The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Father Abraham Had Many Sons

And I am one of them!  Some of you will remember this children’s song from childhood, but may not have realized how correct it was Biblically!

I have previously written on The Works of Abraham here, which contends that Abraham’s children are determined by their works, not by their bloodline.

Here is another passage of Scripture that confirms this truth–Romans 4:9-13:

9 Does this blessedness (justification) then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.

10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.

11 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,

12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.

13 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.

Several points from this passage:

1. Paul reminds us that Abraham was justified (i.e. saved) before being circumcised, circumcision being a mere sign of that which he already possessed (vss. 9-11).

2. Abraham is the father of “all those who believe” whether they are circumcised or not (vss 11-12). Circumcision for the Jews of Paul’s time was considered a sign that a person had embraced the God of Abraham (i.e. become a Jew). However as Paul had already pointed out in Rom. 2:25-29, it is the inward heart condition that God looks at. Many who had circumcised flesh were rejected by God for their lawless deeds, while others who had uncircumcised flesh were accepted by God by virtue of their circumcised hearts.

3. Abraham is the father of the circumcised (i.e. Jews) ONLY if they “also walk in the steps of faith which…Abraham had while still uncircumcised.”(vs. 12) This is so important, and so misunderstood today!  As Jesus also said, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham.” (Jn. 8:39) In other words, if a man is circumcised and/or follows the laws of the Jews, but doesn’t walk in the steps of Abraham (obedient faith), he has no right to call Abraham his father.

4. The promise to Abraham and his Seed comes through the righteousness of faith, not through the law (vs. 13). The law here mentioned is referring to laws that pertained to the Hebrews and/or Jews, especially the law of circumcision. The point is this:  the promise of salvation is not obtained by being born a Jew, or by becoming/living as a Jew. The promise is obtained only by faith. This allows people from every nation to obtain the promise, and allowed Abraham to become “the father of many nations.”

5. The spiritual promise to Abraham was not that he would be heir of a small piece of land, but “heir of the world” (vs. 13). This is why Abraham was able to dwell in the land of promise “as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents” and waiting for the city “which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”(Heb. 11:9-10) There are many who claim to be Abraham’s children who now fight over a small piece of land as if this dying earth were going to last forever. They are not waiting for the heavenly city, but zealously contending for an earthly city which Scripture calls “Sodom and Egypt” spiritually (Rev. 11:8). These are not doing the works of Abraham; thus they are not his children.

(See also Children of Abraham and Sarah)

God bless you.

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