"The father of all those who believe..."
Text: Romans 4:11
THE PROUD CLAIM OF THE JEWS
Unabashedly, the Jews proclaimed themselves as “Abraham’s descendants” (Cf. John 8:33). By so doing, they exclude everybody else! But were they necessarily theologically correct in making this assertion?
WAS ABRAHAM ONLY THE FATHER OF THE JEWS?
This was the question that Paul sought to answer. His observation must have astounded many.
“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 may be imputed to them also.”
1. What was the significance of the sign of circumcision?
Paul attempts to answer this simply yet profoundly. It was no less than “a seal of the righteousness of the faith”. Between faith and circumcision, the former is of greater significance!
There is no attempt to discount the significance of the sign of circumcision. Paul only wanted to establish that the focus was never on circumcision as such, but the seal of righteousness of the faith of Abraham.
2. What was the significance of God imputing righteousness to Abraham before
The following thoughts may be highlighted:-
a) The Jews have already claimed Abraham as their father.
b) Paul postulates that Abraham was more than the father of the Jews.
c) He is also the father of “all those who believe”.
d) The uncircumcised are not excluded.
i) Abraham is the classic example.
ii) He received imputed righteousness while he was yet uncircumcised.
iii) Therefore it follows that all uncircumcised may also receive imputed righteousness.
This line of reasoning provided a powerful sense of hope to all believers!