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No one could boast in earning their salvation through works done in obedience to the Law of Moses.
Because God justifies not on the basis of obedience to the Law of Moses (circumcision, food laws) but on the basis of faith in God.
Because God is not just the God of the Jews, but also the God of the Gentiles, who justifies everyone who has faith (circumcised and uncircumcised)
(v. 31) If this is true, then is the Law of Moses is “nullified”, “made void”, “make useless”, “no good for anything!”, the Law of Moses was wrong!
Paul denies this conclusion - “not at all, we establish/uphold the law, confirms the Law” - because even the OT taught justification by faith (3:21).


Paul has insisted multiple times that justification by faith, not through obedience to the LOM is attested by OT Scripture (1:2; 3:21, 31)
So, the next step is to provide these OT examples. - Abraham (most important Patriarch) & David (most important king)
Paul does 2 things in this chapter
He clarifies the meaning of “justification” - reckon righteousness to the unrighteous
faith - “trusting” God
(vv. 1-3)
What Paul is asking is “Was Abraham counted righteous, gain his status before God as a result of works?
if he did, he would have something to boast about (3:27) - “but not before God” (v. 2)
Because what does Scripture say () “Abraham believed God, and it was counted, credited to him as righteousness”
Abraham could not have been justified by his works, because that isn’t what the Scripture says!
(vv. 4-5) draw out the significance of the word “counted of credited” which he uses 5x in 6 verses (vv. 3-8)
the greek word means to “reckon” or “credit” and when used in a financial context it signifies to “put something (money) to someone’s account”. (give someone money)
such as Paul says in - “If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.
If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.
There are only 2 ways in which money can be credited to us - what are they?
as wages (earned)
as a gift (free and unearned)
Read vv. 4-5 again - the one who works, his wages are not a gift, but are his due. - what he is owed
But, to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.
God crediting faith as righteousness is not a reward, but a gift (v. 24)
Abraham was not counted as righteous because he earned it, but because he believed and trusted in God
his good deeds done in obedience were as a result of his faith and trust in God.


(v. 6) “just as David speaks… “imputes, counts” ()
Blessed (approved by God) is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them. (NIV)
whose sin the Lord will never count against them. (NIV)
The sin is there, but the Lord does not credit sin against him, but credits him righteous.
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), .
Not because it is deserved, but it is a gift of grace from God.


Paul’s first question was whether Abraham was justified by works or by faith
(vv. 9-12)
His 2nd question is whether this justification is available only for the circumcised (Jews) or is it also for the uncircumcised (everybody)?
Paul has already answered his question (vv. 29-30), but as in vv. 1-8, he is looking back to Scripture to find the answer.
If Abraham was circumcised when he was counted at righteous, that may mean that everyone must be circumcised to be saved.
This is what some Jewish Christians believed (Acts 15:1)
(vv. 9-10)
When was Abraham counted as righteous, when he was circumcised or uncircumcised? - when he was uncircumcised (v. 10)
John R. W. Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 125.
The Message of Romans b. Abraham Was Not Justified by Circumcision (9–12)

For his justification is recorded in Genesis 15 and his circumcision in Genesis 17, and at least fourteen years (even twenty-nine years according to the Rabbis) separated the two events.

His justification recorded in , and his circumcision in , 24-27 had at least 14 years in-between the 2 events
though these events were separate, God’s command to be circumcised was obeyed because Abraham had faith. - a sign of his faith, a seal (proof) of the the righteousness of faith (v. 11)
(vv. 11-12)
There was a purpose for Abraham for Abraham being counted as righteousness while still uncircumcised - “that he might be...”
Abraham is the father of all who believe, and the same righteousness may be counted to anyone who has faith ()
The promises of blessing ascribed to Abraham’s descendants are ours as well ()
The faith that puts men and women right before God is a faith like Abraham’s (v. 12)
What was Abraham’s faith?


(vv. 13-15)
These verses once again prove that faith like Abraham’s is what is needed to be justified, and inherit the promise
not obedience to the Law
What was the promise? - “heirs of the world”
This is not a formal quotation from the OT, but interpretations of promises made to Abraham
Abraham’s promise was specifically a portion of land (; )
But, in the spiritual sense that these promises are interpreted in the NT, our “promised land” cannot be confined by earthly borders (Heb 11:16)
(vv 16)
Therefore it is through faith, so the promise to Abraham might be SURE to all the seed of Abraham (Jews (law) and Gentiles (faith of Abraham)
This is Abraham’s faith (vv. 18-22)
He was fully convinced that God could do even what seemed impossible, and so because of his faith he obeyed God. (
Paul says in - For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
(vv. 23-25)
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
We have hope, and we can be SURE (v. 16, 21) that when we have this same kind of faith
The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), .
We will be counted as righteous (right before God) because of Christ who died for our trespasses and was raised to declare us freed from God’s wrath.
Gal 4:1
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