Romans 4: 3 credited

I believe that justification is within the heart (Romans 2: 29).

I believe that *logizomai (credited or counted) *is God’s measurement of that reality, that is, justification is in the heart.

When one measures a board, it is called “measure.”

When one measures one’s money, it is called “counted.”

God measured or counted Abraham’s heart and declared that Abraham believed and hope that God would accomplish in Abraham’s heart what God promised–children and a promise land.

(SORRY if this is too hard to read; it is extraordinarily difficult for me to write my thoughts.)

My friend and I were talking about this, and out of our exchange this is some of what came about.

The Jews of Rome were telling the Gentile Catholics of Rome that they were not justified in calling themselves the people of God - “You don’t have the Law, you are not descended from Abraham, you do not have the prophets, you are not circumcised, you do not have the Jewish bloodline, etc.” Paul then tells the Gentile Catholics, “You are justified in considering yourselves the People of God, because you have taken us at our word which we delivered to you from Jesus, just as Abraham took God at his word. So go and do works of God in the world as his special people just as Abraham went and did what God requested as a special person and traveled a thousand miles to Hebron. You are justified in regarding yourselves as the People of God just as Abraham was. Don’t be afraid of those who compare you to the unrepentant Gentiles you once were. You have the obedience of faith that it is my duty to ensure among the Gentiles. You are justified in being this people.” Just as Abraham considered himself justified in thinking he was a “special man of God, who would be the father of a great nation”, Paul wants us to accept the understanding that we are that Special People and he wants us not be intimidated by claims that we are no different than anyone else and we are not a Special People in the world, suited to doing Special Work. That is why Paul is also able to come out and say, “Shall we continue to sin that Grace may abound? By not means!” We are The Special People, the People that does Extraordinary Things; we are not justified in doing the ordinary things of the world that you used to do as Gentiles before you were joined to the Special People. Special People do Special Things; it must be so. Ordinary peoples of the world do ordinary worldly things.

And what did God do with Abraham? He actually followed through and made him the father of a great nation. And with us? For all who know they are the Special People going about doing the Special Things that a Special Person would do, He will follow through giving fruit and growth to their Special Activity. He has “regard” for their faith in being and doing amazing things. He calls (reckons) them “good” (righteous) and their deeds “good” (righteous).

D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:

Romans 4:

Ver. 3. For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him unto justice.[1] The Scripture, therefore, teacheth us that he became just by his faith. And as he had this faith by the grace of God, grace was the cause of his justification, and not any works without grace. And when it is said, it was reputed to him, we must not understand an imputation of being just without a true and interior justice: for to be reputed just in the sight of God, who sees the heart, and sanctifies the soul by his interior grace, is the only true justice that can make a man acceptable to God. As not to have our sins imputed in the sight of God, is to have them forgiven, and to be free from our sins. (Witham) — Reputed, &c. By God, who reputeth nothing otherwise than it is. However, we may gather from this word, that when we are justified, our justification proceedeth from God’s free grace and bounty; and not from any efficacy which any act of ours could have of its own nature, abstracting from God’s grace. (Challoner)

Most today read Romans within the confines of Martin Luther’s protest. They read it as a doctrinal explanation of a legal matter of whether or not you will be allowed into heaven.

Paul however always deals with very practical issues that the Catholic Church was facing in the various locations of their sojourning (here in Rome).

Justification was a practical issue for these Gentile Catholics. “Am I one of the People or not, being a Gentile? I don’t have circumcision; the Jews refuse to let me listen when they read and discuss the Old Testament; I am not descended from Abraham; etc.” So they were beginning huddle together in a state of anxiety about their identity rather than going out and proclaiming the Official Good News of the King (Jesus) and rather than going about doing works of Charity that only this Special People of the New Testament (Covenant) can do.

What of God and Abraham? God came up to Abraham saying, “Come, and Go where I show you; and I will make you father of a Great Nation”.
Abraham’s possible choices:

  1. "Sure you will… but I think I will just go water my camels… "
  2. “I don’t know you… how do I know you will keep your word?.. can you give me some kind of pre-payment, like a son before I pack up and move?”
  3. Looks at God (at His Messenger) in silence; regards him as an honest Person; regards him as being a friend; turns and packs up his belongings on the camels and sets out with Sarai and his servants.

