judgment of Jesus Christ, but to those who do not believe in God’s righteousness, all of God’s blessing and grace will remain locked.
Even to a born-again righteous person, the righteousness of God that was established by Jesus is essential day in and day out, since even we who believe in God’s righteousness are people who cannot help but sin everyday while living in this world. Therefore, we need to remind ourselves of the joyful news of God’s righteousness every day that Jesus took over all the sins by His baptism and His blood on the Cross. Every time we hear the joyful news, it refreshes our souls and reinforces our hearts with overflowing strength. Do you now understand the passage, “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness”? This Scripture talks to all the people in this world.
The Bible talks in detail about how one can obtain God’s righteousness through Abraham’s example. However, it was said that one “who works” confronts God, rather than to be thankful for God’s salvation. One “who works” does not believe in God’s righteousness and thus, is not thankful. What verse 4 says is that a person who tries to go to Heaven by doing good deeds for him/herself does not need God’s righteousness.
Why? Because there is no righteousness of God to be found since he/she tries to wash his/her sins by doing good deeds and saying prayers of repentance everyday for him/herself. Such a person does not want to accept God’s righteousness thoroughly because the person does not willingly cast aside his/her own seemingly virtuous deeds. Rather, through prayers of repentance, he/she tries to earn the salvation of his/her own soul while crying and fasting. Therefore, God’s righteousness is given only to those who truly believe in His righteous words.
To him who works, the wages are not counted as gifts!
“But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5).
Brethren, this scripture is related to a person who acknowledges God and who believes in God’s words just like Abraham. We believe in the Lord of salvation who saved the ungodly. There are two kinds of Christian believers in this world. In verse 4, there comes one “who works,” and such a person does not regard God’s salvation as a gift, but as debt. Because such people want to be recognized for their virtuous deeds in front of God after believing in Jesus, they are apt to refuse the salvation of God’s righteousness. What kind of your sacrifice, do you think, is needed in receiving God’s righteousness?
If you walk before God by holding on to your good deeds, you just become a sinner by not having obtained the righteousness of God. Did you know that the Doctrine of Sanctification, which most Christians support, induces them to excessively do virtuous deeds, turning them into God’s enemies by confronting the gift of God’s righteousness? The Bible does not state that we can gradually obtain the righteousness of God. Nor does it say that we can get God’s righteousness with our works.
Supporters of ‘human works’ teach that you can become sanctified through prayers of repentance. They say that you can be more righteous if you live clean and virtuous lives and that you can be saved if you live piously until you die, even though Jesus Christ has eliminated your sins.
However, God’s righteousness is incompatible with human deeds. Those who confront God’s righteousness become allies with the demon. Because such persons refuse the Lord’s righteousness, they cannot receive the remission of sin before the Lord.
Brethren, we were 100% ungodly. However, the reality is that many people misunderstand God’s righteousness and are therefore walking on the wrong path of faith. Since many people think that they are somewhat godly, they do not believe in God’s righteousness. They believe that they can be forgiven for their daily and future sins by saying prayers of repentance on their own. These people believe that there is at least some amount of godliness in them, so they put forward their good deeds without seeking for and believing in God’s righteousness.
What sort of person can become righteous? Those who are not good at doing repentance prayers can become righteous. This doesn’t mean that one does not need to say prayers of confession. I hope you will not misunderstand me about this part. I will later deal with the issue of ‘the life of the righteous.’ Those who confront God’s righteousness think highly of doing certain virtuous deeds, making fasting prayers or living pious lives.
However, only those who know that their deeds are insufficient can become righteous from a sinner’s state by receiving Jesus’ gift of the remission of sin in their hearts. The only thing we must do is to believe in God’s righteousness and know that there is nothing to boast about among our own righteousness. What we have to acknowledge before God is, “O, God! We have committed such sins. We are sinners who will continue to sin until we die.” That’s only thing we should honestly confess. And the only other thing we have to do is believe that Jesus Christ completely fulfilled His righteousness.
By believing in God’s righteousness, every sinner can receive salvation from all his/her sins completely. We praise by the faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, for we who were to be perished in the midst of sin, obtained salvation from all sin.

Who is a truly blessed person?
Who is a blessed person before God? The Bible defines a blessed person as the following. “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.” Even if one has not been able to do any good deeds in the sight of God, has insufficiencies and infirmities, or has not been able to keep all or certain parts of God’s law, God gave the blessing of the remission of sin for the lives of believers who have faith in God’s righteousness, which eliminated all of our sins by Jesus’ baptism and blood on the Cross. These kinds of people believe in God’s righteousness and are the most blessed before God, for they have received the special blessing before Him out of a countless number of people. We have obtained salvation from all our sins by believing in God’s righteousness. We believe that God has said so. Do we have anything more to add to His words even if God has said so? No, we don’t.
There are many people in this world who still try to obtain salvation by their good deeds, even though they confess that Jesus is their Savior.
Is there anything more to complement the truth of God’s salvation from sin, which says that Jesus got baptized by John, shed blood on the Cross and resurrected after death? No, there isn’t.
However, today’s Christians are very much confused about the part on believing in God’s righteousness. People know that they might obtain salvation by believing in Jesus. But on the other hand, they still think it to be essential for their salvation that they must become sanctified gradually, live virtuously, and keep the law with God’s words once they start believing in Jesus. Like this, people are very confused.
