1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter?2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about – but not before God.3What does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ (Ge 15:6)4Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.5However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.6David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:7‘Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.8Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.’ (Ps 32:1; Ps 32:2)9Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.10Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!11And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.12And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.13It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.14For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless,15because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.16Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.17As it is written: ‘I have made you a father of many nations.’ He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed – the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. (Ge 17:5)18Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ (Ge 15:5)19Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.20Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,21being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.22This is why ‘it was credited to him as righteousness.’23The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone,24but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness – for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.25He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
English Standard Version
Abraham Justified by Faith
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)