What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb:

20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Abraham Justified by Faith

What then shall we say(A) that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh,(B) discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God.(C) What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[a](D)

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift(E) but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.(F) David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”[b](G)

Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised?(H) We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.(I) 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.(J) So then, he is the father(K) of all who believe(L) but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And 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.

13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise(M) that he would be heir of the world,(N) but through the righteousness that comes by faith.(O) 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless,(P) 15 because the law brings wrath.(Q) And where there is no law there is no transgression.(R)

16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace(S) and may be guaranteed(T) 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.(U) 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”[c](V) He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life(W) to the dead and calls(X) into being things that were not.(Y)

18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations,(Z) just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”[d](AA) 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead(AB)—since he was about a hundred years old(AC)—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.(AD) 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened(AE) in his faith and gave glory to God,(AF) 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.(AG) 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”(AH) 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us,(AI) to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him(AJ) who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.(AK) 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins(AL) and was raised to life for our justification.(AM)

Footnotes

  1. Romans 4:3 Gen. 15:6; also in verse 22
  2. Romans 4:8 Psalm 32:1,2
  3. Romans 4:17 Gen. 17:5
  4. Romans 4:18 Gen. 15:5

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