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Can I Get Some Credit? (Romans 4:13-25)

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“Can I Get Some Credit?”

(Romans 4:13-25)

Series: Romans – United in the Gospel [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

March 20, 2022

Introductory Comments:

It’s my joy to be back in the book of Romans. This morning we are in chapter 4, verses 13-25. 

In this passage, Paul is continuing his discussion about Abraham being justified before God by belief in God. Abraham is credited with the righteousness of God because of his belief in God.

Most of us know how credits and debits work on an account. I’m of the generation that I use an app to do most of my banking. I can get on my app any time of the day and see money coming in and money coming out. On my app, I see a lot of debits, meaning I see a lot of money coming out of my bank account. Most of the time, it contains the word “Amazon” somewhere in the transaction description. However, if you want to avoid going into debt, you need to have some credits coming in. In my case, I get paid twice a month so I have at least two credits per month. However, when those debits start to add up, I start to think, “I need some money coming in! I need some credits in my account!”

Well, today’s sermon is entitled, “Can I Get Some Credit?”[on screen]

As we continue our discussion of Abraham, let’s pray together and ask God to speak to us.


You see, in the account that I spoke earlier I needed credits coming in. So also, we need credit when it comes to the spiritual economy. Because of the debt caused by our sin, all of us need some credit put in our spiritual account. We need the righteousness of God to be credited to us.

As Paul continues to discuss the righteousness of God being credited to Abraham, Paul offers three clarifications about his teaching. 

Let’s look at the first:

I. Not the Law . . . faith. (13-15) [on screen]

The first section of this paragraph is primarily a review of what Paul has already said in the previous chapters. Let’s look at verses 13-15:

13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 If those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made empty and the promise nullified, 15 because the law produces wrath. And where there is no law, there is no transgression.

Paul explains once again that the promise that God gave to Abraham to bless him and his descendants was not conditioned upon Abraham’s observance of the law of God. 

As a reminder, Abraham was around way before the Old Testament law was put into place. 

Rather than the law, Paul tells us at the end of verse 13 that the promise was based on, “ . . . the righteousness that comes by faith.” Remember, Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. 

Paul then pushes his point further by pointing out that if we are heirs of (or if our inheritance is based upon) the law then faith is empty or pointless. 

As we learned last week, if we have to earn the promise then it’s not based on belief, forgiveness, or faith; it’s what we’ve earned or what we deserve by working for it. 

Paul then says that the law produces wrath. Well, what’s that all about?

Remember, Paul said in Romans 3:20, “For no one will be justified in his sight by the works of the law, because the knowledge of sin comes through the law.” [on screen]

The law doesn’t fix our sin problem, the law shows us our sin problem; the law doesn’t eliminate wrath, the law produces wrath. 

If we didn’t have a law to show us our transgressions (or our sins) then we wouldn’t know that we were in sin. However, we do have the law, so we do have our knowledge of sin. The law won’t help us with our sin problem because are unable to completely fulfill the law. 

One pastor said, “Trying to escape the penalty of the law by works of the law is like trying to quench your thirst by drinking salt water.” It just won’t work, church.  

So, when it comes to God’s righteousness, it’s not the law . . . it’s faith. 

The second clarification is . . .

II. Not just the Jews . . . all. (16-17) [on screen]

Let’s see what verses 16 and 17 say:

16 This is why the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace, to guarantee it to all the descendants—not only to the one who is of the law but also to the one who is of Abraham’s faith. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: I have made you the father of many nations—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, the one who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist.

Paul is giving more explanation; he says, “This is why the promise is by faith.” This refers to the reason that Paul just stated. Because the law is unable to give us access to the promise of God, faith gives us access to the promise of God. 

Paul further points out that the promise is accessed by grace. 

Because it’s by grace and not the following of a particular set of rules, it’s available to all people, not just Jewish people. 

In fact, Paul even refers to these non-Jewish people who receive the promise of God as Abraham’s descendants. Non-Jews who are Abraham’s children!

If we have the faith of Abraham, we are the children of Abraham!

Paul refers to Genesis 17:5, which says, “Your name will no longer be Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I will make you the father of many nations.” [on screen]

Paul is making it clear that these “many nations” not only refer to physical descendants of Abraham (which he did have many) but spiritual descendants as well; these are children of the promise. 

