Romans 4-5: Faith in Jesus Christ Is the Key to Overcoming Sin

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 113–114


Consider for a moment your personal weaknesses. Have you ever wondered how you could better overcome the temptations you face? What might you do to improve your relationship with the Lord and have more power to live righteously?Paul reminded the Jewish Christians that Abraham did not have the law of Moses, yet he was an example of faith and lived a righteous life. The law of Moses was added later because of disobedience. The children of Israel needed to learn to obey that law before they could be trusted with a higher law. Paul taught the people that in every dispensation faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, not the law of Moses, was the key to overcoming sin and living righteously.

Understanding the Scriptures

Romans 4

Justified by works (v. 2)False idea that one’s good acts alone are sufficient to overcome sin and obtain salvation 
Impute, imputed, imputeth (vv. 6, 8, 11, 22, 23–24)Count, counted, counts 

Romans 4:2–5—Additional Insight from the Joseph Smith Translation

The Joseph Smith Translation helps us understand that if we depend on our obedience to the law to save us, we will only get what we have earned by ourselves and no more. But if we have faith in God and try to be obedient, our faith will be counted as righteousness and our sins will be forgiven.

Romans 4:9–12—What Did Paul Mean by This Discussion on Circumcision?

The word circumcision is used here as a symbol of the law of Moses. Many Jews felt they were the only ones who could be called righteous because only they observed the law of Moses. Paul reminded them that God called Abraham righteous because of his faith long before the law was given to Moses.

Romans 5

Commendeth (v. 8)Shows, exhibits 
Reconciled to God (v. 10)Returned to God’s favor 
Sin is not imputed (v. 13)Are not charged with sin 
Similitude (v. 14)Likeness 
Abounded (vv. 15, 20)Overflowed 

Romans 5:12–21—“By the Offence of One … By the Righteousness of One”

Through the transgression of one (Adam), sin and death entered the world. By the mission of another (Jesus Christ) we can receive the gift of God and be saved from sin and death (see also 1 Corinthians 15:21–22).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Romans 4–5.

Activity A iconAbraham, an Example of Faith

Abraham holding Isaac

Paul used the example of Abraham to show that faith in God is the beginning of righteousness. Abraham was called righteous even before the law of Moses was given. Write the following sentences in your notebook and complete them as you read Romans 4:9–25:

  1. 1.

    Abraham was __________ as a __________ of his faith (see v. 11).

  2. 2.

    The promises to Abraham came as a result of his __________, not because of the __________ (see v. 13).

  3. 3.

    God’s promise comes as a __________ because of __________. This makes it available to __________ (see v. 16).

  4. 4.

    Jesus Christ died for our __________, and through His Resurrection we are __________ (see v. 25).

Activity B iconWrite Your Testimony

After reading Romans 5:12–21, write your testimony of Jesus Christ and of His role as your Savior.

Christ praying in Gethsemane