Rom 4:11-13 “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: And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”
Abraham did not suddenly wake up one day and think, “I believe I will leave my father’s house and forsake the gods I have always worshipped and go into a strange land.” The living God first wrought a work in Abraham and caused him to hear His command. Having no outward seal of a covenant, Abraham still walked by faith before God. The sign of circumcision was the seal [a signet (as fencing in or protecting from misappropriation – see Strong’s] of the righteousness of his faith while in uncircumcision.
Abraham was not circumcised in order to have faith; he was circumcised as an evidence of his faith. He is referred to as the father of all that believe. He believed while in a state of uncircumcision, showing that the uncircumcised can have faith. Abraham’s faithful service to God is evidence to all who are uncircumcised that righteousness is imputed unto them.
Although the Jews in Jesus’ day loved to point to Abraham and claim him as their father, for many that claim was hollow. Abraham was not the father of the circumcised who were accounted so only in the flesh. Before God, their circumcision was only valid if they walked in the same faithful manner as Abraham. Otherwise, their circumcision was just a show.
In the same manner, we cannot claim any righteousness or faith before God is it is only there as an outward display. We might enjoy calling attention to our charitable giving or to the fact that we never miss church. However, if we do not have a daily walk of faith with God these outward displays are just as empty as the circumcision of the flesh was for the Jews. True circumcision affects the inward heart and not just the outward appearance.
Circumcision, of the flesh according to the law or of the heart according to grace, is hidden from the eyes of men. The evidence of circumcision has always been in a faithful walk with God and loving obedience to His commands. Only then can we claim Abraham as our father in faith. We have that because of the faith bestowed by our Heavenly Father.
God made a wonderful promise to Abraham. He told Abraham that all nations would be blessed in Abraham’s seed. This promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The promise was not reckoned by the law (through works), but by grace (through the righteousness of faith). This is the faith of Jesus Christ and not just faith in Jesus Christ.
May God bless us to always acknowledge with thanksgiving the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ our Lord!