Last week, in Romans 4:9-12, we saw that the sign of circumcision came to Abraham 14 years after he was saved. Abraham was saved when he believed God’s promise, when he took God at His word. In verses 13-17, Paul puts law and faith opposite each other to heighten the importance of righteousness by faith. Dr. Barnhouse says, “When Abraham was justified before God, he had no law, and he had no ceremony or sign; he had nothing but faith. This shows us very clearly, then, that faith does not depend on anything other than the pure and unadulterated grace of God.” Again, we can ask, “why does Paul keep beating the drum of Justification by faith?” For one, it is because “justification by faith” is key to the Christian faith. The fundamental nature of being a Christian is found in the word justification. We become Christians when we are justified. Secondly, Paul does not assume that his readers have grasped what it means, and what impact it will have on their lives. If you read parallel discussion of justification by faith in Galatians (2:11-ff), you see how Peter needed to learn more about what it means to be justified by faith. If Peter needed to learn more about Justification by faith, so do we! Paul gives us his main point (God’s promise comes through faith not through the Law.) in verse 13. “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.” Paul will develop his main point in verses 14-17 by looking at the negative and positive sides of receiving the promises of God through faith. I want to speak to the positive side of his main point in verse 16. “That is why (the ineffectiveness of the law) it (salvation and inheritance) depends on faith, in order that the promise (justification and inheritance) may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adher-ent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” The promise of God’s for-giveness, His salvation and all that goes with it comes because of grace. What is grace? It is God’s undeserved favor given to people. God does not play fair with those who have faith in Him and what He has accomplished. He gives people of faith what they do not deserve. Why must God’s promise be according to grace? If it was according to law, then salvation would demand total obedience. The law says, “you shall” and no one ever has. God’s promise needs to be according to grace to “guarantee” it’s success. Promise says, “I will” and He always has. It is crucial that we can distinguish between the law and the promise. Law demands our obedience, but promise demands our faith. Can you tell the difference between law and promise? Many people believe they are a Christian because they made a promise to be good, or to live for Jesus, or to really repent. Those things are important but are not the essence of what it means to be a Christian. That is the law. To become a Christian is to believe in the promise of God that He has made you righteous. It doesn’t mean you suddenly stop sinning. It means God doesn’t view you the same way anymore. It means your sins can no longer bring you into condemnation. It means you’re ac-cepted. It means you’re righteous in God’s sight. That’s a promise.