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Chapter 4

1Then what are we to say about our ancestor Abraham? 2For if he was made upright by what he did, it is something to be proud of. But not to be proud of before God, 3for what does the Scripture say? “Abraham had faith in God, and it was credited to him as uprightness.” 4Now paying a workman is not considered a favor, but an obligation, 5but a man who has no work to offer, but has faith in him who can make the ungodly upright, has his faith credited to him as uprightness. 6So David himself says of the happiness of those to whom God credits uprightness without any reference to their actions,

7“Happy are they whose violations of the Law have been forgiven, whose sins are covered up!

8Happy is the man whose sin the Lord will take no account of!”

9Does this happiness apply to those who are circumcised, or to those who are uncircumcised as well? What we say is, Abraham’s faith was credited to him as uprightness. 10In what circumstances? Was it after he was circumcised or before? Not after he was circumcised, but before; 11and he was afterward given the mark of circumcision as the stamp of God’s acknowledgment of the uprightness based on faith that was his before he was circumcised, so that he should be the forefather of all who, without being circumcised, have faith and so are credited with uprightness, 12and the forefather of those circumcised persons who not only share his circumcision but follow our forefather Abraham’s example in the faith he had before he was circumcised.

13For the promise made to Abraham and his descendants that the world should belong to him did not come to him or his descendants through the Law, but through the uprightness that resulted from his faith. 14For if it is the adherents of the Law who are to possess it, faith is nullified and the promise amounts to nothing! 15For the Law only brings down God’s wrath; where there is no law, there is no violation of it. 16That is why it all turns upon faith; it is to make it a matter of God’s favor, so that the promise may hold good for all Abraham’s descendants, not only those who are adherents of the Law, but also those who share the faith of Abraham. For he is the father of all of us; 17as the Scripture says, “I have made you the father of many nations.” The promise is guaranteed in the very sight of God in whom he had faith, who can bring the dead to life and call into being what does not exist. 18Abraham, hoping against hope, had faith, and so became the father of many nations, in fulfilment of the Scripture, “So countless shall your descendants be.” 19His faith did not weaken, although he realized that his own body was worn out, for he was about a hundred years old, and that Sarah was past bearing children. 20He did not incredulously question God’s promise, but his faith gave him power and he praised God 21in the full assurance that God was able to do what he had promised. 22That was why it was credited to him as uprightness.

23It was not on his account alone that these words, “it was credited to him,” were written, 24but also on ours, for it is to be credited also to us who have faith in him who raised from the dead our Lord Jesus, 25who was given up to death to make up for our offenses, and raised to life to make us upright.

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