The Seal of Righteousness (Romans 4:9-11a)
What was the purpose for all of that has transpired thus far in Abraham’s life? Why did God go through all of this trouble so long ago? Why did God make a man who had faith go through the trouble of circumcision if the act had no power in the salvation event? It was because all people need to have moments of commitment. It is during these moments that we come face-to-face with ourselves and with our God and are made to decide where we will stand. Listen to the way that Paul phrases it:
He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. [Romans 4:11a, ESV]
Abraham received the sign not to establish or prove his faith, but so that through that act of sealing, or better understood as covenant, Abraham would never forget that he would never be the same. After that moment of faith, there was no turning back. There was no returning to the Land of Ur. He and God has set out on a new path, in a new direction.
In the Footsteps of Abraham (Romans 4:11b-12)
Paul takes the example and definition of true faith back to Abraham and clearly shows the Roman church that circumcision was circumstantial. Circumcision was not necessary for their faith to be recognized and approved by God. Abraham is the father of those that understand that circumcision is not what saves and of those that live out what circumcision stands for, even if not circumcised.
Any person that walks in the faith of Abraham has been approved by God. That is a startling and wonderful truth. That is why every nation and tongue who surrenders to the name of Jesus will be saved. Because Abraham was one of those outside and was brought into the family of God. This is the heart of salvation — adoption through faith.