For 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. Remember that Paul had assumed the position of the Judaizers in order to show them the fallacy of their message of keeping the Law for salvation. The first adjustment Abraham had to make in order for this promise to be valid was salvation adjustment, which he did prior to becoming the father of the Jewish nation. After salvation Abraham made maturity adjustment to the justice of God by the execution of his spiritual life as it was revealed to him. This was the reason God chose Abraham to be the father of the Jews. The promise mentioned in this verse is a reference to the Abrahamic Covenant.
The descendants (seed in the KJV) of Abraham are threefold. The first, the Lord Jesus Christ, is called the seed of Abraham in the Scriptures. (Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:16; Psalm 2:8; Matthew 21:38; Hebrews 1:2) The line of Christ runs through Abraham and Isaac. (Genesis 15:4) But Christ, as the seed of Abraham, is not always in view in every context and definitely not in this one where the seed does not refer to the Lord Jesus Christ.
A second use and meaning in the Scripture for “Abraham’s seed” is the physical seed of Abraham. This includes all of his descendants through Isaac and Jacob (or the racial Jew). It also includes many Arab nations as well. The seed of Abraham is both Jewish and Gentile. It refers sometimes just to the Jews since Abraham is the father of the Jewish race, and the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are often in view. Abraham’s seed would be all of the Jews, which is illustrated in Genesis 13:15-16, 28:14; 2 Chronicles 1:9. This is not in view here in Romans 4:13.
A third use is the spiritual seed of Abraham and this is in view here in Romans 4:13. This includes racial Jews who attain salvation adjustment to the justice of God through faith in Jesus Christ. The Abrahamic Covenant is a blessing from the justice of God. To receive this blessing, the racial Jews must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and receive the imputed righteousness of God to be qualified. The foundation for all divine blessing is the imputation of divine righteousness at the point of salvation and therefore the seed of Abraham in this verse refers to Jews who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is also a spiritual seed of Abraham among the Gentile believers. (Galatians 3:29) Here, however in Romans the reference is to Jewish believers only.
For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified. Paul uses debater’s technique in the form of a conditional sentence which sets up a straw man to emphasize the blasphemous implications and erroneous conclusion of assuming that the Mosaic Law can be distorted into a system of works to produce a relationship with God. Paul took the position of the legalistic Jews in order to refute their position. In other words, Paul is assuming that by self-righteousness derived from keeping the Law you can be saved. It is a debater’s technique, it is not true and it is an assumption to refute the assumption. The phrase “faith is made void” could better be translated by saying “faith has been voided with the result that it is permanently invalidated.”
Legalism and grace are mutually exclusive. They cannot co-exist, one always cancels the other. Legalism cancels blessing from the justice of God. Arrogance and self-righteousness are bedfellows, they always travel together. God’s righteousness, which is one half of divine integrity, and man’s self-righteousness are mutually exclusive. There is no place in salvation adjustment to the justice of God for man’s self-righteousness or works righteousness from the Mosaic Law. Self-righteousness directed toward God is the blasphemous assumption of legalism that the imputation of God’s righteousness is not sufficient and man must add works righteousness from the Law. No amount of human works can add anything to perfect divine integrity.
Faith in Christ, as the grace mechanics of salvation adjustment to the justice of God, is the first system of blessing from God. The word “promise” introduces a system of blessings from maturity adjustment to the justice of God. God demands integrity for blessing. This integrity includes imputed divine righteousness at salvation and maximum doctrine resident in the soul for spiritual maturity. Faith which saves is the principle by which the human race enters into a relationship with the integrity of God.
The fact that millions of Jews have used the Law properly in recognizing their condemnation and turning to Christ for salvation demonstrates the fact that the Law was not always distorted.
For the Law brings about wrath includes the Greek verb “katergazomai,” which means to achieve, to accomplish, to bring about or to produce. The Law is not an instrument of commendation; it is an instrument of condemnation. The Greek word “orge” for wrath is an anthropopathism referring to anger. It is used here to indicate divine judgment from the justice of God against self-righteousness by works. When you try to keep the Law and produce self-righteousness, instead of getting blessing from God, the Law brings about wrath.
