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 wanted his readers to understand that Abraham is the “father of all who believe but have not been circumcised.” He made it clear that Gentiles who have faith can claim Abraham as their father. They believed as he did, and they received, as he did, righteousness as a gift from God. They did not need to be circumcised to receive this gift. Abraham received the sign of circumcision for another reason—namely, that he might be the father of those Jews who are not only circumcised, but who also follow his footsteps in a path of faith, the kind of faith which he had while still uncircumcised.
To summarize, there was a time in Abraham’s life when he had faith and was still uncircumcised. And another time when he had faith and was circumcised. Paul expressed that both believing Gentiles and believing Jews could claim Abraham as their father and identify with him as his children.
There is an important truth that our passage makes clear: Rituals do not and never have earned reward or blessings. Remember that Abraham had believed God’s promise some 13 plus years earlier! Abraham found favor with God by faith alone, before he was circumcised.
So what do we do with ceremonies and rituals? Well, we don’t throw them out with the bathwater, but we make sure we understand their, proper place. We don’t do ceremonies to get something; no we do them as a reminder of our faith. Ceremonies are outward signs that demonstrate inward belief and trust. The focus of our faith should be on Christ and His saving actions, not on our own actions.
*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.