Inheritance through faith (Rom 4:13)

“The promise

To Abraham

And his descendants,

That they would

Inherit the world,

Did not come

Through the law

But through

The righteousness of faith.”

Οὐ γὰρ διὰ νόμου ἡ ἐπαγγελία τῷ Ἀβραὰμ ἢ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ, τὸ κληρονόμον αὐτὸν εἶναι κόσμου, ἀλλὰ διὰ δικαιοσύνης πίστεως.

Paul said that the promise to Abraham (ἡ ἐπαγγελία τῷ Ἀβραὰμ) and his descendants (ἢ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ), that they would inherit the world (τὸ κληρονόμον αὐτὸν εἶναι κόσμου), did not come through the law (Οὐ γὰρ διὰ νόμου) but through the righteousness of faith (ἀλλὰ διὰ δικαιοσύνης πίστεως).  Paul indicated that any promises that God made to Abraham and his descendants to inherit the world, did not come from the later law of Moses but through the righteousness of their faith.  Circumcision and the law did not make them righteousness, because that could only come from faith, but it certified that they had faith in God.  Do you believe in God?

Faith before circumcision (Rom 4:12)



Is the ancestor

Of the circumcised

Who are not only the circumcised,

But all who also follow

The example of the faith

That our ancestor

Abraham had

Before he was circumcised.”

καὶ πατέρα περιτομῆς τοῖς οὐκ ἐκ περιτομῆς μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς στοιχοῦσιν τοῖς ἴχνεσιν τῆς ἐν ἀκροβυστίᾳ πίστεως τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἀβραάμ.

Paul said that likewise, the ancestor of the circumcised (καὶ πατέρα περιτομῆς) who are not only the circumcised (τοῖς οὐκ ἐκ περιτομῆς μόνον), but all who also follow the example or walking in the steps (καὶ τοῖς στοιχοῦσιν τοῖς ἴχνεσιν) of the faith (πίστεως) that our ancestor Abraham (τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἀβραάμ) had before he was circumcised (τῆς ἐν ἀκροβυστίᾳ).  Paul said that Abraham, who believed before he was circumcised, is the example of faith for those who were circumcised because they should follow his example.  Circumcision did not cause Abraham to believe in God, but it certified or sealed that faith that preceded circumcision.  How has your faith been sealed or certified?

Circumcision as a seal of faith (Rom 4:11)

“Abraham 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.

They have righteousness

Reckoned to them.”

καὶ σημεῖον ἔλαβεν περιτομῆς σφραγῖδα τῆς δικαιοσύνης τῆς πίστεως τῆς ἐν τῇ ἀκροβυστίᾳ, εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν πατέρα πάντων τῶν πιστευόντων δι’ ἀκροβυστίας, εἰς τὸ λογισθῆναι αὐτοῖς τὴν δικαιοσύνην,

Paul said that Abraham received (ἔλαβεν) the sign (καὶ σημεῖον) of circumcision (περιτομῆς) as a seal (σφραγῖδα) of the righteousness (τῆς δικαιοσύνης) that he had by faith (τῆς πίστεως), while he was still uncircumcised (τῆς ἐν τῇ ἀκροβυστίᾳ).  The purpose was to make him (εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν) the ancestor of all (πατέρα πάντων) who believed (τῶν πιστευόντων) without being circumcised (δι’ ἀκροβυστίας).  They have righteousness (τὴν δικαιοσύνην) reckoned to them (εἰς τὸ λογισθῆναι αὐτοῖς).  Paul explained that Abraham received the sign of circumcision as a seal of his righteousness that had come from faith, while he was still not circumcised.  Thus, he became the ancestor of all the uncircumcised people who believe and are thus righteous themselves.  In other words, circumcision was a seal of what had already taken place via faith.  Abraham had faith in God, Yahweh, before he was circumcised.  Thus, he is the father or ancestor of all who believe in God, circumcised or not.  This word seal or σφραγίς will be used by the early Christians in conjunction with initiation baptism as the seal of the Spirit, what later Christians would call confirmation, replacing the concept of circumcision.  Have you been sealed with the Spirit?

