Romans 4:1-8 Abraham as an Example to Jewish People

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather 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 counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
    and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Abraham as an Example to Jewish People

The key example of Abraham was that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.  Does this mean that Abraham’s actions resulted in him earning salvation? Not at all.  What this means is that Abraham received faith from God and this faith was placed as a deposit by God in his life.  This deposited faith, shown to be authentic by his actions, was considered by God as credit in his account.  His faith, which was real enough to cause him to almost sacrifice his son, shows that he was not guilty before God.  Was he not guilty because of his obedience?  He was already not guilty and so he obeyed.

We do not earn God’s good favour. We do not toil for God’s acceptance.  We receive the blessing of God as a gift.  Abraham was told he would be the father of a mighty nation.  He was told that his children would bless many people.  Was this a reward for Abraham’s obedience?  No.  He received all these things because he accepted by faith what God had in store for him.  It is even in spite of Abraham’s foolish behaviour that God blesses him, not because of his uncommon obedience.  God has chosen to not count sin against those who believe.  Have you believed this?


My sin comes to mind very quickly and I know that I have deserved nothing but your estrangement and rejection.  However, you have welcomed me into your arms and you work through me in spite of my emotional mood swings, my behavioral inconsistencies, and and my physical frailty.


  1. What does the scripture say about Abraham?
  2. What is the role of faith in Abraham’s life?
  3. How does this passage build on previous passages?
  4. How do you know you have faith like Abraham?
  5. Does God gift us our faith?  Why would that matter?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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12 Responses to Romans 4:1-8 Abraham as an Example to Jewish People

  1. When I think about Abraham’s faith I just imagine all of the people who would come to Abrahams tent and laugh at him and mock him because he was told that he would be the father of many nations. They would see him and his wife in their old age and see the impossibility of him being the father of “more than the grains of sand”. Abraham must have felt abandoned by God right? He had no sons and how was he going to be able to conceive so many in such a short time. He didn’t understand God’s promise and neither did any one else. What made him different from the others was that he TRUSTED God. Have you held on to God’s promises in the midst of mocking and laughter from others who don’t believe? This is faith, though you could easily believe God had abandoned. God sees. God knows what you are going through. Now it’s your turn to see and have faith.

  2. Kimberly W. says:

    I like reading about the faith of Old Testament saints. Salvation has always been by faith, not by works. “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” strikes me. Abraham believed God when God made what seemed like an impossible promise, yet I struggle to believe. Lord, help my unbelief.

  3. Michael McCardle says:

    What does the scripture say about Abraham?
    That Abe was not justified by his works. Rather, Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
    Right now I am doing a study on the faith of Abraham for my Genesis class. It is so amazing to see how Abraham believed and completely trusted God even though God had yet to reveal much to him.

    How great is the faith of Abraham. My prayer is that the Lord will increase and that I will obey the Lord even without all the details; just like Abraham did.

  4. Olyn says:

    So often I am lacking in faith in everyday, simple things. Lord, please increase my faith. Please forgive me for my unbelief. Help me to remember the many times you have been faithful to me, and let me praise you because of your faithfulness.

  5. Emmy R says:

    Some people feel threatened when they hear things like this, and are upset with the fact that their obedience cannot save them. Although, I stand thankful and in awe. I’m thankful it does not rely on me for my obedience would fail daily. I stand in awe because we serve a God who loves us enough to reach down to us and provide us with an opportunity for faith.

  6. Christa says:

    1. What does the scripture say about Abraham? The scriptures detail Abraham’s life after God called him to move; the book of Romans quotes Genesis by explaining that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness
    2. What is the role of faith in Abraham’s life? Abraham’s life was centered around his faith in God, from his move to his trust in God’s provision of a son to his faith that God would raise Isaac from the dead after sacrificing him
    3. How does this passage build on previous passages? It continues with the discussion of faith and works and righteousness
    4. How do you know you have faith like Abraham? You are willing to risk everything to follow Christ
    5. Does God gift us our faith? Why would that matter? God definitely gives us your faith; this is crucial to accept because it shows that the faith we have is not something we ourselves have conjured up and can therefore boast about but it is something that God has bestowed on us

  7. Maria T. says:

    Yes, faith is a gift from God. It is essential that the faith comes from Him. If it did not, we would not be secure in our salvation because we are faulty and unfaithful people. But because He has loved us, He has given us the assurance of salvation through the gift of faith in His Son. Righteousness must come through Jesus Christ, and Abraham believed and it was counted to him as righteousness. This shows that Abraham’s faith that justifies comes not from himself, but from the one who is righteous. What a comforting thing to know that our salvation does not rest on our faithfulness but on the faithfulness of the One who is eternally faithful.

  8. 1. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.
    2. His faith was essential to his life. He was not perfect by any means and there are stories when he was not trusting in the Lord, but overall He trusted the Lord so much to give up his own son for whom I am sure he had wept and prayed countless times.
    3. Abraham is the father of the Jews and is their example of faith. It fits with the book that Paul would use him as an example. Abraham, however, was also the father of the Gentiles in a different way. Through him all the nations of the earth would be blessed and God called him out of nowhere. The book is addressed to both Jews and Gentiles as distinct groups within the church yet Abraham is a suitable and excellent example for both.
    4. I think when you are willing to sacrifice the things most dear to your heart, trusting that the Lord will do something about it.
    5. He absolutely does gift our faith. I am entirely beyond all my own assistance that it has to be the work of the Lord in bringing me to Himself. Paul says that no one may boast, and that is why because none of us are capable of getting faith. We have to be given it by the One who is perfectly faithful.

  9. Andrew Moore says:

    Abraham’s example of faith was not only a great example to the Jewish people, but it is also a great example of how for us today. It is a great relief to me personally that I cannot earn my salvation, because I know how deficient I am in so many areas. I am thankful that God has made provisions for me to be accepted into his kingdom.

  10. Christina W. says:

    Abraham had incredible faith! He chose to believe God even when God asked him to sacrifice his son. How often do I have such little faith by comparison? Lord, forgive my unbelief and grow my faith.

  11. Jung Kim says:

    We do not earn God’s good favour. We do not toil for God’s acceptance. We receive the blessing of God as a gift.

    HA… This makes me think again about what I’ve been doing in the past.
    I tend to think that I need to earn favor from God just like I need to try that from man.
    Because I am a people-person, I tend to believe that this is true. As a matter of fact, I believe that it is a fact/truth for everyone.
    Thank you God for using Mr. Worrall to remind me of this truth. Your love never fails, indeed.

  12. Maelynn says:

    1. “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Abraham could not earn his salvation. He could do nothing out of his own strength and effort to rescue himself from his sin. HIs righteousness was given to Him completely by the grace of God. He is an example for us. I am righteous because God has poured out His mercy and faithfulness on my life.

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