What should we say about those things? What did our father Abraham discover about being right with God?
Did he become right with God because of something he did? If so, he could brag about it. But he couldn't brag to God.
What do we find in Scripture? It says, "Abraham believed God. God accepted Abraham's faith, and so his faith made him right with God."(Genesis 15:6)
When a man works, his pay is not considered a gift. It is owed to him.
But things are different with God. He makes evil people right with himself. If people trust in him, their faith is accepted even though they do not work. Their faith makes them right with God.
King David says the same thing. He tells us how blessed some people are. God makes those people right with himself. But they don't have to do anything in return. David says,
"Blessed are those whose lawless acts are forgiven. Blessed are those whose sins are taken away.
Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord never counts against him." (Psalm 32:1,2)
Is that blessing only for those who are circumcised? Or is it also for those who are not circumcised? We have been saying that God accepted Abraham's faith, and so his faith made him right with God.
When did it happen? Was it after Abraham was circumcised, or before? It was before he was circumcised, not after!
He was circumcised as a sign of the covenant God had made with him. It showed that his faith had made him right with God before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the father of all believers who have not been circumcised. God accepts their faith. So their faith makes them right with him.
Abraham is also the father of the circumcised who believe. So just being circumcised is not enough. Those who are circumcised must also follow the steps of our father Abraham. He had faith before he was circumcised.
Abraham and his family received a promise. God promised that Abraham would receive the world. It would not come to him because he obeyed the law. It would come because of his faith, which made him right with God.
Do those who obey the law receive the promise? If they do, faith would have no value. God's promise would be worthless.
The law brings God's anger. Where there is no law, the law can't be broken.
The promise is based on God's grace. The promise comes by faith. All of Abraham's children will certainly receive the promise. And it is not only for those who are ruled by the law. Those who have the same faith that Abraham had are also included. He is the father of us all.
It is written, "I have made you a father of many nations."(Genesis 17:5) God considers Abraham to be our father. The God that Abraham believed in gives life to the dead. Abraham's God also speaks of things that do not exist as if they do exist.
When there was no reason for hope, Abraham believed because he had hope. He became the father of many nations, exactly as God had promised. God said, "That is how many children you will have."(Genesis 15:5)
Without becoming weak in his faith, Abraham accepted the fact that he was past the time when he could have children. At that time he was about 100 years old. He also realized that Sarah was too old to have children.
But he kept believing in God's promise. He became strong in his faith. He gave glory to God.
He was absolutely sure that God had the power to do what he had promised.
That's why "God accepted Abraham because he believed. So his faith made him right with God."
The words "God accepted Abraham's faith" were written not only for Abraham.
They were written also for us. We believe in the God who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. So God will accept our faith and make us right with himself.
Jesus was handed over to die for our sins. He was raised to life in order to make us right with God.