How was Abraham righteous? (Rom 4:10)

“How then was it

Reckoned to Abraham?

Was it before

Or after

He had been circumcised?

It was not after,

But before

He was circumcised.”

πῶς οὖν ἐλογίσθη; ἐν περιτομῇ ὄντι ἢ ἐν ἀκροβυστίᾳ; οὐκ ἐν περιτομῇ ἀλλ’ ἐν ἀκροβυστίᾳ·

Paul asked another of his rhetorical questions with his own answers.  “How then was it reckoned or credited (πῶς οὖν ἐλογίσθη) to Abraham?  Was it in his circumcision (ἐν περιτομῇ ὄντι) or as uncircumcised (ἢ ἐν ἀκροβυστίᾳ)?”  Paul’s answer was that it was not after the circumcision (οὐκ ἐν περιτομῇ), but before he was circumcised in the foreskin uncircumcised state (ἀλλ’ ἐν ἀκροβυστίᾳ).  Paul was clear.  Abraham was reckoned or credited with faith while he was still uncircumcised.  In other words, the circumcision did not give him faith.  He had faith while he was still in an uncircumcised state.  How important do you think that circumcision is?

Blessings for the circumcised and uncircumcised (Rom 4:9)

“Is this blessing

Pronounced only

On the circumcised,

Or also on the uncircumcised?

We say.

‘Faith was reckoned

To Abraham

As righteousness.”

ὁ μακαρισμὸς οὖν οὗτος ἐπὶ τὴν περιτομὴν ἢ καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν ἀκροβυστίαν; λέγομεν γάρ Ἐλογίσθη τῷ Ἀβραὰμ ἡ πίστις εἰς δικαιοσύνην.

In his usual manner, Paul then asked a question and then answered it himself.  “Is this blessing (ὁ μακαρισμὸς οὖν οὗτος) pronounced only on the circumcised (ἐπὶ τὴν περιτομὴν), or also on the uncircumcised (ἢ καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν ἀκροβυστίαν)?  His response (λέγομεν γάρ) was that faith (ἡ πίστις) was reckoned or credited (Ἐλογίσθη) to Abraham (τῷ Ἀβραὰμ) as righteousness (εἰς δικαιοσύνην).  There was no doubt about that.  Without explicitly answering this question, Paul reiterated that Abraham was considered righteous because of this faith, not his deeds or actions.  He had faith before he was circumcised and faith after he was circumcised.  How is faith related to circumcision?

Blessed are the sinless! (Rom 4:8)

“Blessed is the man

Against whom

The Lord will not reckon

His sin.”

μακάριος ἀνὴρ οὗ οὐ μὴ λογίσηται Κύριος ἁμαρτίαν.

Paul continued with his citation of Psalm 32:2, “Blessed is the man (μακάριος ἀνὴρ) against whom the Lord (Κύριος) will not reckon (οὗ οὐ μὴ λογίσηται) his sin (ἁμαρτίαν).”  The original psalm said blessed were men to whom Yahweh imputed no iniquity.  They were happy or blessed because they had no deceit, since Yahweh did not impute any iniquity to them.  They had no deceit in their spirit.  They were the happy or wise people because God had reckoned them as sinless.  Once again, Paul used Psalm 32, a wisdom psalm, that said that the happy ones or the blessed ones were those whom the Lord did not reckon them as sinners.  They were happy because they had no more sins.  Paul noted, as David had centuries earlier, that obviously the people who have had no sins were the blessed or happy people.  Are you a sinless person?

Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven (Rom 4:7)

“Blessed are those

Whose iniquities

Are forgiven,

Whose sins

Are covered over.”

Μακάριοι ὧν ἀφέθησαν αἱ ἀνομίαι καὶ ὧν ἐπεκαλύφθησαν αἱ ἁμαρτίαι·

Paul then cited Psalm 32:1, assuming that David was the author, “Blessed (Μακάριοι) are those whose iniquities or lawlessness (αἱ ἀνομίαι) are forgiven (ὧν ἀφέθησαν), whose sins (ἁμαρτίαι) are covered over (καὶ ὧν ἐπεκαλύφθησαν).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἐπεκαλύφθησαν, that means to cover over or cover up.  Psalm 32, a wisdom psalm, said that the happy ones or the blessed ones were those whose transgressions were forgiven.  They were happy because their sins were covered up.  Who were these the happy people?  They are the ones whose transgressions and sins had been forgiven and covered up.  Paul noted, as David had centuries earlier, that obviously the people who have had their faults and sins forgiven and covered up were the blessed or happy people.  Are you a blessed or happy person?

David spoke of righteousness (Rom 4:6)


David spoke

Of the blessedness

Of those to whom

God reckons righteousness,

Apart from works.”

καθάπερ καὶ Δαυεὶδ λέγει τὸν μακαρισμὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ᾧ ὁ Θεὸς λογίζεται δικαιοσύνην χωρὶς ἔργων

Paul then brought up a psalm of King David, who was assumed to be the author of these psalms.  Thus, just as (καθάπερ) David spoke (καὶ Δαυεὶδ λέγει) of the blessedness or happiness (τὸν μακαρισμὸν) of those men (τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) to whom God reckoned (λογίζεται) righteousness (δικαιοσύνην), apart from their works (χωρὶς ἔργων).  Only the Pauline letters used this word καθάπερ, that means just as or even as.  To make his point more emphatic, Paul used a psalm of King David to prove that his argument was correct.  David in Psalm 32 had said that men were reckoned as blessed, apart from their works or deeds.  Paul continued with his strong emphasis as faith being more important than whether they did any kind of good deeds or actions.  Do you believe that if you have faith, nothing else matters?

Those who do not work (Rom 4:5)

“But the one

Who does not work,

But trusts God,

Who justifies the ungodly,

His faith is reckoned

As righteousness.”

τῷ δὲ μὴ ἐργαζομένῳ, πιστεύοντι δὲ ἐπὶ τὸν δικαιοῦντα τὸν ἀσεβῆ, λογίζεται ἡ πίστις αὐτοῦ εἰς δικαιοσύνην,

Paul said that the one who does not work (τῷ δὲ μὴ ἐργαζομένῳ), but trusts or has faith (πιστεύοντι) in God, who justifies (δὲ ἐπὶ τὸν δικαιοῦντα) the ungodly (τὸν ἀσεβῆ), his faith (ἡ πίστις αὐτοῦ) is reckoned (λογίζεται) as righteousness (εἰς δικαιοσύνην).  Paul said that you did not have to do any work.  You simply had to trust or have faith in God, who justified the ungodly or the wicked people.  This person who trusts and has faith in God will be reckoned as righteous.  You do not have to do anything, just have faith in God and everything will turn out okay.  Do you believe that you do not have to work, but just trust God?

You are due your wages (Rom 4:4)

“Now to one who works,

His wages

Are not reckoned

As a gift

But as something due.”

τῷ δὲ ἐργαζομένῳ ὁ μισθὸς οὐ λογίζεται κατὰ χάριν ἀλλὰ κατὰ ὀφείλημα·

Paul further explained that to one who works (τῷ δὲ ἐργαζομένῳ), his wages (ὁ μισθὸς) are not reckoned (οὐ λογίζεται) as a gift (κατὰ χάριν), but as something due (ἀλλὰ κατὰ ὀφείλημα).  Paul pointed out the difference between a gift and the wages owed to a person.  If you work for an agreed upon wage, your pay is not a gift but something that was due to you because you earned it.  You don’t earn your way before God with him giving you some wages.  What you get from God is a gift.  You did not earn anything.  You are not due some reward for some good works.  Otherwise you would be a hired hand working for a specific amount of money.  God does not owe you anything.  He simply gives freely as a gift to those who he wants to.  When you work for something, you are due wages for your work.  God is a gift giver.  You have not earned anything.  Have you ever worked to gain money as a wage?