Romans 4:2
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New International Version
If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about--but not before God.

New Living Translation
If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God's way.

English Standard Version
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

Berean Study Bible
If Abraham was indeed justified by works, he had something to boast about, but not before God.

Berean Literal Bible
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has ground of boasting, but not toward God.

New American Standard Bible
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

King James Bible
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to brag about--but not before God.

International Standard Version
For if Abraham was justified by actions, he would have had something to boast about—though not before God.

NET Bible
For if Abraham was declared righteous by the works of the law, he has something to boast about--but not before God.

New Heart English Bible
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For if Abraham were declared righteous by works, he would have had pride; but not in the presence of God.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
If Abraham had God's approval because of something he did, he would have had a reason to brag. But he could not brag to God about it.

New American Standard 1977
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For if Abraham were justified by works, he has reason to glory in himself, but not before God.

King James 2000 Bible
For if Abraham were justified by works, he has something in which to boast; but not before God.

American King James Version
For if Abraham were justified by works, he has whereof to glory; but not before God.

American Standard Version
For if Abraham was justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not toward God.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God.

Darby Bible Translation
For if Abraham has been justified on the principle of works, he has whereof to boast: but not before God;

English Revised Version
For if Abraham was justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not toward God.

Webster's Bible Translation
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God.

Weymouth New Testament
For if he was held to be righteous on the ground of his actions, he has something to boast of; but not in the presence of God.

World English Bible
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not toward God.

Young's Literal Translation
for if Abraham by works was declared righteous, he hath to boast -- but not before God;
Study Bible
Abraham Justified by Faith
1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, has discovered? 2If Abraham was indeed justified by works, he had something to boast about, but not before God. 3For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”…
Cross References
Romans 3:27
Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of works? No, but on that of faith.

1 Corinthians 1:31
Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."
Treasury of Scripture

For if Abraham were justified by works, he has whereof to glory; but not before God.

Abraham. See on

Romans 3:20-28 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified …

Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of …

he hath.

Romans 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? No: …

Romans 15:17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those …

Ezekiel 8:9 And he said to me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.

Jeremiah 9:23,24 Thus said the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither …

1 Corinthians 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity …

2 Corinthians 5:12 For we commend not ourselves again to you, but give you occasion …

2 Corinthians 11:12,30 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them …

2 Corinthians 12:1-9 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions …

Galatians 6:13,14 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but …

Ephesians 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

but.

Genesis 12:12,13,18,20 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see you, …

Genesis 20:9-13 Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said to him, What have you done …

Joshua 24:2 And Joshua said to all the people, Thus said the LORD God of Israel, …

1 Corinthians 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

1 Corinthians 4:7 For who makes you to differ from another? and what have you that …

Galatians 3:22 But the scripture has concluded all under sin, that the promise by …

(2) We know that he obtained justification. If that justification had been earned by his own works it would then have been something to be proud of; it would be a pride that he might fairly hold both towards men and towards God; for to men he could point to the privileged position that he had gained, and in the sight of God he would be able to plead a certain merit of his own. But he has not this merit. His justification was not earned, but it was bestowed upon him, not for the sake of his works, but of his faith. This is the express statement of Scripture. And hence it follows that though his privileged position in the sight of men remains, he has nothing to boast of before God.

But not before God.--This is an instance of the rapid and eager dialectic of the Apostle. If the whole train of thought had been given it would probably have run much as above, but the greater part of it is suppressed, and the Apostle strikes straight at the one point which he intended to bring into relief. (Whatever there might be before men) there is no boasting before God.

Verse 2. - For if Abraham was justified by works, be hath whereof to glory; but not before God. Many commentators take this verse to imply that, even if he was justified by works, he still had no ground of glorying before God, though he might have before men. But the drift of the whole argument being to show that he was not justified by works at all, this interpretation can hardly stand. "Not before God" must therefore have reference to the whole of the preceding sentence, in the sense, "It was not so in the sight of God." Before God (as appears from the text to be quoted) he had not whereof to glory on the ground of being justified by works, and therefore it follows that it was not by works that he was justified. For if Abraham were justified by works,.... That Abraham was not, and could not be justified by works, is clear from hence, that if this was his case,

he hath whereof to glory; which will be allowed him before men, on account of his pious life and conversation:

but not before God; who saw all the iniquity of his heart, and was privy to all his failings and infirmities: besides, glorying before God in a man's own works, is contrary to the scheme and method of God's grace; is excluded by the doctrine of faith; nor is there any place for glorying before God but in Christ, and his righteousness: if therefore Abraham had not that of which he could glory before God, he could not be justified by works in his sight: but does not the Apostle James say that he was justified by works, James 2:21? To this it may be replied, that the two apostles, Paul and James, are not speaking of the same thing: Paul speaks of justification before God, James of justification before men; Paul speaks of the justification of the person, James of the justification of a man's cause, as the truth of his faith, or the uprightness of his conduct; Paul speaks of works, as the causes of justification, James of them as the effects and evidences of faith; Paul had to do with the self-righteous, who trusted in their own works for justification, James with Gnostics, who slighted and neglected the performance of them. These things considered, they will be found to agree. 2. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God—"If works were the ground of Abraham's justification, he would have matter for boasting; but as it is perfectly certain that he hath none in the sight of God, it follows that Abraham could not have been justified by works." And to this agree the words of Scripture.4:1-12 To meet the views of the Jews, the apostle first refers to the example of Abraham, in whom the Jews gloried as their most renowned forefather. However exalted in various respects, he had nothing to boast in the presence of God, being saved by grace, through faith, even as others. Without noticing the years which passed before his call, and the failures at times in his obedience, and even in his faith, it was expressly stated in Scripture that he believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness, Ge 15:6. From this example it is observed, that if any man could work the full measure required by the law, the reward must be reckoned as a debt, which evidently was not the case even of Abraham, seeing faith was reckoned to him for righteousness. When believers are justified by faith, their faith being counted for righteousness, their faith does not justify them as a part, small or great, of their righteousness; but as the appointed means of uniting them to Him who has chosen as the name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our Righteousness. Pardoned people are the only blessed people. It clearly appears from the Scripture, that Abraham was justified several years before his circumcision. It is, therefore, plain that this rite was not necessary in order to justification. It was a sign of the original corruption of human nature. And it was such a sign as was also an outward seal, appointed not only to confirm God's promises to him and to his seed, and their obligation to be the Lord's, but likewise to assure him of his being already a real partaker of the righteousness of faith. Thus Abraham was the spiritual forefather of all believers, who walked after the example of his obedient faith. The seal of the Holy Spirit in our sanctification, making us new creatures, is the inward evidence of the righteousness of faith.
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