NKJV Commentary in blue>> Paul left off in Romans 3 presenting faith as the alternative to the requirement to follow the law. I was watching a show on PBS about Martin Luther and the Reformation the other night. It made the observation that Luther realized thru studying Romans that works meant nothing in terms of being right with God and that faith was what allowed us to be reconciled to God and grace was given to us thru faith. This and the coruption of the Roman church lead Luther to post the 95 theses and inadvertantly begin the Reformation. If this is true, then you could say Romans 4 inspired the Reformation. Romans 4: 1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? >>I.e. What shall we learn from Abraham and what he realized about his actions? What did God teach him? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. >>Can you imagine if we were justified by our works? Oh, the boasting and the put on fakeness which would run rampant. This verse contained a revolutionary concept. Most religious people of the day and, really, throughout history understood and followed the doctrine of works in exchange for justification, i.e. follow the edicts of the church law and tradition and papal decrees to be acceptable to the elders and priests, and therefore, to God. Even today, many people will tell you “As long as I am a good person, I can get to heaven.” 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” >>Paul sets the example for us to follow, asking “what does the Scripture say?”. That is why doctrine must line up and agree with Scripture. Not only did Abraham believe in God, but he believed what God promised. Justified by his belief in God, lining up with John 3:16. 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. >>Everyone in free society understands that if you work for someone, they owe you payment for the work. Even in primitive, totalitarian and communist societies many understand the concept. But grace has nothing to do with owing a debt or paying for services. 5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, >>Just as Abraham was justified, so are we. In Matthew Jesus says we should be just like little children in believing. <“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” >What does this mean? Atheists who just cannot fathom believing without obvious proof, proof THEY deem as legitimate. They cannot get out of their own reasoning to accept evidence presented. They cannot accept that a good God could allow us to experience the good and the bad and the horrific. The limits they place on what God is… blocks their ability to see outside of the physical universe. 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: >>Again, Paul quotes from Scripture to prove this doctrine, which was and still is revolutionary to those who think they must please God to receive salvation. 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” >>How blessed we are that God does not hold our sins and failings against us.