Week of September 30 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: Romans 4:9-12

Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

Reflect: Why is it important to point out that Abraham was credited with faith before he was circumcised? What does it mean for Abraham to be the father of those who are not circumcised?

Consider: He accepted the sign of circumcision as the seal of uprightness that comes through faith while he was still uncircumcised. Paul does not reject circumcision but seeks to order it properly in God’s plan of salvation. He plays on a phrase used in Gen 17:11, where circumcision is called ʾôt bĕrît, “the sign of the covenant”, between Yahweh and Abraham’s family. In Acts 7:8 it is referred to as diathēkē peritomēs, “a covenant of circumcision.” Later rabbis, however, regarded it as the sign of the Mosaic covenant, for it served to distinguish Israel from the nations (see Judg 14:3; 1 Sam 14:6).[1]

Respond: How freeing is it to know that we will be judged by Christ’s works and not our own? What will look differently in your life this week if you truly embrace that change?

[1] Joseph A. Fitzmyer S.J., Romans: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, vol. 33, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), 380–381.