Summary of passage: In essence, Paul says it does not matter if you are circumcised or when. All that matters is you accept Christ. Then and only then will you be credited as righteous by God. The law does not matter; only faith.
9) Abraham was 99 when God gave him the sign of the covenant of circumcision. He was 86 when he had Ishmael. He had been in Canaan 10 years since he was declared righteous. So it was 23 years between credited as righteous and circumcision. Galatians tells us it was 430 years after this that the Law was given. Paul argues that circumcision does not matter because Abraham was declared righteous BEFORE he was circumcised. So fast-forward to first century AD and circumcision still is not required to be credited as righteous by God.
10a) Most of the time people become complacent and fall into sin if that’s their excuse for sin. God’s measure of righteousness is faith in Jesus Christ, which leads to becoming more like Jesus. Obedience has value since we must be obedient to God and to His word. Depends on the sign as well. However, it’s when you only depend on the sign or obedience for your salvation that you’re in trouble. Paul says ultimately none of that matters: only Jesus matters.
b) Personal Question. My answer: I’m righteous (and this is a dumb question) because I accept Jesus as my Savior. We spent all of last week on how we are righteous through faith and now all of this week. It’s simple: if you accept Jesus died as your Savior through faith, you are credited as righteous. If you don’t, then you’re not righteous.
End Notes: In Chapter 4, Paul is trying to make a theological point: all that matters is faith. He starts with Abraham who lived hundreds of years before Moses and the coming of the Old Testament law. Abraham pleased God how we do: through faith. The Old Testament law was never meant to bridge the gap between God and people. Only Jesus can do that. The point of the law was to show people/us our need for a Savior (Christ) and redemption. The law showed us that need.
Paul’s point is because circumcision is not a requirement to be counted as righteous then the Gentiles can be counted as righteous as well. He uses Abraham to prove this point because Abraham was counted as righteous with God in the Bible 14 years BEFORE he was circumcised.
For the Jews of the day, many of them were convinced you had to be circumcised before you could be counted as righteous. This is whom Paul is addressing. They also believed Jews only could call Abraham their father. Again, Paul says no. Abraham is the father of all those who believe.
All of God’s promises to Abraham were given before the Law. Hence, they had to be based on faith. The problem with the law is man is unable to keep it (hence, Jesus Christ, and a reason for God’s wrath). And hence, faith only.
Transgressions (or an act that goes against a law) come down to trust and love and the heart. You can sin without breaking a law or transgressing. What matters to God is are we breaking trust and love with Him.