1. We saw in the earlier verses of this chapter that Abraham had made a tremendous discovery. He had discovered, first of all, that salvation is not according to righteousness. "For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something of which to boast, but not before God." (v.2) If a man can be saved on his own initiative, by his own good works, his own good deeds, then God would have to share His glory, and God will not share His glory with another.
2. Abraham discovered that salvation is not according to ritual. "Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while ncircumcised." (vv.9-10) Salvation is neither by circumcision nor by baptism or by any other ritual. For Abraham was saved before he was circumcised.
3. Salvation is not according to religion. "For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect." (vv.13-14) The law is not the answer because, first of all, if it was only the Jew could be saved because the law was given to the Jew. Secondly, even the Jew could not be saved because no one can keep the law, and therefore no one could be saved.
4. Finally, he discovered that salvation is not according to race. "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still
uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also." (v.11) Abraham learned that blood may be thicker than water, but it is not thicker than faith. It is by faith that we are children of Abraham.
5. But Abraham did discover that salvation is according to a relationship, a personal relationship with God. How is that relationship established? It is established by faith. In the latter part of this chapter Paul uses Abraham, our father by faith, to illustrate the faith of our fathers.
I. The Expression Of Faith
1. "Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all." (v.16) Now what does the it refer to in the first part of this verse? It refers to salvation. It refers to our relationship with God. That is of faith. It is faith which builds the bridge from man to God. Faith does two things:
A. Faith Brings Us Into The Favor Of God
1. We are told that "it is a faith that it might be according to grace." If God is going t ...
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