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Part 12: Abram — Abraham

Abraham Was Declared Righteous In Uncircumcision

“WE SAY THAT FAITH WAS RECKONED TO ABRAHAM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” ROMANS 4:9.

“HOW WAS IT THEN RECKONED? WHEN HE WAS IN CIRCUMCISION, OR IN UNCIRCUMCISION? NOT IN CIRCUMCISION, BUT IN UNCIRCUMCISION. 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.” ROMANS 4:10 AND 11.

These are important truths to enable us to understand other important truths. Comparatively few Christians have understood Paul’s words in Galatians 2:7:

“But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter.”

Just what was the difference between Peter’s gospel of the circumcision and Paul’s gospel of the uncircumcision? This is for a later lesson. But this study will prepare us for that lesson.

Now let us read Acts 7:8 and Genesis 17:10, 24, 14 and Genesis 17:5.

“And He gave him (Abraham) the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob, and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs.”

“This is My covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.”

“And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.”

“And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken My covenant.”

“Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.”

God gave the covenant of circumcision when He changed Abram’s name to “Abraham” when Abraham was 99 years old. Isaac was born one year after uncircumcised Abram became circumcised Abraham. Genesis 21:5. Isaac, the promised son, was the child of circumcised Abraham. Then note that Isaac and Jesus of Nazareth were both circumcised when eight days old. Genesis 21:4 and Luke 2:21. Isaac, the promised son, was a type of Jesus Christ, the promised Son.

From circumcised Isaac came Jacob (Israel), his twelve sons, Israel and the Jews, called “the circumcision”. Romans 15:8. “Jesus Christ was a minister to the circumcision.” Romans 15:8. While on earth He did not minister unto the Gentiles. (One Greek woman and one Roman man. Matthew 8:1 to 12 and Matthew 15:21 to 24.)

Peter and the Eleven were sent to Israel in the cities of Israel. Matthew 10:5 and 23. Peter and the Eleven are to minister to Israel in the coming kingdom age. Matthew 19:28. Peter and the Eleven remained in Jerusalem during the period covered by the Book of Acts. Acts 8:1.

On the day of Pentecost Peter and the Eleven spoke to Jews from every nation under heaven. Acts 2:14 and 5. About fifteen years later they were still messengers to the circumcision. Galatians 2:9.

From Genesis 17:14 (about 1900 B.C.) to Acts 10:47 (about 40 A.D.) the circumcision of men was a Divine requirement for fellowship with God’s people. To Peter was committed “the gospel of the circumcision”. Galatians 2:7.

No one was ever saved except by the once-for-all sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross; but the word “gospel” covers much more than the salvation of the individual sinner.

THE GOSPEL OF THE UNCIRCUMCISION

Abraham was circumcised. But Abraham was not a Jew. Abraham descended from Noah, Shem and Eber. Abraham was an Eberite. Abraham became the father of one branch of the Semitic race. Abraham’s father was Terah. Terah lived in Chaldea and was an idolater. The word “Jew” in the Bible has a double meaning. Abraham’s grandson, Jacob (Israel), had twelve sons. The fourth son was Judah. Speaking of the Jews, as a race they were Judahites. But when Jesus Christ said, “salvation is of the Jews”, He was not thinking of just one of the twelve tribes. The Israelites were all Jews by religion. Galatians 1:14. Jesus Christ was a Jew by race and by religion.. He is called the “Lion of the tribe of Judah.” Revelation 5:5.

NOTE THE 430 YEARS

But note Galatians 3:8 and 3:17:

“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.”

“And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.”

Here we understand what Paul meant when he said the gospel of the uncircumcision “was committed unto me.”

Four hundred and thirty years before Moses was on Sinai, receiving the law and the Jews’ religion, uncircumcised Abram did something. What he did was to believe. “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness:” Galatians 3:6. The doing was God’s part. The believing was Abram’s part. God declared uncircumcised Abram righteous.

Note Genesis 12:4 and 15:6—“So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him; and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.”

“And he believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness.” When was Abram circumcised to become Abraham? When he was 99 years old. When was Abram called? Twenty-four years before he was circumcised. His circumcision was the seal of the righteousness which he received in uncircumcision. Romans 4:9 to 11. So Abram’s circumcision did not contribute to his righteousness or improve it. He had God’s righteousness. God’s righteousness is perfect and cannot be improved. The one thing Abram did to receive God’s righteousness was to believe God.

THE SCRIPTURES FORESAW

Note again Galatians 3:8

“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.”

What people were seen when the gospel was preached to Abram 24 years before he was circumcised, and 430 years before the law was added to the gospel (Galatians 3:19)? The heathen (Gentiles) of Paul’s day. What was seen? That the uncircumcised heathen would be declared righteous without circumcision, without the law, without any religious observances. Just as Abraham was, by faith without works.

“For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Romans 4:3 and 5.

Christ in heaven revealed to the Apostle Paul that the covenant of circumcision was not binding on the Gentiles.

For some years after Paul received his Divine commission to preach, God permitted the Christian Jews to continue the practice of circumcision. (Acts 16:3 and 21:25). But later on a new interpretation of circumcision was given.

“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” “In Whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, Who hath raised Him from the dead.” Philippians 3:3 and Colossians 2:11 and 12.

God’s message is Galatians 6:15 and 5:3

“IN CHRIST JESUS NEITHER CIRCUMCISION AVAILETH ANY THING, NOR UNCIRCUMCISION, BUT A NEW CREATURE.”

“For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.”

Every member of the Body of Christ has been circumcised with the circumcision not made with hands. Colossians 2:11. Jesus Christ was circumcised in the flesh when He was eight days old. Luke 2:18 to 21. Some Christians speak of following Jesus Christ in baptism, but they say nothing about following Him in His circumcision or about following His example in the matter of going to the Jewish synagogue on the Jewish sabbath. Luke 4:16. Christ’s death baptism took place on the cross. Luke 12:48 to 52. Members of His Body, who have been circumcised with the circumcision not made with hands, have also been baptized into the baptism (death) of Christ with a Divine baptism not made with hands, the operation of God. Colossians 2:12. For the believer there is one circumcision and one baptism.

Thus we learn that as uncircumcised Abram was justified by faith before God gave to Israel the ten commandments and their religious program, so any uncircumcised heathen in the United States or in the heart of Africa can be justified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished redemptive work. God’s message of grace is, “being declared righteous without a cause by God’s grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24.