Abraham, an Example of Justification by Faith
41What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered according to the flesh? 2If indeed Abraham had been justified by works, he would have had a reason to boast—but not before God. 3For what does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
4Now to a person who works, his pay is not counted as a gift but as something owed. 5But to the person who does not work but believes in the God who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to him as righteousness.
6This is exactly what David says about the blessed state of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven
and whose sins are covered.
8Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.
Abraham Was Justified Before His Circumcision
9Now then, does this blessing apply only to the circumcised, or also to the uncircumcised? To be sure, we maintain that faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness. 10So then, under what circumstances was it credited to him? Was he circumcised or uncircumcised at that time? He was not circumcised but uncircumcised, 11and he received the mark of circumcision as the seal of the righteousness by faith that was already his while he was uncircumcised. So Abraham is the father of all the uncircumcised people who believe, so that righteousness would also be credited to them. 12He is also the father of the circumcised people who are not merely circumcised but also walk in the footsteps of the faith our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
Abraham Received What God Promised by Faith, Not by Law
13Indeed, the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not given to Abraham or his descendants through the law, but through the righteousness that is by faith. 14To be sure, if people are heirs by the law, faith is empty and the promise is nullified. 15For law brings wrath. (Where there is no law, there is no transgression.) 16For this reason, the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace and may be guaranteed to all of Abraham's descendants—not only to the one who is a descendant by law, but also to the one who has the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”
Abraham's Faith Was a Firm Trust in God's Promise
In the presence of God, Abraham believed him who makes the dead alive and calls non-existing things so that they exist. 18Hoping beyond what he could expect, he believed that he would become the father of many nations, just as he was told: “This is how many your descendants will be.” 19He did not weaken in faith, even though he considered his own body as good as dead (because he was about one hundred years old), and even though he considered Sarah's womb to be dead. 20He did not waver in unbelief with respect to God's promise, but he grew strong in faith, giving glory to God 21and being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
23Now the statement “it was credited to him” was not written for him alone, 24but also for us to whom it would be credited, namely, to us who believe in the one who raised our Lord Jesus from the dead. 25He was handed over to death because of our trespasses and was raised to life because of our justification.