Part 3 – There Is No Difference
Paul anticipates the question that the Jewish believers in the Church at Rome would naturally bring up considering what Paul has been sharing on the inability of people being justified by following the works of the Law. He has addressed this in a variety of ways in the first eight verses of this fourth chapter, and now as we move on to verses nine through seventeen, we come across another anticipated concern that the Jews might be considering that enables them to see themselves as justified apart from the work of Christ.
Since circumcision was such an important sign to the Jews, which differentiated them from the Gentiles, it would be natural for them to believe that this act of circumcision was the defining factor. Paul makes a very simple but poignant point: he asks the question to the Jews regarding when was Abraham declared righteous – ‘Was Abraham declared righteous before or after his circumcision? If he was circumcised and then declared righteous, then you might understand why the Jews felt that circumcision was so important. But the truth is, the Lord declared Abraham righteous fourteen years before he was circumcised, and it was 430 years before the Law was given. So, the obvious conclusion is that Abraham, and all believers, are justified by grace through faith...Abraham believed (trusted) God and it was credited to him as righteousness.
So, Abraham is the spiritual father to the Gentiles (uncircumcised) who have come to faith; and to Jews (circumcised) who have also come to faith. It’s faith and faith alone.
The lesson for all of us is what Paul said in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. We are all united in Christ – whether a Jewish believer in Christ; a female believer; a black believer; a child believer; a former Muslim believer; a repentant murderer who is a believer; we are all one in Christ. All of our “colors” blend into the perfectly pure white Light of Jesus Christ, so all who know Christ will sit at the Thanksgiving Table – the Marriage Feast of the Lamb with Jesus Christ sitting at the head.