Having made his powerful and convincing arguments regarding justification through faith alone in Christ alone, the apostle once again anticipates an objection he knew his countrymen would be wont to make.  They might perhaps agree that some sinners, perhaps such a one as Paul had been, would need a method of salvation that was entirely through the gratuitous grace of God.  But what about the great heroes of the Hebrew faith?  Abraham was called the friend of God, and his character was eulogized on more than one occasion by Jehovah Himself.  Did not this man, at least, and perhaps a few others of exemplary godliness, contribute at least some portion of personal merit to their soul’s salvation?


This is the question, or the objection, that Paul begins to address as we enter into the 4th chapter.  By using Abraham as a case in point, he skillfully dismantles all the arguments the Jews could muster to contend for salvation through works.  Surely all must agree, that if even Abraham, the father of the faithful, was saved only by God’s gracious imputation of righteousness, then no sinner anywhere can be saved by his own goodness.