Abraham Justified by Faith
1What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather#Rm 1:3 according to the flesh, has found?#4:1 Or What then shall we say? Have we found Abraham to be our forefather according to the flesh? or What, then, shall we say that Abraham our forefather found according to the flesh? 2If Abraham was justified#4:2 Or was declared righteous, or was acquitted by works,#1Co 1:31 he has something to boast about — but not before God. 3For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.#4:3Gn 15:6#Gn 15:6; Gl 3:6; Jms 2:23 4Now to the one who works,#Rm 11:6 pay is not credited as a gift, but as something owed. 5But to the one who does not work, but believes on him who justifies the ungodly,#Jn 3:33; Rm 3:22 his faith is credited for righteousness.
David Celebrating the Same Truth
6Likewise, David also speaks of the blessing of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 Blessed are those whose lawless acts are forgiven
and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the person
the Lord will never charge with sin. # 4:7–8 Ps 32:1–2 # Ps 32:1–2; 2Co 5:19
Abraham Justified before Circumcision
9Is this blessing only for the circumcised,#Rm 3:30 then? Or is it also for the uncircumcised? For we say, Faith was credited to Abraham for righteousness.#4:9Gn 15:6#Gn 15:6 10In what way, then, was it credited — while he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? It was not while he was circumcised, but uncircumcised. 11And he received the sign of circumcision#Gn 17:10–11 as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith#4:11 Lit righteousness of faith, also in v. 13#Jn 3:33 while still uncircumcised. This was to make him the father#Lk 19:9 of all who believe#Rm 3:22 but are not circumcised, so that righteousness may be credited to them also. 12And he became the father of the circumcised, who are not only circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith our father Abraham had while he was still uncircumcised.
The Promise Granted through Faith
13For the promise to Abraham#Rm 9:8; Gl 3:16; Heb 6:15,17; 7:6; 11:9,17 or to his descendants that he would inherit the world#Gn 17:4–6; 21:17–18 was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14If those who are of the law are heirs,#Gl 3:18 faith is made empty and the promise nullified, 15because the law produces wrath.#Rm 7:7,10–25; 1Co 15:56; Gl 3:10 And where there is no law,#Rm 3:20 there is no transgression.
16This is why the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace,#Rm 3:24 to guarantee it to all the descendants#Rm 9:8; 15:8 — not only to the one who is of the law#4:16 Or not to the one who is of the law only but also to the one who is of Abraham’s faith. He is the father of us all. 17As it is written: I have made you the father of many nations#4:17Gn 17:5#Gn 17:5 — in the presence of the God in whom he believed, the one who gives life to the dead#Jn 5:21 and calls#Is 48:13; 51:2 things into existence that do not exist.#1Co 1:28 18He believed, hoping against hope, so that he became the father of many nations#4:18Gn 17:5#Gn 17:5 according to what had been spoken: So will your descendants be.#4:18 Gn 15:5#Gn 15:5 19He did not weaken in faith when he considered#4:19 Other mss read He did not consider his own body to be already dead#Heb 11:12 (since he was about a hundred years old)#Gn 17:17 and also the deadness of Sarah’s womb.#Gn 18:11 20He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,#Mt 9:8 21because he was fully convinced#Rm 14:5 that what God had promised, he was also able to do.#Gn 18:14; Heb 11:19 22Therefore, it was credited to him for righteousness.#4:22Gn 15:6#Gn 15:6; Rm 4:3 23Now it was credited to him#4:23Gn 15:6 was not written for Abraham alone,#Rm 15:4; 1Co 9:9; 10:11; 2Tm 3:16 24but also for us. It will be credited to us who believe in him#Rm 10:9; 1Pt 1:21 who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.#Ac 2:24 25He was delivered up for#4:25 Or because of our trespasses#Rm 5:6,8; 8:32; Gl 2:20; Eph 5:2 and raised for our justification.#Rm 5:18; 1Co 15:17; 2Co 5:15
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