The church at Rome included both Jews and people who were not Jews. They needed to understand clearly whether they all could have a right relationship with God.
This was a problem because, unlike other nations, the Jews have a national relationship with God. The Jews are the people from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They have that relationship because of Godís promises to Abraham. The male members of their families receive circumcision, as Abraham did. Circumcision is a minor operation that cuts a small piece of skin from the male sex part.
Abraham had a right relationship with God because of his faith (belief and trust) in God (Romans 4:3; Genesis 15:6). The question for Romeís Christians was whether only the Jews could have that kind of faith, and that kind of relationship. So, they were asking whether Abrahamís relationship with God depended on his circumcision.
Paul replied that the answer to their question is very clear from the Book of Genesis. In Genesis chapter 15 we read about Abrahamís faith and his right relationship with God. However, we do not read about his circumcision until chapter 17.
Therefore, Abrahamís relationship with God did not depend on his circumcision. Circumcision was simply a mark of what God had already done in his life. God established that relationship with Abraham when Abraham had not accepted circumcision. So, God will do the same for people from every nation who have faith in him. They all can know a right relationship with him; for them, circumcision of the body is not necessary.
Next part: Our Ďfatherí Abraham (Romans 4:11-12)
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© 2017, Keith Simons.