Unlimited: Following in Abraham’s Footsteps
Jul 18, 2022 147
And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised (Romans 4:12).
Paul’s argument here is that because Abraham is our father, both of the Jews and the Gentiles (the circumcised and the uncircumcised) then we should follow in the footsteps of salvation that he followed. This means that we are to be saved by having faith credited to our account through believing in Jesus.
Many people read this verse as if it were a verse about works, in the sense that they think that Paul is talking about Abraham’s struggle to believe the promise throughout all his life, with all of his failures and victories, and that we are to follow in the same steps. In this way they turn what Paul is saying to focus on Abraham’s works. “Faith” for them becomes synonymous with living the “faithful” life.
We should follow in the footsteps of salvation that Abraham followed.
But that’s not what Paul is saying at all. In fact, Paul is strongly arguing for quite the opposite in this verse. What Paul is saying is that Abraham simply believed once, and his faith was credited to him as righteousness once. The implication is that because Abraham kept on believing, despite all of the struggles and desperate failures of his life, he retained the righteousness that was credited to his account. It was never, in any shape or form, an “earned” or even a “deserved” righteousness.
Read the story of Abraham in Genesis chapters 12 – 22. In what ways is Abraham your spiritual father?