Scripture Reading: Romans 4:9-12
“Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he was circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.” (Romans 4:9,10)
Paul continues to make his primary argument that we are justified by faith apart from works of the law (v. 28). In fact, Paul clearly taught — “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight…” (v. 20). He is using Abraham to prove his point. Abraham was not justified on the basis of his religious actions, he was justified by faith.
Religious people hold that their strict observance of religious or moral rules justify them before God. In the case of our passage today, the issue was circumcision. In Paul’s day, some held that one must add to his faith certain religious rituals. In other words it was faith in Christ plus circumcision. Paul points to Abraham. He says Abraham’s faith alone was counted to him as righteousness. It was not faith plus circumcision because Abraham was justified before he was circumcised.
The real issue here is — do we have to add something to our faith in order to be saved? Is genuine faith in Jesus Christ alone sufficient? The answer is yes! We cannot add anything to what Jesus has done for us. Our salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone!
True saving faith always produces good works. We will want to obey Jesus and to live lives that please Him once we are saved. These good works flow out of faith; they are not additional merits for salvation. We must be careful about the order of the gospel. God saves us by His grace and we believe. Then obedience follows faith. Some reverse the order. They say we must believe and obey and then God saves us. They add requirements for salvation that do not exist.
Faith is the key to heaven. Faith is the instrument through which we are justified and “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Lord Jesus, I am so grateful that Your atoning work on my behalf is sufficient. I cannot add one thing to what You have done for me. I desire to live my life to honor You because of what You have done for me.
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