Abraham Justified by Faith
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.”4:3 Gen. 15:6; also in verse 22
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.”4:8 Psalm 32:1,2
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.”4:17 Gen. 17:5 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.
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.”4:18 Gen. 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.
Abraham’s Faith Made Him Right With God
1What should we say about these things? What did Abraham, the father of our people, discover about being right with God? 2Did he become right with God because of something he did? If so, he could brag about it. But he couldn’t brag to God. 3What do we find in Scripture? It says, “Abraham believed God. God accepted Abraham’s faith, and so his faith made him right with God.” (Genesis 15:6)
4When a person works, their pay is not considered a gift. It is owed to them. 5But things are different with God. He makes ungodly people right with himself. If people trust in him, their faith is accepted even though they do not work. Their faith makes them right with God. 6King David says the same thing. He tells us how blessed people are when God makes them right with himself. They are blessed because they don’t have to do anything in return. David says,
7“Blessed are those
whose lawless acts are forgiven.
Blessed are those
whose sins are taken away.
8Blessed is the person
whose sin the Lord never counts against them.” (Psalm 32:1,2)
9Is that blessing only for those who are circumcised? Or is it also for those who are not circumcised? We have been saying that God accepted Abraham’s faith. So his faith made him right with God. 10When did it happen? Was it after Abraham was circumcised, or before? It was before he was circumcised, not after! 11He was circumcised as a sign of the covenant God had made with him. It showed that his faith had made him right with God before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the father of all believers who have not been circumcised. God accepts their faith. So their faith makes them right with him. 12And Abraham is also the father of those who are circumcised and believe. So just being circumcised is not enough. Those who are circumcised must also follow the steps of our father Abraham. He had faith before he was circumcised.
13Abraham and his family received a promise. God promised that Abraham would receive the world. It would not come to him because he obeyed the law. It would come because of his faith, which made him right with God. 14Do those who depend on the law receive the promise? If they do, faith would mean nothing. God’s promise would be worthless. 15The law brings God’s anger. Where there is no law, the law can’t be broken.
16The promise is based on God’s grace. The promise comes by faith. All of Abraham’s children will certainly receive the promise. And it is not only for those who are ruled by the law. Those who have the same faith that Abraham had are also included. He is the father of us all. 17It is written, “I have made you a father of many nations.” (Genesis 17:5) God considers Abraham to be our father. The God that Abraham believed in gives life to the dead. Abraham’s God also creates things that did not exist before.
18When there was no reason for hope, Abraham believed because he had hope. He became the father of many nations, exactly as God had promised. God said, “That is how many children you will have.” (Genesis 15:5) 19Abraham did not become weak in his faith. He accepted the fact that he was past the time when he could have children. At that time Abraham was about 100 years old. He also realized that Sarah was too old to have children. 20But Abraham kept believing in God’s promise. He became strong in his faith. He gave glory to God. 21He was absolutely sure that God had the power to do what he had promised. 22That’s why “God accepted Abraham because he believed. So his faith made him right with God.” (Genesis 15:6) 23The words “God accepted Abraham’s faith” were written not only for Abraham. 24They were written also for us. We believe in the God who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. So God will accept our faith and make us right with himself. 25Jesus was handed over to die for our sins. He was raised to life in order to make us right with God.