The example of Abraham
1Well then, what can we say about our ancestor Abraham? 2If he became acceptable to God because of what he did, then he would have something to boast about. But he would never be able to boast about it to God. 3#Gen 15.6; Gal 3.6.The Scriptures say, “God accepted Abraham because Abraham had faith in him.”
4Money paid to workers isn't a gift. It is something they earn by working. 5But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in him. 6In the Scriptures David talks about the blessings that come to people who are acceptable to God, even though they don't do anything to deserve these blessings. David says,
7 # Psa 32.1,2. “God blesses people
whose sins are forgiven
and whose evil deeds
8The Lord blesses people
whose sins are erased
from his book.”
9Are these blessings meant for circumcised people or for those who are not circumcised? Well, the Scriptures say that God accepted Abraham because Abraham had faith in him. 10But when did this happen? Was it before or after Abraham was circumcised? Of course, it was before.
11 # Gen 17.10. Abraham let himself be circumcised to show that he had been accepted because of his faith even before he was circumcised. This makes Abraham the father of all who are acceptable to God because of their faith, even though they are not circumcised. 12This also makes Abraham the father of everyone who is circumcised and has faith in God, as Abraham did before he was circumcised.
The promise is for all who have faith
13 # Gen 17.4–6; 22.17,18; Gal 3.29. God promised Abraham and his descendants that he would give them the world. This promise wasn't made because Abraham had obeyed a law, but because his faith in God made him acceptable. 14#Gal 3.18.If Abraham and his descendants were given this promise because they had obeyed a law, then faith would mean nothing, and the promise would be worthless.
15God becomes angry when his Law is broken. But where there isn't a law, it cannot be broken. 16#Gal 3.7.Everything depends on having faith in God, so that God's promise is assured by his great kindness. This promise isn't only for Abraham's descendants who have the Law. It is for all who are Abraham's descendants because they have faith, just as he did. Abraham is the ancestor of us all. 17#Gen 17.5.The Scriptures say that Abraham would become the ancestor of many nations. This promise was made to Abraham because he had faith in God, who raises the dead to life and creates new things.
18 # Gen 15.5. God promised Abraham a lot of descendants. And when it all seemed hopeless, Abraham still had faith in God and became the ancestor of many nations. 19#Gen 17.17.Abraham's faith never became weak, not even when he was nearly a hundred years old. He knew that he was almost dead and that his wife Sarah could not have children. 20But Abraham never doubted or questioned God's promise. His faith made him strong, and he gave all the credit to God.
21Abraham was certain that God could do what he had promised. 22So God accepted him, 23just as we read in the Scriptures. But these words were not written only for Abraham. 24They were written for us, since we will also be accepted because of our faith in God, who raised our Lord Jesus to life. 25#Isa 53.4,5.God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and he raised him to life, so that we would be made acceptable to God.