Rom 4:8-10 “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.”
The word “blessed” means to “be made happy.” We often say that it is not possible to make someone happy, and for mankind that is true. We might do something to enhance someone else’s pleasure for a short time, but that does not last as a general rule. We are quick to point out that being happy has to come from within.
Only the Lord can truly bless (make us) happy. He is the one who works from within. His cleansing works from the inside out, whereas men can only clean up the outside appearance. The man who understands that his sins are not imputed (counted) to him is made happy.
Man, by his carnal nature, likes to think he is in control of things. We want to get credit for good things in our life like enjoying the blessings of God. Many people try to “be good” in order to win God’s favor. They suppose it is possible to earn the Lord’s blessing because of their actions.
The Jews thought they had favor with God because they were the circumcision. Sometimes we think we receive favor with God because we go to church or are baptized. These things are good, and it is right to obey God. However, He does not owe us because we have been obedient: obedience is something we owe to Him out of love.
Paul clearly makes this point concerning Abraham, and by extension, all his family. Faith was reckoned (the same Greek word that was also translated as “impute”) to Abraham for righteousness. His sin was not imputed to him, but faith was. This righteousness of Abraham that was credited to him by faith was not the result of his obedience to God in circumcision.
Abraham’s faith was reckoned (counted, credited) even while he was still uncircumcised. The quickening power of God in our lives, which gives us the ability to understand that our sins are forgiven by the blood of Jesus, comes before we have done anything to earn it. It is the blessing of the Lord. It is reckoned of grace, and if it is of grace then it is not by our works.
The motivation to obey God should be found simply in our love for Him. It should not require any promise of reward. We must recognize that our love for Him is predicated on the fact that He loved us first. Without His love first being shown to us, we will never love Him.
May we live our lives with the understanding that the forgiveness of our sins is not by our choice (“of him that willeth” – Romans 9:16) nor by the course we choose (“of him that runneth”), but purely by the mercy (divine grace) of God!