The Faith That Saves

Romans

The Faith That Saves

July 25th, 1954

Romans 4:1-12

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 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: And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
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THE FAITH THAT SAVES

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Romans 4:1-12

7-25-54    10:50 a.m.

 

You’re listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in downtown Dallas, Texas, and this is the pastor bringing the morning message entitled The Faith That Saves.

In our preaching through the Word, we have come to the fourth chapter of the Book of Romans, and it will greatly bless your heart if, while I preach, you follow the Word in the text.  Turn in your Bible to the fourth chapter of the Book of Romans, and the message is taken out of the passage we read for our Scripture this day.

I shall read part of it again.  In the fourth chapter of the Book of Romans, the first through the fifth verses:

 

What shall we say then that Abraham our father hath found?

If Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God.

For what saith the Scripture, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."

Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace but of debt.

But to him that worketh not but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

[Romans 4:1-5]

 

And again, the subject:  The Faith that Saves.  ". . . his faith is counted for righteousness" [Romans 4:5].

If you will turn the page of your Bible to the second chapter of the Book of Romans, in the sixteenth verse, you will find it concluding with two little words: "my gospel."  "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel" [Romans 2:16].

Paul said, "The message that I preach, I received it not from men nor did I receive it from other apostles, but I received it by direct revelation from God.  I was taught it by the Lord Jesus Christ" [from Galatians 1:11-12].  And he refers to it as "my gospel" [Romans 2:16]; that is, the gospel he personally received by revelation from the risen, resurrected, raised, glorified Lord Himself [Galatians 1:12] – "my gospel."  Now, the preaching of that gospel precipitated turmoil and tremendous opposition.

Before I begin, could I just read out of Paul a summary of his gospel?  That’s what the Book of Romans is about.  That’s what we’re preaching these days – that gospel.

Romans 3:10: "As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one.’"

Romans 3:23:  "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

Romans 3:27:  "Where is boasting?  It is excluded." 

No man can stand in the presence of God who’s is a lost sinner and say, "How good and fine I am!"

Twenty-eight: "Therefore we conclude" – Romans 3:28 – "that if a man is justified at all, he has to be justified by the mercy and the grace of God without the deeds of the law."

Then Romans 4:5:  "To him that worketh not but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."

Now, Romans [4]:24-25: "For us also to whom it shall be imputed" – this righteousness – "if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification."

That’s just a little summary as we sweep through those two chapters there – a little summary of what Paul calls "my gospel."

I say, it precipitated tremendous opposition among those who heard Paul preach that message.  It precipitated a tremendous opposition when he first stood up to preach after his conversion on the Damascus road [Acts 9:1-18].  He first preached Jesus in Damascus [Acts 9:19-22]; and because there was a plot to destroy his life by the Jewish people, he was let down over the wall in a basket and so escaped [Acts 9:23-25].

He next preached that gospel in the city of Jerusalem, and it created such turmoil and such opposition that the disciples sent him away to Cilicia [Acts 9:26-30].  When finally he returned to [Jerusalem] once again, they found him in the temple, and the Jewish people began to beat him to death [Acts 21:15-31].  And had he not been rescued by the Chilliarch – the Roman legionnaire, the commander of the post, the garrison in Antonia – had he not been rescued by Lysias the Chiliarch, they would have destroyed him in the temple [Acts 21:31-39, 24:1-8].

Not only did that gospel precipitate a tremendous opposition on the part of the Jewish nation, but it likewise precipitated turmoil and opposition in the first church, in the Jewish church.  The first Christian church was a Hebrew church.  It was a Jewish church, and it likewise precipitated like opposition in the church, this gospel of Paul, first in Antioch when they came down from Jerusalem, and it ended – that altercation ended in the Jerusalem conference [Acts 15:1-31].  But it didn’t stop; it continued.  And the reason Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia was these who opposed the gospel of Paul so swept away the churches of Galatia that they all apostasized – they all defected [Galatians 1:1-10, 3:1-6:18].  They all turned aside from the gospel of Paul and followed these, what Paul called, false apostles [Galatians 1:1-10, 2:4, 3:1-4, 4:8-11, 4:15-20, 5:6-13, 6:12-16].