God sees Abraham treating him as a friend to be trusted, and says to Himself, “This man, Abraham, believes Me; he honors My word to him as truth. I will always now treat him as my friend, and do all to him as my friend. I will not deal with him as one deals with customers, where one counts the money before giving them the merchandise. I will give Abraham a sign, now, that will remind him that I reckon him as my friend; I will give him Circumcision, so he will remember that he is a Special Friend of Mine.”

So, when they had to wander in Egypt for a while, even though Abraham lied to Pharaoh about Sarai being his sister, this Friend of Abraham did not “count” the sin, but made the whole situation result to continue making his promise come true for his friend Abraham. And Abraham, though sinning here, and in other times by trying to second guess where the promised son would come from (thus Ishmael), was not dealt with as a debtor to God. His sin was not “imputed” to him, thus changing is stature as God’s friend.

And this is how Paul wanted the Gentile Catholics in Rome to understand themselves. They, like Abraham, believed. And God said about them, “Look at these people who were Gentiles. They think of Me as their Friend, trusting My Son. I therefore will do All that I promised through my Son for them. I will call them “My People” who were no people. I will do my works in the world through them, my People.”

We can’t dwell in Luther’s “legal God” image of how God judges, but look at how God makes friends with us.

To believe exists in the inner man/person/soul.

It is measured/accounted/credited.

Faith really exists; it has ontic reality in the heart/soul.

Faith is a grace/gift.

Grace: love, faith and hope. They are homogenous. They are all blended or joined together. They don’t exist by themselves.

Justification is in us and “seen” by God.

I believe Romans is yelling: God promised to make you good; He keeps His promise. You are good and growing in goodness. Moses’ Ten Words: You will not murder. You will not steal. You will not commit adultery. They are promises.

I do not do any of those–It is His Love–Life-Grace in me that makes me good here and now.

BUT I AM GROWING, TOO. The Kingdom parables address this.

Romans 4: 16 For this reason, it depends on Faith, so that it may be a gift and the promise may be guaranteed to ALL his descendents, not only those who adhere to the law but to those who follow the faith of Abraham, who is Father of us all.

John & thistle:

THANKS!

To both of you, thanks for your ideas and help!

They are perhaps promises more than you know - Hebrew uses the same verb form for Imperative (command) and future tenses.
‘You “shall” not’ can mean both “don’t do it”, and “you won’t do it”
When the New Testament quotes the commandments (for the most part) it uses Future tense in Greek (which is different than Imperative in Greek).

Promises! Yes.

Over the decades I have grown more and more to realize that they are promises.

The Gospel is the power of God to make me good!

Jesus is the Gospel.

Jesus is the FAITH!

Thanks, John

And thanks for the insights on Hebrew and Greek!

Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; 9 it is not from works, so no one may boast. 10 For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.
Romans 5: 1-2 …through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access to this grace…

I believe Paul is saying that Jesus Christ is FAITH.

**He adds many, many other things about faith; however, Jesus is Faith.
**

Jim Baur, you are a rare gift from God to the Church and to this forum

is it any wonder that David sings, “I love your Law, O Lord” in the Psalms? I love your promises.

John Martin:

I want to thank you for the compliment. I have never been told such a thing. Thank you.

I really believe that chapter five yells that God’s love being poured into our hearts is what compels us be love, believe, and grow.

I connect that to all of Scripture. However, one great connection is Luke 10: 25-29. This is the conversation between Jesus and a Jewish man. It is just before the parable of the Good Samaritan. How does one inherit eternal life–love!

The central idea is: One INHERITS ETERNAL LIFE by love. It begins during this life.

Agape begets zoe. * Bios* begets sarx.

John Martin

**This is one of Paul’s teaching on righteousness.**It is an interior reality and it is composed of Love and Faith.

Faith is our faith. And Jesus Christ is Faith.

**Also, God’s love overflows into our hearts and as David says: it overflows from us to others.
**

Ephesians 4: 24 and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Ephesians 6: 14 So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, 15 and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.

I Thessalonians 5: 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet that is hope for salvation.

Jim,
Sounds like everything is clicking together for your understanding, all the bits and pieces into one big picture where all the pieces make sense in their place in the picture…
Nice feeling, isn’t it.

