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Romans 4:9-11 – Justified in circumcision? 

02-12-2020 - Posted by Andre Piet

This happiness, then, is it for the Circumcision, or for the Uncircumcision also? For we are saying “To Abraham faith is reckoned for righteousness”. How then, is it reckoned? Being in circumcision or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

David was blessed that GOD does not count sin. What kind of people is that happiness reserved for? Only for “the circumcision” (read: Israel), as David was in circumcision? Or “also for the uncircumcision”? For the answer, Paul again refers to Genesis 15 verse 6. There are few texts that play such a prominent role in Paul’s teaching as this verse. In it we find that Abram, at least fourteen years before his circumcision (cf. Gen. 16:16), was already counted by GOD as a righteous man.

At this stage in his argument, Paul emphasizes the timing of Abram’s justification. If, indeed, the patriarch of Israel was already a righteous man before GOD while he was (by Jewish standards) still a “Gentile”, why could other Gentiles not be justified? Why should one be circumcised before being declared righteous by GOD? Abraham’s example proves that justification before GOD is independent of circumcision.