I don’t know a better way to set in light that opposition, what Paul’s message was and what its antagonist was, than to describe it like this: the message of Paul is diametrically the opposite of legalism, humanism, self-righteousness – all summed up in the word "Pharisaism" or "Judaism."  It stands, I say, poles apart.

When anyone is persuaded to follow a philosophy of the adequacy and the ableness of a man to work out his own problem, of a people or a nation to achieve their own destiny – whenever we begin to follow a teaching of humanism, the sufficiency of man, you will find yourself going in diametrically an opposite direction to the gospel that Paul says he got from Jesus [Galatians 1:11-12] because the foundation of the message of Paul is this: that by nature we are corrupt, that by nature we are totally depraved [Romans 1:18-3:31, 7:18, 8:7-8].

I don’t mean by total depravity we are as bad as we can be, but I mean that old- time doctrine that sin has entered all of the faculties of the human mind and the human soul and the human body – that there’s not any area in a man’s life, or in his thought, or in his soul, or in his heart, or in his actions that are not colored and turned by the presence of sin – that it’s everywhere: that it’s in your legislature; that it’s in your courthouse; that it’s in your city; that it’s up and down every street; that it’s in your church; that it’s in your life.  The great fundamental, cardinal principle upon which Paul starts his message is this: that we all have sinned and there’s none righteous – no one, not one [Romans 3:10-18, 23].

He begins there, and that’s an affront to human pride.  That’s an affront to humanism.  That’s an affront to pharisaism.  That’s an affront to those who find in themselves all adequacy and self-sufficiency.

May I continue that for a moment?  Pharisaism is an affront to God because pharisaism – that is, self-righteousness; that is, human pride; that is, a persuasion of our sole sufficiency and adequacy – it is an affront to God because it is independent of God [Matthew 9:10-13; Mark 9:15-17; Luke 5:29-32].  The self-righteous man, the Pharisee, the self-adequate man – he comes before God dressed in a righteousness all his own [Isaiah 64:6; Matthew 22:1-14; Romans 13:14; Philippians 3:9].  He comes before God demanding God’s approbation, and that’s the reason that I say keep your Bible open.  That’s the reason Paul says here in the fourth verse of the fourth chapter of the Book of Romans: "Now to him that worketh is a reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt" [Romans 4:4].

When you read that, it doesn’t mean much to you.  If I could put it in my language, it is this:  When a man works, when a man works, what you give him is not a gift.  What you pay him, I should say, is not a gift; it’s a debt.  When a man works and you pay him, you don’t give him anything.  He earns it, and you’re paying a debt to him.  He worked for you, and you’re paying him the debt you owe him.

Now, Paul says there, when a man works for his salvation, it’s no longer a grace of God.  It’s no longer a gift of God.  It’s no longer a mercy of God.  It’s a debt.  God would have to pay you [Romans 4:4].  If any man can come before God and say, "Look, I’ve earned my salvation.  You owe it to me by the work and the merit and the goodness of my life," then for a man to be saved, it’s no longer grace.  It’s no longer mercy.  It’s no longer faith.  It’s a debt God owes you!  That’s what he means when he says, "To him that worketh" [Romans 4:4].  For your salvation when you work for it, what you get – the reward of salvation – is not grace, mercy, the gift of God.  It’s a debt; it’s a thing God owes you.

Now the fundamental principle of the gospel of Paul is this – that no man is able to stand before God and say, "I am in my life worthy this great gift of salvation.  I have won it myself.  I’ve earned it.  It’s my reward" [Ephesians 2:8-9].  I say the gospel of Paul and the gospel of a self-righteous life are poles apart.  They’re diametrically opposite.

May I illustrate it?  I talked to a man within a week.  You know what?  Fine business man – very successful – but his attitude is: "This tragic problem I face, I’ll work it out myself.  These issues that lie before me, they’re my responsibility, and I will do it myself.  I’ll work it out.  I’ll find the answer.  It’s my problem, and I’ll do it myself.  I will do it."  That is the gospel of the self-righteous man.  That’s the gospel of a Pharisee.  "I will walk it alone.  I will do it myself.  I am able.  I will work it out." 

What is the end of that man?  I can prophesy the end right now.  As he staggers before the problem, as he faces those overwhelming issues, first he will begin to drink.  They will crush his soul.  He’ll begin to drink anyway, anyhow: "Hide my face from what I cannot do."  And finally, if he’s sensitive enough, he’ll commit suicide.

The gospel of Paul is that life and death paled in heaven and the issues that are to come are beyond what my poor soul can encompass.  O God, I’m a weak man.  I’m a weak man.  O God, I’m a sinful man.  I’m a sinful man.  O God, I’m a lost man.  I’m a lost man.  O God, upon Thy mercy and upon Thy grace, I cast myself.  I need help.  O God, help me.  That is the gospel of Paul.

 

In my hand no price I bring,

Simply to thy cross I cling.

[From "Rock of Ages," by Augustus M. Toplady, 1776]

 

"To him that worketh, his reward not reckoned of grace but of debt" [Romans 4:4]. 

 

In my hand, O God, no price I bring.

Simply to Thy cross I cling.

[From "Rock of Ages," by Augustus M. Toplady, 1776]

 

Helper of the helpless [Psalm 10:14].  O God, help me; help me.  That is the gospel of Paul.

In the little town of Serampore which is eighteen miles up the Ganges River from Calcutta, I stood at one of the great Baptist landmarks of the world.  I stood at the grave of the father of our modern missionary program, William Carey, and I read this inscription on his tombstone.  Listen to it.  Listen to it:  "A poor, miserable, helpless worm on Thy kind arm I fall." 

Why, you could hardly speak of it.  This man of God who, though small in stature, towered above the great Christian leaders of his age and is looked upon by all Christian people as a father of modern missions; who began at that little place of Kettering, England, the movement that is engulfed by a world: the preaching of the cross to other continents and other nations.  One of God’s saints of all times, yet wrote for his tombstone when he died: "Write this, ‘Poor, miserable, helpless worm on Thy kind arms I fall.’"  Help me.  Help me.

Now, I have tried to present here the best I could what it was that was so diametrically opposite between self-righteousness, self-character, Pharisaism, and the gospel of the apostle Paul.

All right, now, let’s continue on with it.  Having seen its opposite, now let’s see the thing itself, this message of Paul.  He starts off with Abraham in the fourth chapter of the Book of Romans.  "What shall we say then about Abraham?" [Romans 4:1]

He is using Abraham as the illustration.  Abraham was the father of the faithful.  Abraham was the father of many nations.  Abraham is looked upon as the father of the Hebrew people.  He is looked upon as the father of the Moslem world.  He is looked upon as the father of those revelations that finally changed in all their glory, fulfilled in his seed, his son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Christians, Moslem, Hebrews: all of us alike look back to Abraham.

So he’s using Abraham as an illustration of how a man is saved; and the point that Paul will make as he enters into the discussion is this: that any man is saved, if he’s ever saved, he’s saved by the grace and the mercy and the forgiveness of God apart from works, apart from his own merit [Romans 4:1-25].

So he starts off with Abraham.  "For if Abraham were justified by works," if he were saved by his good deeds, "he hath whereof to glory" [Romans 4:2].

"See what I am and what I’ve done, O God!"  And he looks in the face of God as an equal.  "Look at me, God, look at me."

"If Abraham were justified by works" – if he were accepted, pleasing to God by the good deeds that he did – "he hath whereof to glory" [Romans 4:2].  But look at that little verse there, the concluding part of it:  "But not before God" [Romans 4:2].  Why not before God? 

Abraham might boast before me and get by with it.  I wouldn’t know any better.  Abraham might boast before some of his neighbors, and they might not know any better.  Abraham might boast of the merit and worth of his life before people who didn’t know him and get by with it, but Paul says he can’t do it before God because God knew Abraham.  God knew his soul, God knew his heart, and God knew his life.  And a part of that life of Abraham is written in God’s Book [Genesis 11:26-25:10], and what God has chosen to reveal there is anything but complimentary to Abraham.

You want to see a first-class liar?  Look at Abraham and follow him [Genesis 12:11-13, 20:1-2].  You want to see a man who was willing to sacrifice his wife to the lusts of other men in order that he might save himself? [Genesis 12:14-20, 20:2-18].   Read the life of Abraham.  Read it of Abraham and see if he could boast before a man who knew his life.  See if he could.  That’s what that verse means there.  "If Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory," but he couldn’t do it before God [Romans 4:2].  God knew him.  God knew him just like he knows you, just like He knows me, just like he knows all of us [Psalm 139:1-13].  We don’t glory before God.  No man does.

