A Study in the Book of Romans : Lesson #5 Our connection to Abraham

A Study in the Book of Romans

Lesson #5 : Our Connection to Abraham (Romans 4:1-25)

At the end of Romans chapter 3 Paul wrote about Jesus Christ being the answer for man’s problem of sin. And it was plain how that we are justified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and not by works. In Chapter 4 of Romans Paul continues showing that we are saved by faith but in this chapter he compares us with Abraham. Even though Abraham lived in the Old Testament we are connected with him by faith. In this lesson we will show this connection and also learn about the subject of spiritual circumcision.

Abraham as a type of Us (Verses 1-8)

In the first 8 verses Paul shows that Abraham is a type of a saved person in the church age. When Abraham believed God in regards to God giving him a seed, the bible says that it was counted unto for righteousness (Genesis 15:6). This does not make Abraham born again like we are in the church age but since his righteousness was connected with his faith he is a type of a person who is saved in the church age. Our righteousness is by the faith of Jesus Christ.

Our Connection to Abraham (Verses 9-22)

In the above section we see that Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Then Paul ask the question was Abraham circumcised when he received this righteousness or uncircumcised. The answer is he was uncircumcised.

Physical Circumcision was given to Abraham in Genesis 17:9-14 and it was a covenant between God and Abraham concerning a promise. This also became one of the main distinctions between a Jew and a Gentile.

Here in Romans we see that physical circumcision is a sign or a seal of the righteousness of Abraham (verse 11).  Physical circumcision would also be connected with a resurrection in the way that Abraham received Isaac.

After Abraham and Hagar had Ishmael it was 13 years before we see God speak to Abraham again in the scriptures. By now not only was Sarah not able to have children but Abraham was not able to have children either. Note he considered his flesh dead (Romans 4:19).  In a physical sense this Abraham body was brought back to life in order to have Isaac. This is why he was willing to sacrifice Isaac because he believed that God would resurrect him from the dead because he had received him in the same way (Hebrews 11:17-19). Note this makes Ishmael born before Abraham was circumcised and Isaac was born after he was circumcised. Isaac was the seed of promise, not Ishmael. Therefore we see that Abraham’s physical circumcision was connected with a seed, sign, seal and a resurrection so to speak.

When a person is saved in the church age after the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ they are not only born again but they are spiritually circumcised (Colossians 2:9-13). We know this is a spiritual process and not a physical one because it is said in the passage to be done without hands and it is called the operation of God. So exactly what is spiritual circumcision?

According to the word of God man is has a body, soul and a spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Before salvation the soul and the body are stuck together. This is why in the Old Testament you see the phrase if a soul touch an unclean thing (Leviticus 5:2). When a person is saved and put in the body of Christ their Soul is separated from their flesh by the process of spiritual circumcision. This is what is meant by the phrase putting off the body of the sins of the flesh. As a result of this we are also sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13 ; 4:30). It is the soul that is sealed which is why we can sin after salvation and not lose our salvation. It is the flesh that sins and it doesn’t touch the soul any more. Note in the passage that our spiritual circumcision is connected with a resurrection and a seal. So Abraham’s physical circumcision is a type of our spiritual circumcision.

What is the difference between us and Abraham?

We must remember that even though Abraham got his righteousness by faith he was justified by works (James 2:21-24). Abraham was physically circumcised by not spiritually circumcised. Spiritual circumcision cannot take place until after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a result of spiritual circumcision and being put in the body of Christ we are justified by faith as we saw in the previous lesson.

Even though Abraham is used in Romans chapter 4 to show us some things about salvation he was not justified by faith as we are because he was not in the body of Jesus Christ.

A Study in the Book of Romans

Lesson #5 : Our Connection to Abraham (Romans 4:1-25)


1)  How are we compared with Abraham in Romans chapter 4?

2)  What is our connection with Abraham?

3)  What was Abraham’s Circumcision about?

4)  What is our spiritual circumcision in Colossians 2:9-13 about?

5)  What is the difference between us and Abraham?