Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
We see here that God is continuing to show us the importance of Biblical faith in salvation. Abraham received the sign of circumcision. He did not fight against the will of God. He received it. He accepted it as God’s command for him and his family. Notice that it is called a sign. It is not the means of salvation. It is a sign of obedience.
This sign was the seal of righteousness of faith which he had yet being uncircumcised. The Bible is so clear on this fact. Salvation is not of works. However, after salvation, the child of God will produce works that please God and demonstrate his new nature. It is amazing that so many people fight against the facts.
There are those who claim that Christians are not required to do anything. They fight against Godly standards which God commands. The New Evangelical crowd is full of fighters. They prove their lack of salvation because they want to fight against submitting to a holy God.
It is interesting to listen to a New Evangelical person talk of repentance. They stand on a stage where CCM music is “performed”. The entire scene is fitting for a bar, not a church. The preacher is dressed down to demonstrate a great disrespect for the God they claim to serve. It is obvious that the do not know the true God and their “repentance” is a sham.
On the other side are those who make works a part of salvation. Salvation is entirely a work of God. There is nothing a person can do to earn salvation. There is nothing a person can do to enhance salvation. Born again Christians are not holding on for dear life and hoping that they have done enough good to merit God’s salvation.
There is a hymn that has been quite popular in many churches in the past. The title is “Have I done My Best For Jesus.” The author of that hymn did not study the Word of God before he wrote that hymn. The apostle Paul did not wonder if he had done enough for Jesus. He submitted to God’s will and at the close of his life he was directed by God to write II Timothy 4. He was not fearful of meeting the Lord. He was confident of meeting the Lord and he encouraged Timothy to follow God wholeheartedly as well. Throughout Paul’s life he strove to honour God. In Philippians 3 Paul wrote of his desire to know Christ better. He did not hope he had done enough to merit God’s favour. Man cannot do anything to merit God’s favour. Man must turn to God in repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Biblical salvation is not confusing. The devil tries to make it confusing, but the person who will listen to what God actually says, will understand His gift of salvation more and more.
Christians do not work to earn God’s favour or to gain a higher ranking. Christians humbly submit to God and serve Him faithfully. They trust Him to glorify Himself in His reception of the saints in glory.
Abraham is the father of those who believe, even those who are not circumcised. Righteousness is credited to the account of the born again Gentile as much as it is to the born again Jew. True faith is the key.
In verse 12 we are reminded that Abraham is the father of circumcision of all those who walk in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham. All born again Christians can look back at faithful Abraham and we can learn from his testimony of faith. As we have noted before, God did not overlook the sin of Abraham. However, when it comes to his faith, it was in God. When he wavered he was chastened and brought back in line. We know that near the end of his life, he separated his sons from Isaac and sent them away with gifts, but Isaac received the greater blessing because Isaac learned to walk by faith as did Abraham.
In verse 13 we are further reminded that God’s promise to Abraham was not through works. It was not through law keeping. Abraham is the heir of the world. The saints shall rule the world. The saints are the light of the world. Abraham was blessed with that place due to his faith in God. That was and is the only way to be considered righteous in God’s eyes. God is not like man. We need to learn His way, and not mix the imaginations of our own heart and mind with that.
In verse 14 we see that if we teach works salvation, we make faith void. Faith has no place if we need to work to earn God’s salvation. We see here that Biblical faith has a different definition than secular faith. Those who believe in works salvation obviously exercise faith. They believe the lies of their mentors, but they reject the Word of God. Faith in God supersedes faith in anything and everything else. We could look at the apostle Paul’s testimony in Philippians 3 and we see that he discounted everything else in his life compared to his faith in Christ.
The question in works salvation is: what work is required, and when have we done enough work. Then we get into the weeds that the song writer alluded to above.
This is where we find so many religious groups today. Many groups took their queue from Catholicism. Catholicism starts with “infant baptism” which is heresy, and then adds more works on top of that. Many other false religions also seal their “salvation” with “baptism,” so-called.
The Philippian jailor leaped into the jail and fell before Paul and Silas and asked them what he needed to do to be saved. The answer that Paul gave him was clear. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”. There was no human work involved. Repentance was obviously included there because the jailor turned to God in running to Paul. Paul was not God, but he was an apostle of Jesus Christ. The jailor demonstrated his new found faith in his actions toward Paul and Silas. He did not clean them up and feed them to get saved. He did not get baptized to get saved. He was saved at the moment he trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for his salvation. He got up off his knees a new man. His family was so impressed by what had happened to him that when they were told of God’s gift of salvation, they too were saved.
I am thankful that God has been so clear in His Word regarding many things. The matter of salvation is certainly very clear. There is no need for confusion. There is a need for humility and accepting God’s way of salvation.
In verse 15 we see that the law worketh wrath. The law points to the holiness of God and condemns man for not meeting that holy standard. No man has ever yet kept God’s law flawlessly. Those who claim to try to keep the Ten Commandments are condemned because they cannot keep them. God is not satisfied with trying. Those who want to live by law keeping must keep the law perfectly. James was directed to write:
James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
There is not a person alive who can say they have never lied. We have many who have redefined what a lie is, but that does not change God’s law. His Word is settled in Heaven. His law cannot be changed. His law is of greater weight than that of the Medes and the Persians. Daniel was cast into the den of lions because the king passed a foolish law. God made the king’s law of none effect in Daniel’s life. Daniel was a righteous man and God was not going to allow him to be destroyed by the lions. Those who deceived the king into signing that law did not fare so well. Those lions had a feast on them.
God’s law is unchanging. He never intended man to live by law keeping. He intended man to live by faith. Those who are saved need to be reminded constantly that they must walk by faith. The Holy Spirit does that from within. The Word of God does that from without. The true child of God desires to understand and live out the blessings of God’s gift of salvation just as Abraham did in his time.