Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! And he received the sign of circumcision, 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. And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
Thoughts for Today:Paul is saying -- Abraham was not just the father of the circumcised (the Jews), but the father of the uncircumcised (the Gentiles) as well -- because before he was circumcised he was declared righteous by God through faith. In other words -- the fact Abraham was uncircumcised proves the outward act of circumcision does not automatically convey righteousness.
So too, I could be baptized a hundred times or more and still not be saved. Why? Because the act of baptism itself does not do the saving. When I was baptized, it simply confirmed publically what was going on inside of me personally. When I serve, it is not to win God's love -- rather it is my response to His love. I read and study my Bible, not because it is my responsibility or duty, but because I yearn to hear God's Word for my life. None of what I do is obligation -- it is my response to what He has already done for me.
Outward acts will never earn righteousness -- so let's stop trying to earn God's love or favor. It doesn't work because God will be a debtor to no man.
Questions to Ponder:I think a whole lot more people would enjoy a life in Christ if they just stopped working and trying to earn God's favor. Toiling away can make us grumpy and self-righteous. It's not God's plan. His plan is un-merited, un-earned grace. God wants us to enjoy an intimate, loving, and blessed relationship with Him -- then He can pour out His love all around -- because we won't be taking the credit! What's going on inside of you? Have you given yourself over to God's love? What's holding you back?