1 What should we say then [about what] our forefather Abraham discovered? 2 For if Abraham had been made right with God by doing good deeds he would have had something to boast about, but not in God's presence. 3 For what does the Scripture say? [Gen. 15:6 says], "And Abraham believed God, so God considered him righteous."
4 Now wages are not considered a gift if the person has to work for them, but [rather] an obligation [of his employer]. 5 But to the person who believes in God, who makes ungodly people right with Himself apart from doing good deeds, that person's faith is considered by God [as the basis] for being righteous.
6 Even King David also spoke of the blessing experienced by the person who was considered righteous by God apart from doing good deeds.
7 He said [Psa. 32:1ff], "Those people whose ungodly deeds are forgiven [by God] and whose sins are covered over, are [truly] blessed. 8 That person whose sin will not be held against him by the Lord is [truly] blessed."
9 Is this blessing experienced by the circumcised ones [i.e., the Jews only] or by the uncircumcised ones [i.e., the Gentiles] also? We are saying, "Abraham's faith was credited to him for righteousness." 10 [But] when was he given credit [i.e., for being righteous]? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was before he was circumcised, not afterward. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal [confirming] that he had been [considered] righteous because of the faith he had before being circumcised. Thus, he became the [spiritual] father of all people who believe [in God], even though they have not been circumcised, so that they could be considered righteous [by their faith]. 12 And he also became the father of circumcised people [i.e., the Jews], who are not only circumcised, but who also follow the [same] example of faith [in God] which our forefather Abraham had before he was circumcised.
13 For it was not through [obedience to] law [See 3:31] that the promise to Abraham or his descendants of inheriting [the best of] the world [was made], but through their being considered righteous because of faith [in God]. 14 For if [only] those who are obedient to the law deserve an inheritance, [then their] faith [in God] is for nothing, and God's promise is nullified. 15 For the law brings [God's] wrath [i.e., because of man's failure to obey it perfectly], but where there is no law, there is no [responsibility for] sin.
16 For this reason, the promise [i.e., of being made right with God] comes through faith [in God], according to His unearned favor, so that it may be [given] with certainty to all of Abraham's descendants. The promise is given not only to those [who live] under the law [i.e., the Jews], but also to [all] those [who live] by faith, like Abraham. Abraham is the [spiritual] father of all of us [believers], 17 just as it is written [Gen. 17:5], "I [i.e., God] have made you [i.e., Abraham] forefather of many nations." He received this promise in the presence of God, in whom he believed, and who gives life [back] to dead people and who refers to things [promised] as though they were [already] fulfilled. 18 Abraham hoped for what he believed [God had promised], even when there seemed little hope [of it happening], so this made him forefather of many nations, according to the words spoken to him [Gen. 15:5], "Your descendants will be many." 19 Abraham's faith did not become weak [even though] he was about one hundred years old and considered his body almost dead and Sarah's womb incapable of conceiving a child. 20 Yet he looked for the promise of God [to be fulfilled] and did not waver, doubting [that it would happen], but his faith strengthened him. He honored God 21 and was fully convinced that what He had promised, He was able to carry out. 22 So therefore, God considered him righteous [i.e., because of such faith]. 23 Now the words "considered righteous [by God]" were not written for his sake only, 24 but they were written for our sake also, who will be considered righteous by God for believing in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 [This] Jesus was delivered up [to die] for our sins and was raised [from the dead] to make us right with God.