What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, 1our forefather according to the flesh?
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For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but 2not before God.
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For what does the Scripture say? 3"Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness."
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Now 4to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
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And to the one who does not work but 5believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
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just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
6"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
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blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not 7count his sin."
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Is this blessing then only for 8the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? 9We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.
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How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.
10He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was 11to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,
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and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
For 12the promise to Abraham and his offspring 13that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
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14For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.
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For 15the law brings wrath, but 16where there is no law 17there is no transgression.
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That is why it depends on faith, 18in order that the promise may rest on grace and 19be guaranteed to all his offspring--not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, 20who is the father of us all,
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as it is written, 21"I have made you the father of many nations"--in the presence of the God in whom he believed, 22who gives life to the dead and calls into existence 23the things that do not exist.
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In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, 24"So shall your offspring be."
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He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was 25as good as dead (26since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered 27the barrenness of Sarah's womb.
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No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,
fully convinced that 28God was able to do what he had promised.
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That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness."
But 29the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone,
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but for ours also. It will be counted to us 30who believe in 31him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,
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32who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised 33for our justification.
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