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Romans 4 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Abraham Justified by Faith

What then can we say that Abraham, our physical ancestor,[a] has found? If Abraham was justified[b] by works, he has something to brag about—but not before God.[c] For what does the Scripture say?

Abraham believed God,
and it was credited to him for righteousness.[d]

Now to the one who works, pay is not considered as a gift, but as something owed. But to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who declares the ungodly to be righteous,[e] his faith is credited for righteousness.

David Celebrating the Same Truth

Likewise, David also speaks of the blessing of the man God credits righteousness to apart from works:

How joyful are those whose lawless acts are forgiven
and whose sins are covered!
How joyful is the man
the Lord will never charge with sin![f]

Abraham Justified before Circumcision

Is this blessing only for the circumcised, then? Or is it also for the uncircumcised? For we say, Faith was credited to Abraham for righteousness.[g] 10 In what way then was it credited—while he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while he was circumcised, but uncircumcised. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith[h] while still uncircumcised. This was to make him the father of all who believe but are not circumcised, so that righteousness may be credited to them also. 12 And he became the father of the circumcised, who are not only circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith our father Abraham had while he was still uncircumcised.

The Promise Granted through Faith

13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.[i] 14 If those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made empty and the promise is canceled. 15 For the law produces wrath. And where there is no law, there is no transgression.

16 This is why the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace, to guarantee it to all the descendants—not only to those who are of the law[j] but also to those who are of Abraham’s faith. He is the father of us all 17 in God’s sight. As it is written: I have made you the father of many nations.[k] He believed in God, who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist. 18 He believed, hoping against hope, so that he became the father of many nations[l] according to what had been spoken: So will your descendants be.[m] 19 He considered[n] his own body to be already dead (since he was about 100 years old) and also considered the deadness of Sarah’s womb, without weakening in the faith. 20 He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 because he was fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 Therefore, it was credited to him for righteousness.[o] 23 Now it was credited to him was not written for Abraham alone, 24 but also for us. It will be credited to us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered up for[p] our trespasses and raised for[q] our justification.[r]

Footnotes:

  1. Romans 4:1 Lit our ancestor according to the flesh
  2. Romans 4:2 Or was declared righteous, or was acquitted
  3. Romans 4:2 He has no reason for boasting in God’s presence.
  4. Romans 4:3 Gn 15:6
  5. Romans 4:5 Or who acquits, or who justifies
  6. Romans 4:8 Ps 32:1-2
  7. Romans 4:9 Gn 15:6
  8. Romans 4:11 Lit righteousness of faith
  9. Romans 4:13 Lit righteousness of faith
  10. Romans 4:16 Or not to those who are of the law only
  11. Romans 4:17 Gn 17:5
  12. Romans 4:18 Gn 17:5
  13. Romans 4:18 Gn 15:5
  14. Romans 4:19 Other mss read He did not consider
  15. Romans 4:22 Gn 15:6
  16. Romans 4:25 Or because of
  17. Romans 4:25 Or because of
  18. Romans 4:25 Or acquittal

Romans 4 New International Version (NIV)

Abraham Justified by Faith

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[a]

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”[b]

Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”[c] He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”[d] 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

Footnotes:

  1. Romans 4:3 Gen. 15:6; also in verse 22
  2. Romans 4:8 Psalm 32:1,2
  3. Romans 4:17 Gen. 17:5
  4. Romans 4:18 Gen. 15:5
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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