Our last study brought us to Romans 4:12. Today, we step back and consider the Greek word “logizomai” (G3049) in the fourth chapter of Romans and what it teaches. It occurs 41 times in the New Testament (NT). The King James (KJV) translates it with 13 different English words: 9 times as “think,” 8 “impute,” 6 “reckon,” 5 “count,” 4 “account,” twice as “suppose,” and once each as “reason,” “number,” “despise,” “conclude,” “esteem,” “think on” and “lay to (one’s) charge.” The Greek Lexicon defines it: “to occupy one’s self with reckonings or calculations. To reckon or count; to reckon anything to a person, to put it to his account, either in his favor or what he must be answerable for.” It’s found 19 times in Romans, which is the most frequent of any NT book and it stands out in the fourth chapter where it occurs 11 times, by far the most frequent of any chapter. In the 4th chapter it is translated “counted,” “reckoned,” “imputeth,” “impute” and “imputed,” which is significant and behooves us to carefully consider what the Holy Spirit is teaching with it.
Following, the English words translated from the Greek “logizomai” are highlighted in each verse in Romans chapter 4:
- “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3, a quote from Genesis 15:6. This teaches that God put righteousness on Abraham’s account; He reckoned Abraham righteous; He imputed righteousness to Abraham …. simply because Abraham believed Him.
- “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.” Romans 4:4. The reward (Greek meaning dues paid for work) is not counted of Grace; conversely, debt compounds and is imputed, i.e., put on the account of any man or woman who attempts to work by their own power to gain the righteousness of God.
- “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Romans 4:5. This concept may be difficult for many people to believe and accept. However, the truth is that those who don’t try to work by their own efforts for righteousness, but simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, their faith (believing) is counted or put on their account for righteousness.
- “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Romans 4:6 – 7. These and the following verse quote King David in Psalms 32:1 – 2. However, we note these 3 verses are not exact quotes of the words translated from what David wrote. Thus, we know that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to give the full meaning in Romans to what David wrote in Psalms. David described how blessed a person is whose iniquities (which in the Greek means their violation/s of the law) are forgiven and their sins are covered. The Greek word translated “covered” is used only here in the NT and it means to cover over, just as the Hebrew word in Psalms 32:1 translated “covered” means to “cover, clad self, close, clothe, conceal, hide, etc.”
- “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute” Romans 4:8. This quote from Psalms 32:2 teaches that the man or woman who believes God is blessed by God because He does not reckon or impute their sin to them.
Thus, from verses 6, 7 & 8 believers are assured they are blessed by believing God: 1- with God’s righteousness without out working for it; 2- their iniquities are forgiven, and sins covered; and 3- God will not impute/ put sins on their accounts. Paul expanded on this truth in 2 Corinthians 5:9: “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing (logizomai) their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
- “Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.” Romans 4:9. Paul turns to the Jew, most of whom thought they were blessed just because they were Jews, i.e., they were Abraham’s descendants and were circumcised. He asks rhetorically, is God’s blessedness for the circumcision (Jews) only, or for the uncircumcision (Gentiles) also? He asks this because he had stated that faith was imputed to Abraham for righteousness and he answers this question in the next verse.
- “How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.” Romans 4:10. Paul asks, again rhetorically, was righteousness reckoned to Abraham after he was circumcised or before and he answers that Abraham was indeed reckoned righteous before he was circumcised.
- “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: 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.” Romans 4:11 – 12. This must have been disappointing to the self-righteous Jews and one of the reasons they persecuted Paul who taught this wherever he went. Abraham was counted righteous prior to being circumcised making him the father of all who believe, even Gentiles. However, note carefully he adds, “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.” This means that being a circumcised Jew alone was/is not enough; the Jew must “also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised” in order to be imputed with God’s righteousness.
- Romans 4:13 – 19 teaches that the promise God gave Abraham that he and his seed would be heir to the world was not through the Law God subsequently gave Moses, but it was through the righteousness of faith. This because if it had been through the law, that would have voided the righteousness that comes through faith, because the Law can only bring the wrath of judgment because if there is no law there is nothing to be judged by. Therefore, righteousness comes through faith by God’s Grace to all, who like Abraham, believe God’s Word and this makes Abraham the father of all who believe, whether Jew or Gentile. This passage continues that even though when Abraham was about 100 years old, meaning he and Sarah’s bodies were considered dead as far as producing a son, Abraham believed God’s Word that they would have a son; and “he (Abraham) staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore, it was imputed to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:20 – 22. Abraham was counted or reckoned righteous before God because he believed and praised God, being totally sure God would do what He promised.
- “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;” Romans 4:23. God had a plan, that being that righteousness was not just imputed or reckoned for Abraham’s sake alone.
- “But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Romans 4:24 – 25. The good news for us is that righteousness is imputed or reckoned or put on our account if we believe on God who raised Jesus from the dead Who died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (or righteousness).
Paul condenses all this in the plan of salvation in his epistle to the Corinthians: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” 1 Corinthians 15:1 – 4.