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The letter to the
Faith is available to all
(I have added the comments in small type)
Abraham is the proof
01 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, has found [or done]? 02 For if Abraham were justified by works, he has something to glory [about]. But not before God. Note 2
My note: There are three parts to redemption.
1. Justified = We are forgiven for all the past and made righteous - as a gift
2. Sanctified = His power covers our behaviour in the present - as a gift
3. Glorified = We will be restored in the future - as a gift
For what says the Scripture?
Abraham believed God,
and it was counted to him for righteousness.
04 Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt [or wages].
05 But to him that works not, but [simply] believes on Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 06 Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, to whom God imputes righteousness without works, 07 Saying,
Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 08 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Note 3
When does faith begin?
09 [Does] this blessedness come then upon the circumcision [church members] only, or upon the uncircumcision also [non-church members]? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How [or when] was it then reckoned? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision!
Only one thing is required for non-church believers —
faith in the Son of God
11 And he [afterwards] received the sign of circumcision, a seal [or sign] 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 [physically] circumcised, that righteousness [and circumcision of the heart] might be imputed to them also.
Two things are required in church believers -
circumcision (= works - living up to all the light we receive)
12 And [he is also] the father of circumcision to them who are not of the [physical] circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. Note 4
The "meek" shall inherit the earth
13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed [his spiritual descendants], through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law [or physical descent] be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect. 15 Because the [physical] law works [only] wrath, for where no law is, there is no transgression.
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace [the gift of God]. To the end the promise might be sure to all the seed. Not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,
17 (as it is written,
I have made you a father of many nations),
before Him whom he believed - even God, who quickens [or makes alive] the dead, and calls those things which be not as though they were. Note 5
18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken,
So shall your seed [or spiritual descendants] be.
19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now [practically] dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb. 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. 21 And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Note 6
Those with the same faith are his "seed"
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him, 24 but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 Who was delivered [or sacrificed] for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Note 7
The atonement of Christ
is not merely a skilful way to have our sins pardoned.
It is a divine remedy for the cure of transgression and the restoration of spiritual health.
On to Chapter Five of the Letter ................
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