Signs of the Covenant

Today’s reading is Romans 4: 1-12

rootedchristToday we see Paul talking about Abraham’s faith being what made him righteous. But we also see a bit of the conversation shift towards circumcision.  Why is this significant?  Paul walks us through Abraham’s call, and as a good lawyer, gets us to agree with the fact that the thing that made him righteous, above all, was his faith.  His faith was reckoned to him as righteousness. That is what it was, nothing more, nothing less.  Faith = righteousness.

Now, the sign of that faith, the sign of that covenant was circumcision.  Circumcision was given to the Jewish male children to show that they were born under the covenant.  This outward sign showed who they were; they were children (and then adults) that were part of the covenant. But here’s the thing. That sign, that circumcision, that in and of itself was not righteousness.  It was a sign of the covenant, but it wasn’t righteousness.  Faith produces and equals righteous.  Not outward signs.

For instance, as Christians, our baptism is a sign of the covenant. But baptism is not a substitution for saving faith in Jesus Christ.  It is faith that saves; it is faith that makes us righteous.

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