The Sign of Circumcision

Romans 4:9-12 Come 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. 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. 

‘Impute sin’ Imputation: justification from all sin. [Hebrew: chashab] to be reckoned or put to the account of one; charge with. Equivalent to the Greek word logizomai, translated numbered (Mark 15:28); accounted (Rom. 8:36; 1Cor. 4:1; Gal. 3:6; Heb. 11:19); counted (Rom. 2:26; 4:3, 5; 9:8; Php. 3:13); laid to their charge (2Tim. 4:16); reckoned (Luke 22:37; Rom. 4:4,9,10; 6:11; 8:18); and impute (Rom. 4:6, 8, 11, 22-24; 2Cor. 5:19; Jas. 2:23). Imputation is that act of God in salvation whereby He accounts the believer righteous in Christ because Christ bore his sins and because he has properly repented of his sins and met God’s terms of reconciliation (Rom. 3:24-31; 4:1-25; 2 Cor. 5:14-21; Gal. 3:6-9, 13-14).

‘Come this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? … How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision?’ the answer to these questions are given in verse 10: “Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.”

‘And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith’ Circumcision, which was a part of the Abrahamic covenant was a sign of the promised Redeemer out of the loins of Abraham, and of His works for all who wished to put off the sins of the flesh and serve God as new creatures. The word “circumcision” came to be synonymous with Jews (3:30; 4:9; Gal. 2:9). Since Christ came, circumcision avails nothing (Gal. 5:6; Col. 3:11). Christian circumcision is in the heart or spirit, not in the flesh (Rom. 2:28-29; 1Cor. 7:19; Php. 3:3; Col. 2:11).

‘Uncircumcised’ Abraham was justified 24 years before circumcision (Gen. 12:1-4; 15:6; 17:1-14).

‘That he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also’ he was justified before he was circumcised that he might be the father of believing uncircumcised Gentiles.

‘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’ he is also father of Jews who walk in his steps and who seek for justification by faith only. The covenant was made with Abraham while he was a Gentile; he became the father of Gentiles in the faith. The Jews were later made partakers of the covenant, but original justification by faith belonged to the Gentiles. When the gospel came they laid hold on it as their original right. The Jews to be saved must come under the Abrahamic covenant in which the Gentiles were originally included. This conclusion of Paul must have confounded the Jews.

‘Steps’ [Greek: ichnos] a track, footstep (4:12; 2Cor. 12:18; 1Pet. 2:21).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s