I like this weeks Torah portion (Genesis 12:1-17:27), which is called in Hebrew Lekh Lekha, because of the story of Abraham's faith in the covenent that his SEED would make him the Father of many nations. This story ties directly to Romans chapter 4. Romans 4 speaks a lot of the "Law" or Torah and it's inability to justify us, but does that mean that we throw it out, the Law? I'm talking about the whole Torah, not just the modern division between moral and civil laws, but all the instructions given to Elohim's people. It is my conviction that Paul would never tell anyone to forsake the Torah, but what he did address, is how all people are rendered innocent or justified before Elohim.
His point in Romans 4 is to show that faith came before circumcision so that all who are uncircumcised, all who are lawless, all who walk in the steps of Abraham can come to Elohim and be rendered innocent. Paul was making a point that it was not being circumcised that resulted in our righteousness, but our faith that gains us righteousness. The action word is faith not circumcision.
Why does this matter? Well, I believe that this argument is what Paul continues to expound on, in all of his letters. This argument that we are rendered innocent FIRST by faith, is not what the religious Jews had come teach. In order to be justified before Elohim, the Jewish authorities, believed that you must behold and do ALL their teachings, which included the oral Torah, which, when you agreed to and did, then you would be counted as righteous. That got you in to the club so to speak. One of the signs that a Gentile had to perform before joining the club, for lack of a better phrase, was to be circumcised. That physical act of circumcision, proved to the ruling authorities at that time that the converting person, was really willing to forsake their former lives and circumcising oneselve proved it. The body was held in high standard by those in the surrounding cultures and marring it with a knife was considered disgusting. To those who wanted to join to the Jewish nation, circumcision was a confirming sign that one was committed and sure of their conversion. Circumcision and all that that meant, became the door, to righteousness, not FAITH.
Paul corrects this cart before the horse, specifically here in Romans, by referring to Abraham's faith. Because we have faith in the same Elohim, because we have faith in the same promised SEED, because we have faith in him who raised from the dead Yeshua our Adonai, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification, WE ARE JUSTIFIED or RENDERED INNOCENT.
Abraham's faith saved him and our faith saves us. He was saved many years before Yeshuah came and we are save many years after Yeshuah came, BUT our faith is the same.
Finally, does his argument, conclude that because of this FAITH, the Torah/Law is no longer to be engaged, no longer to be practiced, no longer to be followed? NO abolutely NOT! His argument addressed the how our justification occured. It did not address whether or not we should practice the Torah, or whether or not we just keep the moral laws, it addressed FAITH.