The secret of your heart, and the secret of your soul, and the wrong of your life, and the sin of your day: all of us are alike [Hebrews 4:13].  We don’t boast before God [Ephesians 2:8-9].  Neither could Abraham, the father of the nations.  "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God" [Romans 4:2].

Well then, how was he saved?  How was he saved?  How was Abraham justified?  Look at the next verse.  "But what does the Book say?" [Romans 4:3] says Paul. To the testimony and to the Scripture, how was he saved?  Look at it.  "Abraham believed God, and his faith was counted unto him for righteousness" [Romans 4:3].

Abraham was saved not because of the sublime pristine beauty and purity and holiness of his life.  His life was not that.  But Abraham was saved like all of the rest of us poor devils – saved like all of the rest of us lost sinners.   He was saved because he cast his soul upon the mercies of God.  Abraham believed God.  He trusted God that God would save him, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness [Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3].

Then he applies it to us all.  The fifth verse: "To him that worketh not but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" [Romans 4:5].  How can a godless man, a sinner man – a man like you and me – how could we ever stand before God?  How could we ever look into the face of God?  How could we?  How could we ever be saved?  We’re going to be saved, Paul says, like Abraham was: by believing "on Him that justifieth the ungodly" [Romans 4:5].

If God justifies the sinner, then the sinner doesn’t need to try to justify himself.  He can’t do it.  He can’t do it.  The more he argues with God, the more he tries to present his merit to God, the more the dark recesses of his life appear [Romans 1:18-3:20].  The blackness and the darkness is in all of us alike: that gall, the venom of sin, our fallen nature, our depraved souls [Romans 3:10-18].  All of us poor, warped, tied with the sentence in our bodies as well as in our souls [Romans 5:12-14, 6:23, 8:20-22].  When we try to justify ourselves before God, it’s futile, in vain.  It’s ridiculous and silly.

Paul’s gospel says it is the Lord that justifieth the ungodly.  That’s the reason Jesus in Matthew 21:[31] said to the Pharisees – you look at this – said to the Pharisees, "Verily, I say unto you that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you."  

"Why, I can’t believe.  Master, you mean the sinners and the prostitutes and the harlots in Thy day were marching through the pearly gates into the golden streets and into the beautiful city, while on the outside were those clothed in their own righteousness – the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the leaders of the people?  Master, do You mean that?"

"Yes."

Then how?  Matthew 21:[32], the rest of that verse: because when John came and preached the gospel of the kingdom, the harlot and the sinner and the publican believed John, and they were ready to accept the Lord Jesus while the Pharisee gathered his righteous skirts around him and said of Jesus, "I – I have no need of Thee," and refused to turn and believe.

It is God that justifieth the ungodly [Romans 8:33].  It is God that does it.  God does it.  It is God that heals the sick [Matthew 9:35].  If you want to try it yourself, put a little wound there in your hand and you knit it back together.  Cut a wound there in your hand and watch God knit it back together.  It is God that heals the sick.  It is God that heals the sick.

For they that are righteous, He never came to call to repentance [Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32].  They that are whole need not a physician [Matthew 9:12; Luke 5:31].  The man who stands in his pride, in his self-sufficiency, he doesn’t need God.  He’s looking to himself.  It is the sinner that God saves.  It is the sick that God heals.  It is the ungodly that He justifies.  "To him that worketh not but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith," his trust, "is counted for righteousness" [Romans 4:5].

"Now, Preacher, my soul.  You’re putting a premium on sin."  No.  There’s a basis, there’s a basis upon which God justifies us in our sin.  There’s a basis upon which God justifies the ungodly – you and me.  He does it on the basis of the atoning grace and merit of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, look at Romans 24 – fourth chapter – 24 and 25: "But for us also it shall be imputed" – that righteousness of Jesus – "if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our offenses and was raised for our justification" [Romans 4:24-25].

Now, in the fifth chapter, the sixth verse: "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" [Romans 5:6].  Look again at the eighth verse: "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" [Romans 5:8]. 

