Hundreds of years before Moses received the Ten Commandments, Abraham believed and his belief was credited to him as righteousness before God.
The act of circumcision was symbolic of God’s covenant with Abraham and his offspring, but before he was circumcised, Abraham believed.
It’s easy to reduce any relationship to a set of rules – including religious faith.
My orthodox Jewish friend pays meticulous attention to the ceremonial law. He has described himself as a modern day Pharisee of sorts. A Muslim physician has explained the importance of keeping his fast during Ramadan. Another Hindu doctor tells me there are too many gods to consider one true God and that we should just live to improve our karma. And my next door neighbor compares himself to the people he knows who attend church and rationalizes that his “good” outweighs his “bad.” Finally, many in the Christian church have done the same as those listed above by making faith a set of rules to be followed instead of belief and faith in God.
Paul points out that Abraham is not just the biological patriarch of the Jews as a people, but as part of God’s plan to redeem mankind, Abraham is the spiritual father of all who believe.
How do you remind yourself that salvation is God’s gift through Christ? Here’s another familiar passage from Paul –
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.Ephesians 2: 8-10