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In light of all of this, what should we say about our ancestor Abraham? If Abraham was made right by performing certain works, then he would surely have something to brag about. Right? Not before the Creator God, because as the Scriptures say, “Abraham believed God and trusted in His promises, so God counted it to his favor as righteousness.”[a] Now, when you work a job, do your wages come as a gift or as compensation for your work? It is most certainly not a gift—you are only paid what you have earned. So for the person who does not work, but instead trusts in the One who makes the ungodly right, his faith is counted for him as righteousness.

Remember the psalm where David speaks about the benefits that come to the person whom God credits with righteousness apart from works? He said,

Blessed are those whose wrongs have been forgiven
    and whose sins have been covered.
Blessed is the person whose sin the Lord will not take into account.[b]

So is this blessing spoken only for the circumcised or for all uncircumcised people too? We remind you what the Scripture has to say: faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.[c]

10 So when was the credit awarded to Abraham? Was it before or after his circumcision? Well, it certainly wasn’t after—it was before he was circumcised. 11 Eventually he was given circumcision as a sign of his right standing, indicating that he was credited on the basis of the faith he possessed before he was circumcised. It happened this way so that Abraham might become the spiritual father of all those who are not circumcised but are made right through their faith. 12 In the same way, God destined him to be the spiritual father of all those who are circumcised as more than an outward sign, but who walk in our father Abraham’s faithful footsteps—a faith he possessed while he was still uncircumcised.

13 The promise given to Abraham and his children, that one day they would inherit the world, did not come because he followed the rules of the law. It came as a result of his right standing before God, a standing he obtained through faith. 14 If this inheritance is available only to those who keep the law, then faith is a useless commodity and the promise is canceled. 15 For the law brings God’s wrath against sin. But where the law doesn’t draw the line, there can be no crime.

16 This is the reason that faith is the single source of the promise—so that grace would be offered to all Abraham’s children, those whose lives are defined by the law and those who follow the path of faith charted by Abraham, our common father. 17 As it is recorded in the Scriptures, “I have appointed you the father of many nations.”[d] In the presence of the God who creates out of nothing and holds the power to bring to life what is dead, Abraham believed and so became our father.

18 Against the odds, Abraham’s hope grew into full-fledged faith that he would turn out to be the father of many nations, just as God had promised when He said, “That’s how many your descendants will be.”[e] 19 His faith did not fail, although he was well aware that his impotent body, after nearly 100 years, was as good as dead and that Sarah’s womb, too, was dead. 20 In spite of all this, his faith in God’s promise did not falter. In fact, his faith grew as he gave glory to God 21 because he was supremely confident that God could deliver on His promise. 22 This is why, you see, God saw his faith and counted him as righteous; this is how he became right with God.

23 The story of how faith was credited to Abraham was not recorded for him and him alone, 24 but was written for all of us who would one day be credited for having faith in God, the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the realm of the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our trespasses and raised so that we might be made right with God.

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