And look at the eleventh verse, the triumphant one: "We also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received this atonement" [Romans 5:11].  This atonement: the Lord justifies the ungodly on the basis of the atoning grace and merit and worth of the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us [Ephesians 5:2].  The Lord does not justify me on the basis of my tears, of my prayers, of my penance, of my good works [Galatians 2:21; Philippians 3:4-10].

Yesterday, I had a funeral service for one of the blessed old saints in this church, and so many of her friends were there.  Dear, blessed saint: lived by herself; neighbor found her dead.  Just to talk to some of the members of her beloved class:  one of the dear old ladies, sweet and precious, of this church.  They sang a song there at that funeral service.  You know what it was?

 

Could my tears forever flow,

Could my zeal no languor know,

These for sin could not atone;

Thou must save, and Thou alone.

[From "Rock of Ages," by Augustus Toplady, 1776]

 

That’s the reason she was a saint.  That’s the reason she was a saint: looking to Jesus, trusting Jesus [John 3:14-16].  Somehow our tears could never be enough.  Our prayers could never be prayed enough.  Our good deeds could never be good enough [Romans 6:23].

In Thy hands, O God, I lay and cast my soul.  O God, on the basis of Thy worth and Thy merit, O Lord, remember me, remember me [Luke 23:39-43]; and that is the faith that saves: the faith, the faith that trusts wholly and completely in the Lord Jesus Christ according to Paul’s gospel.

"To him that worketh not but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" [Romans 4:5].  We are saved by wholly, completely, trusting, depending upon, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.  That is the faith that saves.

I am not saved by trusting Jesus and my good work [Galatians 2:16-21].  I’m not saved by trusting Jesus and my tears.  Not saved by trusting Jesus and my prayer.  Not saved by trusting Jesus and joining the church.  Not saved by trusting Jesus and being baptized.  I am saved – the faith that saves is the faith that trusts itself wholly, completely, upon the Lord Jesus.  "To Him that justifieth the ungodly, believing, his faith is counted for righteousness" [Romans 4:5].  And through the Book, through the Book, as you turn the pages of the Book, that is the same gospel on every page, in every syllable, and in every sentence.

Jesus said to the righteous Pharisee, to Nicodemus, "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" [John 3:16].

Jesus said to the sorrowing Mary and Martha, in the eleventh chapter of John in the twenty-[fifth] and twenty-[sixth] verses, "Listen, I am the resurrection and the life.  He that liveth and believeth in Me shall never, never die" [John 11:25-26].

Simon Peter preaching to righteous Cornelius, the centurion of Caesarea – the man who prayed to God always and who gave alms for the people [Acts 10:1-2] – Simon Peter said in Acts 10:43: "To Him – to the Lord Jesus – give all the prophets witness that, in His name, whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins."

Paul and Silas preached to the jailer in Philippi: "Believe" – believe, trust, cast yourself – "upon the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" [Acts 16:31].

Galatians 2:16: "Knowing that a man is justified not by his works," not by the deeds of the law, "but by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."

"To him that worketh not but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" [Romans 4:5].  A man is saved by giving himself to the Lord Jesus.

One time I prayed with this Book opened before me, and I said, "Lord, show me in the Book, show me in the Book where it says what it is to trust in the Lord, what it is to believe in the Lord Jesus.  Show me, Lord, where it is in the Book."  And the Lord put that wonderful passage in my mind – 2 Timothy 1:12:  "For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him," committed unto Him, "against that day." 

"I know whom I have believed . . ." [2 Timothy 1:12].  And what is it to believe in the Lord Jesus – the faith that saves?  "He’s able to keep that which I have committed unto Him, which I have committed unto Him against that day" [2 Timothy 1:12].

If I have a little life savings, and I go to that big bank down there, and I commit it to them, I don’t commit it to them if I hold it myself.  I commit it to the big bank when I leave it down there, go out the door, and they’ve got it.  They’ve got it.  I’ve committed it to their care.  I’ve believed in their integrity and promise, and I’ve left it there, and there it is – that little savings I might have.