Eureka!

Your Lordship, John:

Between you, me and the fence post, I believe it is absolutely huge.

It is praying Romans from a completely different perspective.

If Paul is correct and believed, (Rom 4: 13-17, esp. 16) “so that it may be a gift, and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants,
not to those ONLY ADHERE TO THE LAW
but to those who follow the faith of Abraham, who is father of us ALL.”

Also, the Gentiles that follow the law written on their hearts.

INCREDIBLE FOR THE ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT, INTER FAITH MOVEMENT AND INTER RELIGIONS.

How could we ever fight about who is saved?

Luk 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. (Elizabeth and Zechariah)

Gen 6:9 These [are] the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man [and] perfect in his generations, [and] Noah walked with God.

1Ch 12:38 All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel [were] of one heart to make David king.

1Ch 29:9 Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.

2Ch 15:17 But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.

2Ch 19:9 And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart.

Ezr 7:12 Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect [peace], and at such a time.

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name [was] Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

1Ch 29:9 Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.

2Ch 15:17 But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.

2Ch 19:9 And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart.

Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple.

Psa 101:2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.

Pro 2:21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.

Pro 11:5 The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.

Isa 26:3 Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee]: because he trusteth in thee.

Isa 38:3 And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done [that which is] good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.

Point: God made people perfect.

Or, maybe, capable of enjoying the actuality of following him perfectly, once they took him at his word, and when aware that he has regard for people who believe him?
I think the Roman Gentiles were on the verge of forgetting that with the sweeping culture around them trying to convince them otherwise.

Interesting statement; is there a question in there somewhere?

Ignatius

There is a question implied.

I am curious if logizomai could be understood as “measure”?

I believe that it can; however, I am not a Greek scholar.

I believe or hold the hypothesis that it is saying that when Abraham believed in the promises of God and hope that those promises would be actualized, that they were actualized. Abraham received children and land.

Then Abraham was measured and God declared that Abraham was now righteous.

I’m thinking it means more like reckoning. A good example would be the quote using the same word in James 2.

		 		 			 			17 				So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. 

20 Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

λογἰζομαι (logizomai) can be taken a number of ways

  1. to determine by a mathematical process (reckon, calculate, count, take into account, evaluate, estimate, consider)
  2. to give careful thought to a matter (think about, consider, ponder, let one’s mind dwell on)
  3. to hold a view about something (think, believe, be of the opinion)

Paul and James had two different reasons, two different audiences they were addressing.

Paul (Romans) had the Gentile Catholics in Rome who were losing confidence that they were really the Church. He wanted them to “hold the view” that they were acceptable to God, being that they, like Abraham, took God at his word as delivered to them by the apostles, of whom Paul was the chief apostle to the Gentiles. He maintains that God holds this view about them, so they should give no credence to the Jews who claim ancestry and religious practices performed are what require God to accept you. (different kind of “work” than what James lists).

James’ readers are Jews who are beginning to see the “free and easy life” of being Catholic rather than the old Jewish requirements. His challenge was to show that faith dwells not simply in the intellect, but in the whole of the soul, which also includes the will. There is the understanding that I choose to believe what Jesus reveals, and it is Good to be united to Him (intellect) and there is Love for Jesus (appearing in the Will). The Will is not at rest until one is united to what one loves, so this Faith, in the whole of the soul (understanding and will) results in the will “moving” or “animating” the body to do the works which join me to the Beloved. Abraham picked up his things and left for Hebron, the place God would show him, to be where his Beloved Friend of the Promise would be awaiting him. But James is speaking (hypothetically) of a person who says he has faith, but just sits there, not jumping up to unite to his true Love. His “faith” is not Infused in his soul, not fully saturating all of his soul, not in his will. You are not a friend if you don’t go and be with your friend. Abraham was with God, and God, looking at him,** reckoned,** “This is my friend, I will be a faithful friend to him in my understanding and in my will”.

But with the “hypothetical” man of faith, he never came to be with the God he has “faith” in, so when God looks, he does not see this “hypothetical man” and has no one in his presence to justify. James wants his readers to fall in love with God, and not see him as a single portion of a multi-faceted world, that you will give some thought now and again.

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