Romans Bible Study # 14
Sola Scriptura= Scripture Alone (Perspicuous)
13For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.
14For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified;
15for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.
16For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,
17(as it is written, "A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU") in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.
Looking at verse 13 Everything that Adam lost by disobedience was restored to us by the death and resurrection of Jesus. So the command to Adam to “subdue the earth” will one day be brought to fruition. I thought of the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son. “Son everything I have is yours” the father tells the bitter, angry, older brother.
What will eternity be like? Does the title “heir of the world” hit home? Is it real to us, this incredible blessing that is so freely given? It should be becoming more and more clear that there is no way that we could “do” anything to be worthy of these incredible blessings. Being right with the perfect, holy God. Having peace with Him. Being made righteous. Being given the “world.” The thing that Satan, offers but cannot give, God gives to us, who truly believe. No, no one would conceive that the law could lead to this. We can’t follow the law for as long as it takes a thought to form in our mind, there is no way we can “perform” our way into this kingdom. We have access only through faith.
Verse 14 The law, an earthly system, can never gain access to such an amazing promise. Barth says, “Faith is faith, only when it is an ‘advance’, possible and comprehensible because it comes from God alone, and from God Himself. Faith is creative, only in so far as it is light from light uncreated; living, only when it is life from death; positive, only if by it men are grounded upon the groundlessness of God.” Basically the promise is supernatural and the means to gain the promise has to be supernatural too.
Verse 15 The law brings wrath, because we can not do it. So we fall short and the only thing awaiting us is wrath, separation from the holy God and eternal torment. The law, apart from faith, forms an obstacle to the inheritance of the kingdom. The law testifies to the reality of God, but it does not possess God. Faith is rid of all arrogance and aware of its own emptiness before the pure “No” of God. As Larry said on Sunday the choice is rather easy. Wrath or ‘heir of the world.’ So satan must be very ‘worldly wise’ because his strategy to blind so many and lead them to choose quick, temporary pleasures is working. The gospel of truth and life and eternal joy is losing on many fronts and it doesn’t make sense.
Verse 16 Since the promise is by faith it is open to all who are children of Abraham. The law would have been exclusive and limited, faith brings us all in.
Verse 17 Abraham was the father of one nation Israel, and another nation Arabs, but in the physical, he was not the father of ‘many nations.’ No, this sentence, spoken in Gen. 17:5 is a foretelling of the many nations of the ‘gentiles’ who would come into the kingdom, by faith. This faith is what “brings the known condition and status of human life into relation with the unknown God. Abraham is the father of us all “before God,” in His view, not according to the flesh.” Barth
Faith is our door into the kingdom of God. Faith looks at “dead” and says God can bring life to this. Faith looks at “does not exist” and says God can, with a word, call this into being. “Faith beholds life and existence where the man of the world see nothing but death and non-existence; and contrariwise, it sees death and non-existence where he behold full-blooded life.”
Sola Scriptura - “The Romish understanding of using both scripture and tradition had led to some false things coming in. So the reformers felt that tradition needed to be dropped and there needed to be a return to Scripture Alone as the ONLY thing necessary to give us an understanding of God’s will and what He requires of us. Probably the best argument for this is the teaching of Christ Himself. Christ rebukes the Pharisees for adding to and perverting the Scriptures.--Matt. 15:7-9; Mark 7:5-8; see also Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Josh. 1:7.
All Christians are commanded to search the scriptures, and by them to judge all doctrines and all professed teachers.--John 5:39; Acts 17:11; Gal. 1:8; 2 Cor. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:21; 1 John 4:1,2.”
The reformers argument for, scripture alone, uses the word perspicuous a lot. Perspicuous - plain to the understanding especially because of clarity and precision of presentation. Their argument is because Scripture is perspicuous, due to the anointing of God, adding “tradition” just ‘muddies the water.
The truth as I see it is, there have been times when men have misinterpreted scripture and gone off the deep end, but, the idea of having men add traditions that are held up as equal to scripture leads to big-time errors too and those errors when held up as necessary for all the church to follow, become bigger than the errors of one man’s misinterpretation. If that man would humbly submit his interpretation to the ‘church’ he could then be corrected (or upheld) by others in the church who were holding fast to scripture, led by the Holy Spirit. Most, if not all, of the errors of personal interpretation would be handled if a humble spirit was displayed. So the refusal of a man to submit his interpretation to a church body, is a huge “red flag” that this is not the work of God.