So, when it comes to us being credited with the righteousness of God, it’s not just the Jewish people, it’s all who believe. 

Finally . . .

III. Not just Abraham . . . us. (18-25) [on screen]

Paul is continuing this thought of how Abraham is justified and how we are justified. Paul even writes in a humorous way about Abraham’s condition. 

Let’s look at verses 18-25:

18 He believed, hoping against hope, so that he became the father of many nations according to what had been spoken: So will your descendants be. 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body to be already dead (since he was about a hundred years old) and also the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 because he was fully convinced that what God had promised, he was also able to do. 22 Therefore, it was credited to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was credited to him was not written for Abraham alone, 24 but also for us. It will be credited to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Paul says that Abraham believed against hope. Well, why was it against hope? Look at verse 19.

Paul said that Abraham considered his own body to be already dead! This is because Abraham was so old; he was virtually dead!

Of course, the context of this statement is in relation to Abraham and Sarah having children. Abraham was about 100 years old and Sarah was also well past child-bearing age. Paul also mentions, the “deadness of Sarah’s womb.”

I joked with someone the other day and said, “I’m almost forty; it’s all downhill from here.” However, Abraham was about 100 years old! He probably thought, “I’m not just over the hill, I’m already at the bottom of the hill.” Yet, he had faith in God!

This was not an easy thing to believe. It took faith for Abraham to believe in the promises of God. 

Still, in verse 20, we see that Abraham did not waver in unbelief! 

Oh, that we would trust in the promises of God, place our faith in God, and lean on the grace of God so that we would not waver in unbelief! Don’t you want that kind of faith, church?

Abraham was fully convinced that God would keep His promises and could do whatever He wanted to do. 

Rather than Abraham trusting in himself; rather than him trying to earn the righteousness of God, Abraham placed his faith and trust in God Himself and it was credited to Abraham as righteousness. 

Paul makes very clear in verses 23 and 24 that the righteousness of God is something that we have access to as well. 

Paul says in verses 23 and 24, that it was “ . . . not written for Abraham alone, 24 but also for us.” 

What Paul is saying is that if we believe in God, the One who raised Jesus from the dead, we also can be declared righteous! What a miracle! We have access to the same blessing that Abraham had access to: the righteousness of God!

I love how Paul adds on this closing statement to remind us how all of this works out in our lives. 

Paul says of Jesus in verse 25, “He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”

Jesus paid for our sins by dying and secured new life for us by living again. 

The righteousness of God was shown to Abraham and it can be shown to all of us who are Abraham’s spiritual descendants by the work of Jesus!

So, not just Abraham . . . us.

Concluding Thoughts:

We conclude from this passage this morning these three clarifications:

Not the law . . . faith. 

Not just the Jews . . . all. 

Not just Abraham . . . us. 

We can summarize everything we’ve learned this morning with this bottom line:

Bottom Line: The righteousness of God is available to all who believe. [on screen]


Paul is moving on in the upcoming section to discuss the powerful benefits of faith. For now, he wants to solidify that we are only made right with God through faith. We only experience the righteousness of God by believing in and trusting God. 

Challenge yourself this week in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

1. Consider what makes you righteous. [on screen]

How are you made right with God?

How do you fix your sin problem?

How do you have credit added to your spiritual account?

2. Consider the object of your belief. [on screen]

What do you put your faith and trust in? Money, your job, your family, your education, your acceptance by others, cultural trends, your home, your athletic ability, your success?

Take some time this week and consider who/what is the object of your belief?


Now, you might be thinking that there is no hope for me, I can’t have the righteousness of God.

You may even think (perhaps without saying it) that God is not able to change your life. 

Don’t forget what Paul said in verse 17. He referred to God as “. . . the one who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist.” [on screen]

God can give life to that which is dead in your life. God can call into existence that which doesn’t exist in your life. 

You can have the kind of faith and belief that Abraham had (even better). You can have the righteousness of God, as Abraham had. 

All this is possible through the work of Jesus. As Paul said of Jesus in verse 25, “He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”

(Gospel presentation)

(closing prayer)

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