The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Epistle of the Blessed Apostle Paul to the Romans
What, for instance, shall we say of Abraham, our forefather by human descent? What kind of blessing did he win?
If it was by observances that Abraham attained his justification, he, to be sure, has something to be proud of. But it was not so in God’s sight;
what does the scripture tell us? Abraham put his faith in God, and it was reckoned virtue in him.✻
The reward given to one who works to earn it is not reckoned as a favour, it is reckoned as his due.
When a man’s faith is reckoned virtue in him, according to God’s gracious plan, it is not because of anything he does; it is because he has faith, faith in the God who makes a just man of the sinner.✻
So, too, David pronounces his blessing on the man whom God accepts, without any mention of observances:
Blessed are those who have all their faults forgiven, all their transgressions buried away;✻
blessed is the man who is not a sinner in the Lord’s reckoning.
This blessing, then, does it fall only on those who are circumcised, or on the uncircumcised as well? We saw that Abraham’s faith was reckoned virtue in him.
And in what state of things was that reckoning made? Was he circumcised or uncircumcised at the time? Uncircumcised, not circumcised yet.✻
Circumcision was only given to him as a token; as the seal of that justification which came to him through his faith while he was still uncircumcised. And thus he is the father of all those who, still uncircumcised, have the faith that will be reckoned virtue in them too.
Meanwhile, he is the father of those who are circumcised, as long as they do not merely take their stand on circumcision, but follow in the steps of that faith which he, our father Abraham, had before circumcision began.
It was not through obedience to the law, but through faith justifying them, that Abraham and his posterity were promised the inheritance of the world.✻
If it is only those who obey the law that receive the inheritance, then his faith was ill founded, and the promise has been annulled.
(The effect of the law is only to bring God’s displeasure upon us; it is only where there is a law that transgression becomes possible.)
The inheritance, then, must come through faith (and so by free gift); thus the promise is made good to all Abraham’s posterity, not only that posterity of his which keeps the law, but that which imitates his faith. We are all Abraham’s children;
and so it was written of him, I have made thee the father of many nations. We are his children in the sight of God, in whom he put his faith, who can raise the dead to life, and send his call to that which has no being, as if it already were.
Abraham, then, believed, hoping against hope; and thus became the father of many nations; Like these, he was told, thy posterity shall be.✻
There was no wavering in his faith; he gave no thought to the want of life in his own body, though he was nearly a hundred years old at the time, nor to the deadness of Sara’s womb;
he shewed no hesitation or doubt at God’s promise, but drew strength from his faith, confessing God’s power,
fully convinced that God was able to perform what he had promised.
This, then, was reckoned virtue in him;
and the words, It was reckoned virtue in him, were not written of him only;
they were written of us too. It will be reckoned virtue in us, if we believe in God as having raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead:
handed over to death for our sins, and raised to life for our justification.
The Holy Bible