Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. 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, 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. (Romans 4:9-12)
A Father To Jew And Gentile
There are many in the religious world that hold to the Ten Commandments and parts of the Law of Moses as their creed. Failing to discern the division of scripture, Christianity becomes a mixture of the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ. The early Christians struggled with the issue of circumcision and what a person must do to be saved. One of the early conflicts of the church was dispelling the teaching that circumcision was necessary for salvation. Paul addresses this question in his letter to Rome using Abraham as an example of how a man is justified by faith. Abraham is the father of the Jewish people and is regarded as the embodiment of the covenant God had with Israel. Using the example of Abraham as a backdrop to his argument, Paul shows that Abraham was justified before circumcision establishing that while circumcision was bound by the Law of Moses, justification came before the Law. This is a key element to understand the relationship of the Law for the Christian.
Without a proper address of the division of scripture, a student of the Bible can assume the Old Testament and its Law is binding upon the child of God today. Paul’s argument will settle the same question as the early church had to understand the role of the Law of Moses and the law of Christ. The Lord came to Abraham when he was ninety-nine years old to establish the covenant of circumcision. This was twenty-four years after God had called him to leave Haran. Abraham was justified before the law of circumcision. Faith was accounted to him for righteousness prior to the covenant. When Abraham was uncircumcised, he was found righteous before the Lord. For the Jew, the righteousness of the Law was established when the child was circumcised at eight days. Abraham became the father of the uncircumcised (Gentile) showing his faith before the Law and he became the father of the circumcised (Jew) by entering the covenant with God through obedience.
The Law of Moses was an important part of the scheme of redemption but the Law of Moses was only given to one nation and one people. Israel was the chosen nation of God and they were bound by the Law of Moses. Salvation for the Jew came through the Law. This law was not bound upon the Gentile and salvation for the non-Jew came through the same justification of faith exemplified by Abraham. Two laws ran concurrently before Christ: the law of faith and the Law of Moses. The strength of Paul’s argument was man is justified by faith before the Law of Moses removing the shackles of the Law as binding upon man today. The Gentile proved that man could not live to himself and the Jews proved that man could live under the Law. Both Jew and Gentile are brought together in Christ to show salvation is only in Jesus Christ.
Enforcing the Ten Commandments or parts of the Law of Moses for justification today is contrary to the teaching of the righteousness of Abraham. He was justified apart from the Law of Moses. It was a sin to commit adultery before the Ten Commandments. Disobedience to the will of God was not established by the Law of Moses. Abraham received grace from the Lord because he was justified by faith apart from the Law. Salvation today cannot come by being a good person or finding justification in the Law of Moses. There is only one name that will save man today and that is Jesus Christ. The Law of Moses has been abolished. It is a sin to commit adultery; not because it breaks one of the Ten Commandments but because it transgresses the law of God. Abraham is the father of all those who obey the Lord. He is a father to the Jew and the Gentile.