« Prev Romans 4:11 Next »

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 11

Verse 11. And he received the sign, etc. A sign is that by which anything is shown or represented. And circumcision thus showed that there was a covenant between Abraham and God, Ge 17:1-10. It became the public mark or token of the relation which he sus- tained to God.

A seal. See Barnes "Joh 3:33".

A seal is that mark of wax or other substance, which is attached to an instrument of writing, as a deed, etc., to confirm, ratify it, or to make it binding. Sometimes instruments were sealed, or made authentic by stamping on them some word, letter, or device, which had been engraved on silver, or on precious stones. The seal or stamp was often worn as an ornament on the finger. Es 8:8; Ge 41:42; 38:18; Ex 28:11,36,39.

To affix the seal, whether of wax or otherwise, was to confirm a contract or engagement. In allusion to this, circumcision is called a seal of the covenant which God had made with Abraham. That is, he appointed this as a public attestation to the fact that he had previously approved of Abraham, and had made important promises to him.

Which he had yet being circumcised, he believed, (Ge 15:6) was accepted, or justified; was admitted to the favour of God, and favoured with clear and remarkable promises, (Ge 15:18-21; Ge 17:1-9 ) before he was circumcised. Circumcision, therefore, could have contributed neither to his justification, nor to the promise made to him by God.

That he might be the father, etc. All this was done that Abraham might be held up as an example, or a model, of the very doctrine which the apostle was defending. The word father here is used evidently in a spiritual sense, as denoting that he was the ancestor of all true believers; that he was their model and example. They are regarded as his children because they are possessed of his spirit; are justified in the same way, and are imitators of his example. See Barnes "Mt 1:1".

In this sense the expression occurs in Lu 19:9; Joh 8:33; Ga 3:7,29.


Though they be not circumcised. This was stated fix opposition to the opinion of the Jews, that all ought to be circumcised. As the apostle had shown that Abraham enjoyed the favour of God previous to his being circumcised, that is, without circumcision, so it followed that others might on the same principle also. This instance settles the point; and there is nothing which a Jew can reply to this.

That righteousness, etc. That is, in the same way, by faith without works: that they might be accepted, and treated as righteous.

{n} "he received" Ge 17:10,11 {o} "father of all them that believe" Lu 19:9

« Prev Romans 4:11 Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection