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“Who Can Be Justified?”
Romans 4:9-12
April 30, 2017

Put this in the category of unexpected blessings. When Kushikatsu Tanaka was a young girl, her father developed a particular recipe for deep-fried fried meat on a stick. Though he was a real estate agent, he spent many of his leisure hours perfecting the craft of cooking the meat (also called kushikatsu), and finally he achieved the perfect balance of oil, batter, cooking time, and sauce just right. And then when she was 21, he died and apparently took the recipe with him to the grave.

Tanaka loved the food her father made, loved the restaurant business, and joined a restaurant and tried to replicate her father’s recipe. She failed, and so did the restaurant. So in 2008, after 15 years, the owner told her it was time to close the restaurant and go home. And then she found it. In a box of hand-written notes from her father she found a piece of paper with his scrawled instructions for how to make his kushikatsu. It had been corrected many times, but she was able to decipher his writing so she tried it and — success! The taste was replicated so perfectly, she opened another restaurant — a small one in a poor location outside central Tokyo and it immediately became so popular that clients were still lined up at 1:00 a.m. to eat. She opened another store and then another. And this year she has plans to open 40 more.

All that from a handwritten note on a piece of paper found in an overlooked box. Talk about an unexpected blessing. In a similar way, many of the blessings of the believer are unexpected as well. And justification is one kind of blessing like that — reading the OT, we might assume that we Gentiles have been cut out of the blessings of justification, but in Romans 4:9-12, Paul reveals that we can also receive the gift of justification. Who can be justified? The message of good news in these verses is that:

Justification is available to all men.

To see the truth that justification is available to all men — not just God’s chosen people, the Jews — let’s ask and answer the questions that Paul asks in this passage:

  1. Who Gets the Blessing of Justification? (v. 9)
  2. How Was Justification Imputed? (vv. 10-11a)
  • Under what circumstances was justification first imputed? (v. 10)
  • So what was the value of circumcision? (v. 11a)
  1. Why was Justification Imputed This Way? (vv. 11b-12)
  • So Abraham might be the spiritual father of all (v. 11b)
  • So Abraham might be the model of justification (v. 12)
  1. Why is This Important?
  • It removes all efforts at self-righteousness
  • It clarifies faith alone and exalts God
  • It enfolds us into the plan of God

Download the rest of this sermon from Romans 4:9-12.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.