Ben Fetterolf
Follower of Jesus | Husband | Father | Pastor at Hampton Park Baptist Church of Greenville, SC
User since 2019
Ben's proficiency badges
Ben's published pages
There are two realms (or kingdoms!) in which to live. The realm where death reigns and the realm where righteousness reigns.
Romans 5:12-21
Most conversations about biblical manhood/womanhood go to a few NT texts. But what God says in the very beginning sets a solid foundation.
Genesis 2:18-25
In what or whom do you find your joy? Does it last through the varying circumstances of life? Where can true, enduring joy be found?
Romans 5:1-11
"No list of sins I have not done; no list of virtues I pursue; no list of those I am not like can earn myself a place with you..."
Romans 4:1-12
What do your words say about your heart?
James 3:3-12
Trials bring dark days. But those times are most important to remember who God is and who we are.
Hebrews 10:32-39
What do you feel you are lacking today? Are things spinning out of control? Anchor yourself in God's character and promises.
Psalms 23:1-6
How do you respond to disappointments and discouragements? Do you run from them? Avoid them? Paul teaches us how God intends to use them.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Grace, gift, faith. These are the words that dominate this foremost text on how to be made right with God.
Romans 3:21-31
What is the role of the law in the life of a believer? And what does the law teach us about God?
Romans 3:1-20
How highly do you view your words? Are you more likely to encourage others to listen to you or to listen to God?
James 1:19-21
Why do you call yourself a Christian? Your answer to that question is significant and identifies where you rest your hope.
Romans 2:17-29
Have you ever thought about how many sermons you've heard in your lifetime? Knowing is useless apart from faith and repentance.
Romans 2:1-16
We often think of God's wrath on the last day. But how is his wrath manifest in the present day?
Romans 1:18-32
Why do you like spending time with other Christians? Because you have mutual interests? Or because you long to see God at work among them?
Romans 1:8-17
Why did Paul write Romans? What is Romans about? These important questions are answered from the very start of the letter.
Romans 1:1-7
Does God keep you in His love? Or do we keep ourselves in His love? Jude answers this very specifically.
Jude 17-25
Contending for the faith initially seems external. But the greatest battle for the faith may need to happen in my own heart.
Jude 8-16
You're probably familiar with loving others on Sunday. But what does love look like on Monday through Friday?
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
Has your evangelism been fueled by guilt? Why not fuel it with joy?
1 John 1:1-4
view all (21 total)
Justification by Faith Alone
Romans 4:1-5
What role, if any, do works play in being made right with God?
Published January 28th, 2020
Share / Groups / About Author
Main point summary
Romans 4:1-5
Main point summary
James 2:20-24
Main point summary
Abraham has no reason to boast before God because he was counted righteous due to his faith, not his works.
Romans 4:1-5
Romans 4:1-5
What then shall we say was gained by 1 Abraham, t our forefather according to the flesh?
For if Abraham was justified by works,
he has something to boast about,
but u not before God.
For what does the Scripture say?
v “Abraham believed God,
and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
Now w to the one who works,
his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
And to the one who does not work
but x believes in 1 him who justifies the ungodly,
his faith is counted as righteousness,
Main point summary
Faith, accompanied by faith-filled works, proves itself to be true faith, as the example of Abraham shows.
James 2:20-24
James 2:20-24
Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
v Was not Abraham our father justified by works
when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?
You see that w faith was active along with his works,
and faith was completed x by his works;
and the Scripture was fulfilled that says,
y “Abraham believed God,
and it was counted to him as righteousness”—
and he was called a z friend of God.
You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
Brent Karding
In your second bracket, I think you've correctly divided up the text into three pieces, and that the whole has a Bilateral structure.

But 23a and following seem to be part of a Series of results (or Progression) that come from 21. So I would connect 23a more closely to 22a-b, rather than seeing 23a and following as the Result of all of 21-22.

I do like how you made 23d the Result of earlier action - I just think that the action would start in 22 rather than 21.
Ben Fetterolf
Yes, the Series/Progression makes sense. This AND this AND this. And as a result, this (friend of God). Thanks for your feedback on this!
Brent Karding
You're welcome!
Brent Karding
I like your relating verse 3 to all of 1-2 as a Ground, and I agree with everything in 1-2.

I'm not sure that 4-5 works as being an Inference of 3, though. 4 especially seems to be an Explanation of the "gift" idea in 3c.

As I go through it, though, I think Inference would work (and thus Bilateral would work as a whole) if you made 4 the Negative to 5's Positive. Alternative does work, but I like seeing 5 as being emphasized. That definitely seems like an Inference of 3, although 4 does not.

Does all that make sense?
Ben Fetterolf
Yes. Your explanation in your final paragraph is generally what I was thinking. 3 seems to be the Ground of 1-2 with regards to Abraham specifically. And then 4-5 seems to flow out of 3 in the sense that it's saying it's the same for us as it was for Abraham. If I work, then I too have something to boast about (4 parallel in some sense to 2). But if I believe, then my faith is counted as righteousness too (based on the example of Abraham in 3). 

Your comment about emphasizing 5 makes sense.
Brent Karding
Sounds good. I think that 4-5 is one of the rare occasions where either Alternative or Neg-Pos would work (taking 4-5 by itself). But 4-5 isn't saying, "There are two options: you can try to work for salvation or believe." It is saying, "Since verse 3 is true, you should not work but believe."
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.