What then shall we say1 that Abraham, our forefather,2 discovered in this matter?
If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about--but not before God.33
What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."a44
Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift,5 but as an obligation.
However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.66
David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."b79
Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised?8 We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness.910
Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!
And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.10 So then, he is the father11 of all who believe12 but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.
And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.