4:1 What 1 shall we then say that Abraham our father, as
pertaining to the a flesh, hath found?
(1) A new argument of great weight, taken from the example of
Abraham the father of all believers: and this is the
proposition: if Abraham is considered in himself by his
works, he has deserved nothing with which to rejoice with
(a) By works, as is evident from the next verse.
4:22 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath
[whereof] to glory; but not before God.
(2) A preventing of an objection. Abraham may well rejoice and
extol himself among men, but not with God.
4:33 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and
it was counted unto him for righteousness.
(3) A confirmation of the proposition: Abraham was justified by
imputation of faith, and therefore freely, without any
regard being give to his works.
4:44 Now to him that b worketh is the reward not c
reckoned of grace, but of debt.
(4) The first proof of the confirmation, taken from opposites:
to him who deserves anything by his labour, the wages are
not counted as favour, but as debt: but to him that has
done nothing but believe in him who freely promises, faith
(b) To him that has deserved anything from his work.
(c) Is not reckoned or given to him.
4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that d
justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for
(d) That makes him who is wicked in himself to be just in
4:65 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the
man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
(5) Another proof of the same confirmation: David puts
blessedness as a part of the free pardon of sins, and
therefore justification also.
4:96 [Cometh] this e blessedness then upon the circumcision
[only], or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that
faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
(6) A new proposition: that this manner of justification
belongs both to uncircumcised and also to the circumcised,
as is declared in the person of Abraham.
(e) This saying of David, in which he pronounces them as
4:107 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision,
or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in
(7) He proves that it belongs to the uncircumcised (for there
was no doubt of the circumcised) in this way: Abraham was
justified in uncircumcision, therefore this justification
belongs also to the uncircumcised. Nay, it does not belong
to the circumcised, in respect of the circumcision, much
less are the uncircumcised shut out from it because of
4:118 And he received the f sign of circumcision, a g
seal of the righteousness of the faith which [he had yet]
being uncircumcised: 9 that he might be the father of all
them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that
righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
(8) A preventing of an objection: why then was Abraham
circumcised, if he was already justified? That the gift of
righteousness (he says) might be confirmed in him.
(f) Circumcision, which is a sign: as we say the "ordinance
of baptism", for "baptism", which is a ordinance.
(g) Circumcision was previously called a sign, with respect
to the outward ceremony. Now Paul shows the force and
substance of that sign. That is, to what end it is
used, that is, not only to signify, but also to seal up
the righteousness of faith. By this we come to
possess Christ himself: for the Holy Spirit works that
inwardly indeed, which the ordinances being joined with
the word, represent.
(9) An applying of the example of Abraham to the uncircumcised
believers, whose father he also makes Abraham.
4:1210 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
(10) An applying of the same example to the circumcised
believers, whose father is Abraham, but yet by faith.
4:1311 For the promise, that he should be the h heir of the
world, [was] not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the
i law, but through the righteousness of faith.
(11) A reason why the seed of Abraham is to be considered to be
by faith, because Abraham himself through faith was made
partaker of the promise by which he was made the father of
(h) That all the nations of the world should be his
children: or by the "world" may be understood the land
(i) For works that he had done, or upon this condition,
that he should fulfil the Law.
4:1412 For if they which are of the k law [be] heirs, faith
is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
(12) A double confirmation of that reason: the one is that the
promise cannot be apprehended by the law, and that if it
could it would be made of no effect: the other, that the
condition of faith would be joined in vain to the promise
if it could be apprehended by works.
(k) If they are heirs who have fulfilled the law.
4:1513 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is,
[there is] no transgression.
(13) A reason of the first confirmation, why the promise cannot
be apprehended by the law: because the law does not
reconcile God and us, but rather proclaims his anger
against us, because no man can fully keep it.
4:1614 Therefore [it is] of faith, that [it might be] by
grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the l
seed; 15 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,
(14) The conclusion of this argument: the salvation and
justification of the posterity of Abraham (that is, of the
Church which is composed of all believers) proceeds from
faith which lays hold on the promise made to Abraham, and
which promise Abraham himself first of all laid hold on.
(l) To all the believers.
(15) That is to say, not only of those who believe and are also
circumcised according to the law, but of those also who
without circumcision and with respect of faith only, are
counted among the children of Abraham.
4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a 16 father of many
nations,) before him whom he believed, [even] m God, who
n quickeneth the dead, and o calleth those things which
be not as though they were.
(16) This fatherhood is spiritual, depending only upon the
power of God, who made the promise.
(m) Before God, that is by membership in his spiritual
family, which has a place before God, and makes us
acceptable to God.
(n) Who restores to life.
(o) With whom those things are already, which as yet are
not indeed, as he can with a word make what he wishes
out of nothing.
4:1817 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might
become the father of many nations, according to that which
was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
(17) A description of true faith wholly resting in the power of
God, and his good will, set forth in the example of
4:19 And being p not weak in faith, he considered not his own
body now q dead, when he was about an hundred years old,
neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb:
(p) Very strong and steadfast.
(q) Void of strength, and unfit to have children.
4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief;
but was strong in faith, giving r glory to God;
(r) Acknowledged and praised God, as most gracious and
4:21 And being s fully persuaded that, what he had promised,
he was able also to perform.
(s) A description of true faith.
4:2318 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was
imputed to him;
(18) The rule of justification is always the same, both in
Abraham, and in all the faithful: that is to say, faith
in God, who after there was made a full satisfaction for
our sins in Christ our mediator, raised him from the dead,
that we also being justified, might be saved in him.
4:25 Who was delivered for our t offences, and was raised
again for our justification.