(Rom 4:1 NASB)  What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?

Rom 4:1:      Paul is now going to use the examples of two of the most revered men of Elohim in the history of Scripture and demonstrate that salvation only came from their faithfulness, not from their works they performed from their own efforts..
(Rom 4:2 NASB)  For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God.

Rom 4:3:      Abraham believed and trusted in Elohim.  This is how he was declared righteous (Gen. 15:3-6).  Abraham had not performed any righteous acts nor was he circumcised at this time.  Abraham was reckoned as righteous because he was faithful and trusted the promise of Elohim, not because he had undergone circumcision (which is the argument that Paul is battling here).
(Rom 4:4 NASB)  Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due.
(Rom 4:5 NASB)  But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,

Rom 4:5:      It is not our works (circumcision, in particular) that count toward our redemption.  It is by our faithfulness in Elohim (which is a gift from Him) that He justifies the ungodly.  It is our faithfulness is what is reckoned as righteousness.
(Rom 4:6 NASB)  just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:

Rom 4:8:      This is a quote from Psalm 32:1-2 which was written by David.  David knew of the forgiveness and salvation that man could only have through the graciousness of Elohim.
(Rom 4:9 NASB)  Is this blessing then upon the circumcised, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say, “FAITH WAS RECKONED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

(Rom 4:10 NASB)  How then was it reckoned? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised;

Rom 4:10:      Paul makes the excellent point that the righteousness of Abraham was reckoned to him at least fourteen years before he was circumcised.
Paul is battling the mindset that those who are uncircumcised are unclean and unable to achieve redemption until circumcision.  That was the view of the Judaizers in that day.  They claimed that the Gentiles MUST first become Jewish proselytes before they can then be a part of Israel.  Paul is effectively refuting that erroneous teaching.  He is using Torah and Tanakh to do so.  The Torah and Tanakh is the basis for all Scripture.
(Rom 4:11 NASB)  and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be reckoned to them,

Rom 4:11:      Circumcision never was the covenant Elohim made with Abraham.  It was “the sign” of the covenant (Gen. 17:10-11).  Circumcision is the sign of righteousness.  It designates that the person is a part of the promise made to Abraham, but it is not the covenant itself.
However, if we say that covenant is no longer in effect, then we deny that the blessings to Abraham are in effect.  That means we are denying that all nations were blessed through Abraham and we are denying the seed of Abraham through which Messiah entered (Gen. 12:3).
The covenant with Abraham is not circumcision.  The covenant with Abraham was that Elohim would make a great nation out of him and Elohim would give him the land of Canaan (Gen. 17:1-11).  With what was Abraham’s part of the covenant?  It was to “walk blameless” before Yahweh (Gen. 17:1).  We see that Abraham did just that (Gen. 26:4-5).  The covenant of Abraham says that ALL his descendants after him are to follow in this covenant and walk blameless (Gen. 17:9).
Who are Abraham’s descendants?  It is all who have faithfulness in Messiah (Gal. 3:25-26).  Our part of that promise is to walk blamelessly before Elohim.
(Rom 4:12 NASB)  and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.
(Rom 4:13 NASB)  For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.

Rom 4:13:      Abraham was promised to be the father of many nations and that all nations would be blessed through him BEFORE he was circumcised.  He was declared righteous BEFORE he was circumcised.  His salvation came long BEFORE he was circumcised.
But keep in mind, when the covenant was made, he was to walk blamelessly before Yahweh.  We are to do the same.
(Rom 4:14 NASB)  For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified;
(Rom 4:15 NASB)  for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation.
(Rom 4:16 NASB)  For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

Rom 4:16:      The Judaizers were getting the cart before the horse.  They wanted the sign of the covenant before righteousness.  That is not the method of Elohim or of Scripture.  Nor is it the pattern followed by Abraham.
Remember the preceding verse before Paul entered into this discussion of Abraham.  Paul said that we establish Torah through our faithfulness, not vice-versa (Romans 3:31).
(Rom 4:17 NASB)  (as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the sight of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.
(Rom 4:18 NASB)  In hope against hope he believed, in order that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.”

Rom 4:18:      There should not have been any hope for Abraham to believe the promise of Elohim, but he did.
(Rom 4:19 NASB)  And without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb;
(Rom 4:20 NASB)  yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God,
(Rom 4:21 NASB)  and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform.

Rom 4:21:      He was 100 years old and he was still able to perform.
(Rom 4:23 NASB)  Now not for his sake only was it written, that it was reckoned to him,
(Rom 4:24 NASB)  but for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,

Rom 4:24:      Righteousness is reckoned not only to Abraham, but to all those who have the faithfulness of Abraham and are faithful to the promise of Elohim as Abraham was faithful the promise of having a son.  We know that the Son of Abraham and Son of David (Yeshua) came to life.  Just as life came from the barren womb of Sarah and the aged body of Abraham, life came from death with the resurrection of Yeshua Messiah.
We are to have that same faithfulness of life from death, just as Abraham had.
(Rom 4:25 NASB)  He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

Rom 4:25:      The resurrection of Messiah is proof that His promises are true.  The covenant made with Abraham is still true.  The sign of the covenant that Elohim made with Abraham long after he was declared righteous is still true.  Righteousness is reckoned to us because of our faithfulness in the promises of Elohim.  We are now to walk blamelessly before our Heavenly Father, just as Abraham did.
Patrick McGuire

Copyright 2014
Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews.
Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
Fort Smith, Arkansas

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