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Romans  ◦   Chapter 4

1What about our father Abraham: what did he understand about this issue?2If Abraham was somehow healed by his own efforts at keeping a set of rules or performing certain rituals, then he would have his own healing formula to promote, and would not need trust in God.3But what does the Scripture say? "Abraham trusted God, and his trust was recognized as righteousness because the distrust caused through Satan's lies had been removed, and through trust he was endowed with a new heart, right motives and Christlike principles."

4Now, when a person works, their wages are earned and are not a gift or an endowment.5But the person who doesn't try to earn God's Remedy by working for it, but instead comes to know and trust God–that person's trust is recognized as righteousness because the distrust caused by Satan's lies has been removed, and through trust they receive from God transformation of heart and experience God's own righteous character created within.6David says the exact same thing when he describes the blessedness of the person to whom God bestows his perfect cure without them working to earn it:

7"Happy are they whose wicked minds are restored to perfect purity, whose selfishness is eradicated.

8"Happy is the person whose infected heart the Lord transforms to perfection."

9Is this gracious re-creation of mind only for the small number of humans who have been physically circumcised, or is this for all humanity? We have been saying all along that Abraham trusted God — and his trust was recognized as righteousness because trust in God replaced mistrust of God — and through trust he was endowed with a new heart, right motives, and Christlike principles.10And when did God accept his trust as righteousness? Was it before he was circumcised or after? It was before!11Circumcision was the sign — a seal in his body — of the new heart and mind he had already received when he was still uncircumcised. Therefore Abraham is the father of all who trust in God (whether they are circumcised or not circumcised), those who are endowed with a new heart, right motives and Christlike principles — just like Abraham was.12Don't be confused; he is also the father of those who are not only circumcised physically, but who have also trusted God and have been endowed with new minds and Christlike principles, just like Abraham had before he was circumcised.

13It was not because Abraham kept a certain set of rules or practiced certain rituals that he and his descendants (those who are like Abraham in character–not in genetics) were promised to inherit the earth, but because of Christlike motives and methods that are endowed to them through trust in God.14For if it were possible to develop perfect motives, methods and principles by performing rituals or following a certain code, then there would be no need to trust God for his healing power in our lives, and his promised inheritance would be meaningless.15The written law or code simply exposes the extent of our sickness of mind and heart which, if not cured, results in death. If it weren't for the written law, we wouldn't even know how sick we are, for without some standard of health to measure by, no defect could be diagnosed.

16Therefore the restoration to a perfect state of being and the inheritance of eternal life on a renewed earth come by trusting the One who made the promise to do it. This transformation is accomplished by God's graciousness and is guaranteed to all the children of Abraham–not only his genetic descendants who were given the written diagnostic code, but also to his spiritual descendants, who — just like him — trust God. Abraham is the father of all who trust God.17As it is written: "I have made you the father of many different ethnic groups." The God in whom Abraham trusted — the Creator God who is the source of all life and who calls things into existence from nothingness — considers all of us who trust him to be descendants of Abraham.

18In the face of human opinion and conventional wisdom, Abraham placed his hope and trust in God and thus became the father of many ethnic groups, just as God told him: "Your descendants will be numerous."19Without doubting God for a moment, he accepted it in the reality that he was one hundred years old and his ability to procreate was severely limited, and Sarah had gone through menopause and was beyond child bearing years.20Even though in human understanding the promise seemed hopeless, Abraham did not waver in his confidence in God, but praised God as he21realized that God was able to miraculously fulfill the promise.22This unwavering trust in God, in the face of scientific evidence to the contrary, was recognized as righteousness because this trust replaced distrust and opened Abraham's mind to receive the endowment of a new heart, right motives, and Christlike principles established by God's re-creative power.23This record of his "trust being recognized as righteousness" is not written merely for Abraham,24but for everyone who trusts in God. Everyone who trusts in the God who raised Jesus from the dead is recognized as righteous because through trust they receive the endowment of a perfect heart and have new motives created within, and their distrust of God disappears.25Because our minds were infected by distrust of God, and our condition was terminal, Jesus was given up to experience death in order to procure the Remedy. Having achieved God's purpose, he was raised to life, and now distributes this Remedy to completely restore us into perfect harmony with him.