But where there is no law, neither is there violation. It is a historical reality that there were many parts of the ancient world, and still are today, where people had never been exposed to the Mosaic Law and where the Law had never been. Are these people to be deprived because they have not studied the Mosaic Law? The answer to that, of course, is no. The Law was given specifically to Israel and it did not exist in Gentile nations. Since the Gentiles did not have the Law they could not distort the Law into a system of self-righteousness.
The Greek word “parabaino” for violation ordinarily means transgression or violation of a law, but it also means to go beyond or to distort. This is not talking about transgressing the Law, it is talking about distorting the Law.
For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace in order that the promise may be certain to all the descendents means salvation is secure because the integrity of God provides it, not because we provide it. When a person believes in Jesus Christ he has eternal security. When a person makes a promise, it is from their integrity. If they have no integrity, the promise is meaningless; if they have integrity, the promise is meaningful. A person’s promises are no stronger than their integrity. God’s integrity is perfect and His promises are always kept.
Not only to those who are of the Law but to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. The Greek conjunction “alla” sets up a contrast between the Jews under the Law and Abraham making salvation adjustment to the justice of God when he lived in the third dynasty of Ur as a Gentile. Abraham was saved as a Gentile and did not become a Jew until he was 99 years of age. Abraham will always be the pattern for salvation and spiritual maturity. The pattern for adjustment to the justice of God is Abraham.
Abraham is the pattern of salvation adjustment to the justice of God through faith in Christ for all of mankind. Abraham is also the pattern for maturity adjustment to the justice of God or maximum doctrine resident in the soul for all believers. The link between salvation and maturity is spirituality. Spirituality in the dispensation of the Church is the filling of the Spirit. However, spirituality in Abraham’s time was the function of the faith-rest technique.
The principle of Faith-Rest is from God, who is perfect. Therefore, the Faith-Rest Technique is perfect. No human deed or work can be added to a perfect provision from God. The believer must cease from human good and enter into a rest where he does no work. The Holy Spirit does the work. The requirement, therefore, for the believer is faith, not human works.
Faith is the absence of any human merit, which means, that in and of itself, faith has no value or worth. The value or worth is in the object of our faith. The object of faith for the believer must always be God and His Word.
Faith-Rest is knowing, believing and applying the promises, the principles and the doctrines of the Word of God. (Isaiah 33:6) There are over 7,000 promises in the Bible for the believer. These promises do us no good unless we mix them with faith and apply them to our situation. (Hebrews 4:2) Claiming these promises eliminates mental attitude sins such as fear, worry and anxiety, which cut off Divine Viewpoint Thinking. Faith-Rest will restore Divine Viewpoint Thinking and stabilize the believer in times of pressure and adversity. Faith-Rest results in a relaxed mental attitude. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Satan is going to use everything at his disposal, which includes his world system and Human Viewpoint Thinking, to distract you from your spiritual life. Remember that the spiritual life is a battle. When you spend time worrying, being upset and disgruntled about life, you’re lining up with Satan’s program and you have lost the battle. Peter warns us about the strategy of Satan. (I Peter 5:7-9)
Casting means “to make a deposit.” In the case of the believer he is to deposit “all of his cares” or literally “all of his anxieties” on the Lord. In other words, give all your worries to God and leave them there. This means that no one is strong enough to carry his own worries. So stop trying to do the impossible and instead use God’s system of Faith-Rest.
Mechanics means that you have predetermined in your mind what course of action you will take when a problem arises. The Faith-Rest Technique is a versatile technique for overcoming any difficult situation, any problem or any disaster. By faith the believer applies doctrine logically while resting in the promises of God. By reaching a doctrinal rationale the believer is re-explaining to himself the basic concepts of doctrine that pertain to his/her relationship with God. This will be necessary in a crisis because emotion will normally take over and suppress proper thinking. You must take deliberate steps to reestablish the control of the Holy Spirit in your soul. Here is how the Faith-Rest Technique works: