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Romans 4:12 - Abraham the Father of Circumcision Bookmark

"and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised." (NASB)
 
"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." (KJV)
 
"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." (NLT)
 
"And he is also the father of the circumcised, who are not only circumcised, but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham possessed when he was still uncircumcised." (NET)

Though it can be said that Abraham is the spiritual father of the circumcision, this is true only if they share the same saving faith. The Lord of Lords peers into the heart. If external things like circumcision and baptism are not a reflection of the heart then they are useless. However, if the heart be true, then the outward sign is a God-given seal.

Matthew Henry asserts: Now we may hence observe, (1.) The nature of sacraments in general: they are signs and seals - signs to represent and instruct, seals to ratify and confirm.  They are signs of absolute grace and favor; they are seals of the conditional promises; nay, they are mutual seals: God does in the sacraments seal to us to be to us a God, and we do therein seal to him to be to him a people.  (2.) The nature of circumcision in particular: it was the initiating sacrament of the Old Testament; and it is here said to be, [1.] A sign - a sign of that original corruption which we are all born with, and which is cut off by spiritual circumcision, - a commemorating sign of God's covenant with Abraham, - a distinguishing sign between Jews and Gentiles, - a sign of admission into the visible church, - a sign prefiguring baptism, which comes in the room of circumcision, now under the gospel, when (the blood of Christ being shed) all bloody ordinances are abolished; it was an outward and sensible sign of an inward and spiritual grace signified thereby.  [2.] A seal of the righteousness of the faith. In general, it was a seal of the covenant of grace, particularly of justification by faith - the covenant of grace, called the righteousness which is of faith (Romans 10:6), and it refers to an Old Testament promise, Deuteronomy 30:12.  Now if infants were then capable of receiving a seal of the covenant of grace, which proves that they then were within the verge of that covenant, how they come to be now cast out of the covenant and incapable of the seal, and by what severe sentence they were thus rejected and incapacitated, those are concerned to make out that not only reject, but nullify and reproach, the baptism of the seed of believers.
"and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised." (NASB)
 
"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." (KJV)
 
"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." (NLT)
 
"And he is also the father of the circumcised, who are not only circumcised, but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham possessed when he was still uncircumcised." (NET)

Though it can be said that Abraham is the spiritual father of the circumcision, this is true only if they share the same saving faith. The Lord of Lords peers into the heart. If external things like circumcision and baptism are not a reflection of the heart then they are useless. However, if the heart be true, then the outward sign is a God-given seal.

Matthew Henry asserts: Now we may hence observe, (1.) The nature of sacraments in general: they are signs and seals - signs to represent and instruct, seals to ratify and confirm.  They are signs of absolute grace and favor; they are seals of the conditional promises; nay, they are mutual seals: God does in the sacraments seal to us to be to us a God, and we do therein seal to him to be to him a people.  (2.) The nature of circumcision in particular: it was the initiating sacrament of the Old Testament; and it is here said to be, [1.] A sign - a sign of that original corruption which we are all born with, and which is cut off by spiritual circumcision, - a commemorating sign of God's covenant with Abraham, - a distinguishing sign between Jews and Gentiles, - a sign of admission into the visible church, - a sign prefiguring baptism, which comes in the room of circumcision, now under the gospel, when (the blood of Christ being shed) all bloody ordinances are abolished; it was an outward and sensible sign of an inward and spiritual grace signified thereby.  [2.] A seal of the righteousness of the faith. In general, it was a seal of the covenant of grace, particularly of justification by faith - the covenant of grace, called the righteousness which is of faith (Romans 10:6), and it refers to an Old Testament promise, Deuteronomy 30:12.  Now if infants were then capable of receiving a seal of the covenant of grace, which proves that they then were within the verge of that covenant, how they come to be now cast out of the covenant and incapable of the seal, and by what severe sentence they were thus rejected and incapacitated, those are concerned to make out that not only reject, but nullify and reproach, the baptism of the seed of believers.


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