Abraham Justified Before Circumcision

Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. 11 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 might be imputed to them also, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.

— Romans 4:9-12.

In this passage, Paul is talking to Jews to convince them that the Gentiles can be saved just as they. Since Jews count uncircumcised people as Gentiles and they wanted to argue that Gentiles could not be saved, Paul countered the argument that God considered Abraham righteous before he was circumcised. For Abraham, circumcision was only ‘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’.

Therefore the conclusion is that circumcision in itself was not necessary for salvation. What was key was Abraham’s faith — an active faith that is accessible to everyone “who also walk in the steps of the faith” of Abraham.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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