The Example of Abraham
1What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh?2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.3For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”4Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due.5But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness.6So also David speaks of the blessedness of those to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:7“Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;8blessed is the one against whom the Lord will not reckon sin.”9Is this blessedness, then, pronounced only on the circumcised, or also on the uncircumcised? We say, “Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.”10How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.11He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the ancestor of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them,12and likewise the ancestor of the circumcised who are not only circumcised but who also follow the example of the faith that our ancestor Abraham had before he was circumcised.