If Paul teaches faith alone, he "is inconsistent with authority greater than his own [i.e., Jesus]...."William Paley (1825)


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Abrahamic Covenant

A Covenant of Obedience

In Genesis 17, God proposes a covenant to Abraham.

1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, [Yahweh] appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am the Almighty God [i.e., El Shaddai]; walk before me, and be perfect.

2 And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will exceedingly multiply you.

3 And Abram fell on his face: and God [Elohim] talked with him, saying,

4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.


6 And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come out of you.

7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto you, and to your seed after you. (KJV, modernized English)

Hence, the condition of this future covenant so far is to “walk before me, and be perfect.” Other Jewish translations are “walk before me, and be blameless”—the Hebrew word tamim. See Orthodox Jewish Bible 17:1.

Hence, this is still an offer (see v. 7), and not a present covenant until action accepted it. The condition is that Abraham must accept and honor the acceptance of the terms—to walk” perfectly.

This is reiterated in Genesis 18:19 where we read:

19 I have chosen him so that he will direct his children and his family after him to keep the way of Yahweh by doing what is right and just. In this way I, Yahweh, will do what I have promised Abraham.” (Gen. 18:19, NOG.)

After Abraham's death, God affirmed to Isaac that Abraham had obeyed all God’s law, which now justified God keeping His side of the covenant to Abraham’s seed, beginning with Isaac—the father of Jacob later known as Israel:

(1)... And Isaac went... unto Gerar. (2) And Yahweh appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt. Dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of. (3) Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee. For unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father. (4) And I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these lands. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. (5) Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. Gen 26:1-5 (ASV)

Purpose of Circumcision in Abrahamic Covenant

The sign of accepting this promise was circumcision. A Gentile was only subject to circumcision if he was purchased and became part of Abraham’s house. See Genesis 17:9-14.