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

Favoritism Forbidden

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious(A) Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.(B) Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges(C) with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters:(D) Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world(E) to be rich in faith(F) and to inherit the kingdom(G) he promised those who love him?(H) But you have dishonored the poor.(I) Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?(J) Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a](K) you are doing right. But if you show favoritism,(L) you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.(M) 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles(N) at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.(O) 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b](P) also said, “You shall not murder.”[c](Q) If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged(R) by the law that gives freedom,(S) 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.(T) Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith and Deeds

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?(U) Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.(V) 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?(W) 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.(X)

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds,(Y) and I will show you my faith(Z) by my deeds.(AA) 19 You believe that there is one God.(AB) Good! Even the demons believe that(AC)—and shudder.

20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]?(AD) 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?(AE) 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together,(AF) and his faith was made complete by what he did.(AG) 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e](AH) and he was called God’s friend.(AI) 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?(AJ) 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.(AK)

Footnotes

  1. James 2:8 Lev. 19:18
  2. James 2:11 Exodus 20:14; Deut. 5:18
  3. James 2:11 Exodus 20:13; Deut. 5:17
  4. James 2:20 Some early manuscripts dead
  5. James 2:23 Gen. 15:6

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