1What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? (Ro 4:16)2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. (1Co 1:31)3For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” (Ge 15:6; Ro 4:9; Ro 4:22; Ga 3:6; Tit 3:8; Jas 2:23)4Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. (De 9:4; Ro 11:6)5And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, (Joh 6:29; Ro 3:22)6just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:7“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; (Ps 32:1)8blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (2Co 5:19)9Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. (Ro 3:30; Ro 4:3)10How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.11He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, (Ge 17:10; Lu 19:9; Ro 3:22; Ro 4:12; Ro 4:16)12and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
The Promise Realized Through Faith
13For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. (Ge 17:4; Ac 13:32; Ro 9:8; Ga 3:16; Heb 6:15; Heb 6:17; Heb 7:6; Heb 11:9; Heb 11:17)14For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. (Ga 3:17)15For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. (Ro 3:20; Ro 7:7; Ro 7:10; 2Co 3:7; 2Co 3:9; Ga 3:10; Ga 3:19)16That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, (Ro 3:24; Ro 9:8; Ro 15:8; Ga 3:22)17as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. (Ge 17:5; Joh 5:21; Ro 4:18; 1Co 1:28; Heb 11:3; Heb 11:19)18In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” (Ge 15:5)19He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. (Ge 17:17; Ge 18:11; Heb 11:12)20No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,21fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (Ge 18:14; Heb 11:19)22That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”23But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, (Ps 102:18; Ro 15:4; 1Co 9:9; 1Co 10:6; 1Co 10:11; 2Ti 3:16)24but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, (Ac 2:24; Ro 10:9; 1Pe 1:21)25who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (Isa 53:5; Mt 20:28; Ro 5:6; Ro 5:8; Ro 5:18; Ro 8:32; 1Co 15:17; Ga 1:4)