I have a precious letter, a dear letter, so important a letter.  I go to the mailbox.  I don’t commit it to the Post Office if I keep it in my hand, but if I drop it in that little slot and I see it fall into the box, it’s up to them.  Uncle Sam’s got to make good.  I’ve trusted him with that letter.  

And my soul, and my soul, and my soul – I’ve committed it to Jesus.  When I come to the Lord and say, "Lord, such as I am, kinda poor, I know; sort of feeble, I know; full of sin, I know; not lovely at all; every day marked with just more, more imperfection just like every day I don’t do what I ought to do [Romans 7:15], just falling short, Lord, all of the time.  But Master, such as I am, I cast my soul at Thy feet.  And if I perish, Lord, here I die.  I perish with Thee."

And the Good Book says, and the Good Book says, John 6:[37]: "He that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out."  Never was a sinner came in faith and poor but that the Lord rewarded him in the fulfillment of the gracious promise.  "And to them I give eternal life, and they shall never, never perish" [John 10:28].  Or in the word of His words to sorrowing Mary and Martha: "And he shall never, never die" [John 11:26]. 

Faith.  Faith.  Faith.  Faith.  Delivered.  Delivered.  Justified.  Justified.  Forgiven.  Forgiven in the grace and in the merit and in the mercy and in the forgiveness of the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord; not a debt He pays us, not a reward I’ve earned, but of grace – a gift that comes from His blessed hands, the saving of our souls [Ephesians 2:8-9].  That is the gospel of Paul, and it’s the gospel of the Son of God.

Our song today is 104, number 104: "Only Trust Him," "Only Trust Him."  And while we sing the hymn, while we sing it, in that topmost balcony to the last row, in this great throng from side to side and on this lower floor, somebody you, somebody you, give his heart to the Lord or come into the fellowship of this church.  Would you make it now?  Would you come and stand by me?  "Here I am, Pastor, and here I come.  There’s a whole family of us, Pastor.  All of us are coming."  Or just one somebody you, a child, a you:  as God shall make the appeal, make the call, while we sing this hymn of grace, would you come looking to Jesus, looking to Him, while we stand and while we sing?

 

THE FAITH THAT SAVES

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Romans 4:1-5

7-25-54

 

I.          This gospel of Paul’s (Romans 2:16)

A.  He received it by direct revelation from God(Galatians 1:11-12)

1.  Summary of his gospel (Romans 3:10, 23, 27, 28, 4:5, 24-25)

B.  Tremendously and violently opposed

1.  In the Jewish nation

2.  In the Jewish church

C.  Diametrically the opposite of legalism, humanism, self-righteousness – Pharisaism, Judaism

1.  Foundation of his message – by nature we are totally depraved

2.  Pharisaism is an affront to God

a. Self-righteous man comes before God demanding approbation(Romans 4:4)

b. When a man works for his salvation, it is no longer a grace of God

3.  No man is able to stand before God and say, "I am worthy of this gift…"

a. Self-righteous man who faces problems on his own ends up drinking and eventually committing suicide

4.  Helpless before God, we cast ourselves upon His mercy and grace

a. Hymn, "The Solid Rock"

b. Inscription on grave of William Carey, "A poor, miserable helpless worm…"

 

II.         Salvation as a gift of grace (Romans 4:4-5, 16)

A.  Paul uses Abraham as an illustration of how a man is saved(Romans 4:1-3)

1.  Abraham might boast before us, but couldn’t boast before Godwho knew his weaknesses (Genesis 12, 16, 20)

2. Abraham was saved in the grace and mercy of the Lord, mediated to him by his trust in God(Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:20-22)

B.  The ungodly and lost sinners are likewise accepted and justified by God, a gift we accept through faith(Romans 4:5)

1.  It is the Lord that justifies the ungodly (Matthew 21:31-32)

C.  This justification and salvation is based on the merit of the atonement in Christ Jesus (Romans 4:24-25, 5:6, 8, 11)

1.  Hymn, "Rock of Ages"

D.  The faith that saves – wholly depending upon and trusting in Jesus

E.  It is the same gospel on every page of the Book (John 3:16, 11:25-26, Acts 10:43, 16:31, Galatians 2:16)

1.  What it is to believe in the Lord Jesus (2 Timothy 1:12)

2.  Casting my soul at His feet (John 6:47)