John Murray on Romans 4.5 and Abraham’s godliness

Romans 4.5 says that, “to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.”  This is said in the context of Abraham being justified by faith.  And the problem is that there is no record of Abraham being a godless person in the narrative of Genesis nor in Abraham’s summary of it in Romans 4.  So how does Abraham exemplify the justification of the ungodly.

John Murray ways that Paul did not view Abraham as “ungodly.”  In his commentary on Romans he writes about the word “ungodly”:

Verse 5 is a general statement of the method of grace and is not intended to describe Abraham specifically.  We have here, rather, the governing principle of grace; it is exemplified in the case of Abraham becaue he believed in accordance with the principle.

I actually think Abraham is “ungodly” in a manner of speaking, so that Paul is using more of Abraham in his argument than John Murray allows for.  But that can wait for another post.

1 thought on “John Murray on Romans 4.5 and Abraham’s godliness

  1. Pingback: Mark Horne » Blog Archive » Gentile Abraham, David, and Phinehas

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