David -v- Doug: Romans 4:15


Are the Commandments still valid today?

Bible Answers Live – Doug Batchelor

Romans 4:15

Doug’s Bible Reference: “Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression” Romans 4:15

David’s Bible Answer: Romans 4 contains the two great pillars of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  1. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,  Romans 4:6
  2. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.  Romans 4:8

We need both to inherit eternal life. Not only must man be forgiven of his sins, he must also be accounted as righteous. Both are provided by faith alone through God’s promises given us in Christ Jesus. Neither can be obtained through works. No amount of good works, nor lack of evil works can merit us as being worthy of forgiveness or make us righteous. We cannot look to ourselves point our fingers up to Heaven and say look how good I have been, or look at all the evil I have abstained from, and expect to be accounted righteous and forgiven. Salvation does not work like that, neither is that the gospel.

Rather the gospel is built upon God’s promises to us through Jesus Christ. We must believe in these promises and claim them for ourselves through faith in order to inherit eternal life. First God promises to account us as righteous, and second He promises that He will not take an inventory of our sins and lay there charges against us. All guilt, all condemnation… all that we deserved including eternal death has already come into judgment through the death of Christ on the Cross. Jesus has answered the Laws charges against us and paid for all of our transgressions against God in full. Jesus paid it all!

Isaiah 53:5-8  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.  8  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

To which sin can the Law lay charge against us, to which Christ has not paid the price in full? It is because of the Cross that God is now able to equivalently promise with full assurance …the Lord will not impute sin.  Romans 4:8. How can God make such a profound and far reaching promise to us? It is because God imputed all of our sins upon Christ and Jesus died on our behalf …the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6.

Our obedience to the Law, or failure to live up to its standards can neither merit us worthy of what Christ has paid for with His blood nor separate us from the full blessings we receive through believing in the Promise …the Lord will not impute sin. Yes dear friend, Jesus has paid it all! So stop right here and say this with me …the Lord will not impute sin. Do you BELIEVE it? According to your faith so be it unto you? You must believe!

This promise is at the core of the New Covenant. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”  Hebrews 8:12. The one thing that is impossible for God to do is lie. God who is all knowing promises that he will remember our sins no more. Our record of iniquities are vanished entirely from God’s memory as though they had never happened. There is not one sin left to which the Law can lay charges against us. Jesus paid it all!

What does all of this have to do with Romans 4:15? EVERYTHING!

The law within the surrounding context of Romans 4:15, is not the Ten commandments. Rather it is laws given to the circumcision i.e. Israel. The Ten commandments are not mentioned in any way in Romans 4. The chapters references to “the law” clearly encompasses the whole law of Moses dating back to its very roots 430 years earlier when circumcision was first given to Abraham.

Romans 4:9-16  Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.  10  How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.  11  And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:  12  And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.  13  For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.  14  For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:  15  BECAUSE the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.  16  Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.

Now I know that Doug would never use Romans 4:15 as a “proof text” to teach that Christians are obligated to be circumcised and obey the law of Moses! However he does use Romans 4:15 as a proof text that we must obey “the law.” But what Doug fails to recognize is that the law within the context is the law of Moses. Therefore if Doug wants to use Romans 4:15 as a “proof text” that we must obey the law, by default he is obligated to keep the law of Moses. Obviously Doug would never teach such a thing, but I think you see my point, that his usage of Romans 4:15 as a “proof text” simply could not be any further off the mark.

Paul’s entire message in Romans 4 is that we are justified by faith alone! That we could never be justified by the works of the law. Paul goes to great lengths in Romans 4 to teach us that this was always God’s intended plan having justified Abraham through faith in His promise before Abraham was circumcised. Galatians 2 elaborates even further about this point when he tells us that the seed promised to Abraham was Christ. So Abraham was justified by faith alone in the promise that the Messiah would one day come through his seed.

“For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:  15  BECAUSE the law worketh wrath…” Does this sound like an endorsement for law keeping? Doug seems to think so because he jumps right over this introductory context and simply quotes “for where no law is, there is no transgression.”

“See! We need to obey the law! Paul mentions the law here so that must mean that we need to obey the law to have eternal life!” (I am being sarcastic here to impress just how weak Doug’s usage of Romans 4;15 as a proof text really is).

Seriously? What kind of argument is that? Everything about the context clearly is saying the exact opposite! To further agitate matters we have the whole problem that the law in this context are the laws made for the circumcision i.e. Israel.

By emphasizing the law in Romans 4:15 Doug is completely missing  the entire message of the gospel Paul is teaching us in Romans 4. Not only is this recording from Bible Answers Live filled with a false teaching that totally ignore context… this is some seriously bad teaching as well that completely undermines and dishonors the message of the Gospel that is surrounding this verse and saturating it with tremendously good news which totally contradicts Doug’s usage of this verse!


Pretexts| Matthew 5:17-19 | Mark 10:17-22 |Matthew 15:3-9 | Romans 4:15 | John 14:15 |1 John 5:2-3

About David M. Curtis

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David is a self-employed business owner who enjoys web and graphics design, a good TV show or movie, spending time with his animals and friends. For many years,David taught the Bible on the west coast 5 days a week over the radio for a broadcast he called, "The Loud Cry Ministry." David has been in ministry his entire adult life, having visited and taught in churches coast to coast, including churches in California, New York, Tennessee, Kansas, Nevada, Texas, Georgia, Oregon and Washington. David has been in marketing for over a dozen years now having owned or managed four offices, with hundreds of employees. David is responsible for creating and developing projects that cost in excess of half a million dollars, and absolutely loves developing new concepts and ideas and turning them into a reality. Currently David resides in Cincinnati OH where he works from home managing his online business US Home Work Force for the past three years, in which he provides websites and training for thousands of people all across the country helping them to earn a substantial income over the Internet.

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