¶ What shall we say then, that Abraham our father as pertaining to the flesh did find? If Abraham were justified by deeds, then hath he wherein to rejoice: but not with God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. To him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of favour: but of duty. To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, is faith counted for righteousness. Even as David describeth the blessedfulness of a man, unto whom good ascribeth righteousness without deeds: Blessed are they, whose unrighteousnesses is forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is that man to whom the Lord imputeth not sin.
¶ Came this blessedness then upon the circumcised or upon the uncircumcised? We say verily how that faith was reckoned to Abraham, for righteousness. How was it reckoned? in the time of circumcision? or in the time before he was circumcised? Not in time of circumcision: but when he was yet uncircumcised. And he received the sign of circumcision, as a seal of the righteousness which is by faith, which faith he had yet being uncircumcised, that he should be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, And that he might be the father of the circumcised: not because they are circumcised only: but because they walk also in the steps of that faith, which was in our father Abraham before the time of circumcision.
¶ For the promise that he should be heir of the world was not given to Abraham, or to his seed thorow the law: but thorow the righteousness which cometh of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, then is faith but vain, and the promise of none effect. Because the law causeth wrath. For where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore by faith is the inheritance given, that it might come of favour: and that the promise might be sure to all the seed. Not to them only which are of the law: but also to them which are of the faith of Abraham, which is the father of us all. As it is written: I have ordained thee a father to many nations, before God whom thou hast believed, which quickeneth the dead and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
¶ Which Abraham, contrary to hope, believed in hope, that he should be the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken: So shall thy seed be. And he fainted not in the faith, nor yet considered his own body, which was now dead, even when he was almost an hundred year old. Neither considered he the barrenness of Sara. He staggered not at the promise of God thorow unbelief: But was made strong in the faith, and gave honour to God and steadfastly believed, that he which had made the promised was able also to make it good. And therefore was it reckoned to him for righteousness.
¶ It is not written for him only, that it was reckoned to him for righteousness: but also for us, to whom it shall be counted for righteousness so we believe on him that raised, up Iesus our Lord from death. Which was delivered for our sins, and rose again for to justify us.
© Faith of God
William Tyndale 1526