Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.”
Paul’s first question in chapter four had to do with whether Abraham was justified by his works or by faith. Paul clearly stated it was by faith. In this passage, he asks another question: Is this blessedness only for the circumcised or is it also for the uncircumcised?
Paul was asking this question because there were some of his Jewish readers who had the idea that because they were God’s chosen people they had a corner on God’s justification, that only those who were circumcised could be justified.
This was a prevailing thought among many Jews. So much that if the question had been asked in the synagogue, the answer would have been that the “blessedness” was confined to the circumcised.
Paul asked this question because he wanted to show that Abraham was far more than the father of the Jewish nation, but also the father of ALL who believed as he did. He wanted to drive home the point that God’s people were not determined by biological descent from Abraham, but by spiritual descent from him. In chapter three verse 30, he’s showed his readers how both Gentiles and Jews were the same when he wrote “since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.”
Remember also that the blessedness Paul mentioned was the blessing David pronounced on those “whose sin the Lord will never count against them (4:7-8)”. The blessing was the acceptance before God. So Paul was asking, “Is this acceptance available only to the Jews or also to the Gentiles?”
In the second part of verse nine, Paul reminded his readers of what they already concluded earlier: that Abraham was credited with righteousness. In other words, Abraham was declared righteous on the basis of his faith.
As New Testament believers, we know that Jews and Gentiles encompass all of humanity. We, as followers of Jesus, have been justified. This blessedness has been made available to all who believe! Just like Abraham, through faith, God’s righteousness is credited to us.
I know we’ve talked a lot about justification in the last few weeks, but I don’t think we can talk about it enough; it is the key to the Gospel of Jesus. With that said, I want you to take some time and think about what it means for you personally.
Think about this: You and I are justified, declared righteous at the moment of our salvation. Justification does not make us righteous, but rather pronounces us righteous. Our righteousness comes from placing our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice covers our sin, allowing God to see us as perfect and unblemished. Because as believers we are in Christ, God sees Christ’s own righteousness when He looks at us. This meets God’s demands for perfection; thus, He declares us righteous—He justifies us.
Read the paragraph above again slowly… let each point sink in. Ask God to show you the depth of each point. Then offer Him your praise and thanksgiving.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible.