“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham” (Galatians 3:8-9).
Its often been said that the Bible is the best commentary upon itself. We can demonstrate the accuracy of that statement in regard to Galatians 3:8-9 by turning to selected portions of Romans chapter four. That chapter provides us with a helpful commentary on Abraham and the relationship between faith and the works of the Law…
“Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, He would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. For the Scriptures tell us, ‘Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith’…
Now, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it also for uncircumcised Gentiles? Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith. But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised!
Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith. And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised.
Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith… So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.
That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, ‘I have made you the father of many nations.’ This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing” (Romans 4:1-3, 9-13, 16-17 NLT).