Even if what they say seems similar to that of the righteous, it is far from the faith that knows and believes in God’s righteousness. How can a person believe in the Lord well? It is possible only when we have the naïve faith in the words of water and the Holy Spirit that contains God’s righteousness and thus, receives the salvation from all our sins. God’s truth enables us to obtain salvation from all sins by our faith in His baptism and blood on the Cross, in which God’s righteousness is purely revealed.
We should cast away the absurd Christian doctrines on gradual sanctification, unconditional election and nominal justification, or the false faiths that say one can eventually obtain salvation from sin by not eating pork, or keeping the Sabbaths. We should keep away from those who talk of this kind of nonsense. There are no conclusions or correct answers to their talks.
Brethren, is it the correct faith or not that we obtain salvation from sin by believing in God’s righteousness, without having done anything virtuous? ─Yes, that is the true faith.─ What kind of works have we done to obtain God’s righteousness? Have we done any good deeds before God? ─No.─ Are we perfect by ourselves even in our thoughts? ─No, we aren’t.─ Then does this mean that we should live any way we like? ─No.─ Should we live virtuously by the law to be His children? ─No.─ It means that we should become true children of God only by believing in His righteousness, by obtaining the remission of sin, and by receiving the Holy Spirit as a gift through correct faith.
It is absolutely impossible for people to live good lives. However, even if a person does not work, if he/she still believes in the righteousness given by Jesus, then he/she is a blessed person who has been saved from all sin. Everyone is originally incapable of living a good life. Therefore, God sympathized with us and sent Jesus to this world, making Him get baptized by John the Baptist, so that He could take over the sins of the world. Jesus was then made to carry the sins over to the Cross and settle the problem of sin.
In Oriental proverbs, there is a saying, “One should sacrifice one’s life for the good of others.” When someone drowns after saving a person from drowning, they praise him/her for the sacrificial benevolence. Brethren, what this means is that even though it is natural to save a drowning person, we tend to think too highly of it.
Here is another old saying called, ‘Ingwa-eungbo.’ It means that if a person leads a good life, then he/she will be blessed in the future, but punished if he/she behaves badly. Brethren, is there truly a person who freely gives up his life for another person? Even in the case of heterosexual love, men and women love and care for each other because it suits their taste. Like this, all people are basically egocentric.
Therefore, God says that there can be no virtue within humans and we should examine carefully whether or not we really rely on and believe in His righteousness, which has eliminated even our most wicked sins, though we have never truly done any kinds of virtues. We should obtain salvation from all our sins by believing in God’s righteousness our God has given us.
You should obtain the remission of all the sins of the lawless deeds
What are the lawless deeds before God? All wrongdoings we have committed in the sight of God are lawless deeds.
How can you and I get our sins covered before God? Can a thick bulletproof vest cover our sins? Or can 1-meter thick iron armor, made of the strongest metal, cover our sins in the sight of God? Brethren, whenever we do good deeds, do they cover the wrongdoings and faults we have committed before God? No. Good deeds of mankind are nothing more than self-consolations. One cannot escape from the just judgment of God by comforting one’s own conscience by doing good deeds.
“Blessed are those …whose sins are covered.” This is what was said in the Bible. Brethren, if we would like to get our sins covered before God, the only way to do so is to believe in God’s righteousness by which He saved us. This righteousness of God includes Jesus Christ’s coming to this world to get baptized, His taking over our sins, and His vicarious death on the Cross. This is because Jesus took over the sins of the world by getting baptized and because He received the judgment by His death on the Cross. This is God’s righteousness. All sins get covered when one believes in His righteousness.
Even if a person tries to covers up his sins with his good deeds, it is of no use before God. It is only the righteous deeds of Jesus’ baptism and blood that can cover the sins of you and I. We were to be judged, destroyed, and go to hell by receiving God’s furious rages due to our sins, but Jesus came to this world and fulfilled God’s righteousness for us by getting baptized by John the Baptist and dying on the Cross. You should believe in this. We can get our sins covered by the faith in God’s righteousness. Why? Because God’s righteousness has already made the just compensation for all the sins of the world through His baptism and bloodshed. You and I can get our sins covered by believing in this truth.
What kind of person is blessed? A person with this kind of faith is blessed. “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall impute sin.” A person with this kind of faith is a happy and blessed one. Do you and I have this kind of faith? A truly blessed person is one who has taken God’s words that Jesus Christ saved us by water and the Holy Spirit into his/her heart. One who receives Jesus Christ together with His water and the blood in his/her heart and dwells inside Jesus Christ is a truly blessed person.
By faith, we the believers in God’s righteousness have received the amazing salvation, which does not contain even the slightest bit of human thought or virtue. Only a truly blessed person believes in this faith, keeps it in his/her heart and can preach the true gospel.
Brethren, don’t ever try to become God’s children or get saved from sin by adding certain virtuous deeds of your own to His grace! Are you virtuous? It is arrogance if one tries to be virtuous even though he/she really isn’t and thinks that he/she can be. If a poor person receives a huge diamond from a billionaire as a gift, the only thing the poor person needs to do is say “Thanks.” The same goes for God’s righteousness.
Romans chapter 4 talked about people who were blessed by God. Such people have been saved from all sin by believing in the words of the gospel that contains God’s righteousness.
I hope this blessing becomes yours.
This sermon is also available in ebook format. Click on the book cover below.
The Righteousness of God that is Revealed in Romans - Our LORD Who Becomes the Righteousness of God (I)