Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.
Romans 4, 3
When someone does good deeds, he gets his reward from God. But he does not get righteousness, he gets it only by grace, he cannot earn it, it is a gift.
Because of faith Abraham did many works: He went away to a foreign country. He waited for his son, the heir. He was ready to sacrifice Isaac because he trusted God despite everything. He gave Lot the better part of the land. He did some things where there was no trust in God, but God forgave it and forgot it. He now only knows the things that Abraham did because of faith.
Everyone who accomplishes deeds because of his faith will receive a good reward from God, but he is therefore no longer worthy or gets heaven because of it. Only by grace are we saved!
Paul also asks to whom this grace is given: Only the Israelis, the circumcised? He asks, when was Abraham righteous? Answer: When he was still uncircumcised, he was a heathen. Circumcision only came as a sign of election and salvation. That is why Abraham is the father of all believers, not only of the Israelis. That is why all promises are for all of us, not only for the Israelis. That is why Abraham is our role model in faith and trust and active action, and God stands by us!
Circumcision is the affirmation of the covenant, and not the other way round: Because someone is circumcised, that is, Israeli, he is by no means chosen. This is exactly the same with our baptism as a sign of salvation, not the other way round, because we are baptized and church members, we are not automatically saved.
Therefore let us walk the way of Abraham and believe Him: He has forgiven our sins, He is faithful to us, He blesses us gladly, He knows no one too badly or too well, He gives peace, He is reconciled with His people and us. Praise be to God, the Father of Jesus Christ, the Creator, the Almighty!
Thank You Father, You are well disposed to me, for You look upon my faith. Good works I have not many, but guilt, failure and sin I have enough. Thank You, You forgive because of Jesus. Thank You, You mean well with me!