“Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works”  

         “Even as also David”
         Literally:  “Even as David”–It is fitting that David is introduced after Abraham, because he also received and delivered down the promise.

         Paul has shown that Abraham's justification was through faith, and not through works.  He cites David as describing justification which is not due to our own righteousness, but to God's mercy. Such names as that of Abraham, the father of their race, and David, the great king, would be authoritative with the Jews.
         The quotation is from Psa. 32:1-2 and is especially to the point Paul is making; being not only an inspired statement of truth, but made by one who had been guilty of deep “ungodliness,” and had himself experienced justification under that condition.  David himself had been a great sinner, and had been forgiven. David, in Psalm 32:1, 2, gives us also the true notion of this way of justification, i.e. by faith, without the merit of works.

          ALSO:  (Grk.–kai)–Literally:  “as well as.”

“describeth the blessedness”
Literally:  “Says of the blessedness.”–Speaks of the happiness; or the desirable state or condition. David, in Psalm 32:1-2, gives us also the true notion of this way of
justification,   by faith, without the merit of works.

            DESCRIBETH:  (Grk.–legei)–Literally:  “says, asserts, maintains, declares, speaks of.”

BLESSEDNESS:  (Grk.– makarismos)-From the Greek verb, makarizô, to pronounce blessed  (Luke 1:48), “congratulation.”.  Used in N.T. only here, and verse 9; Acts  4:15.

         Imputeth righteousness; accepted and treated as righteous by God, though he is a sinner. Saints under the O.T. were saved in the same way as saints under the New: that is, not on account of their own works, but on account of Christ, and through faith in Him.
Makarismos does not mean “blessedness” of itself,  but the declaration of blessedness, i.e., the congratulation. So Plato wrote: "The man of understanding will not suffer himself to be dazzled by the congratulation  (Makarismos)  of the multitude” (Republic, ix., 591).

“unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works”
Literally:  “Of whom God reckons righteousness apart from works.”  David lived under the Law, but Abraham did not, because the Law had not been given during his lifetime. 

The Mosaic system did not come along until some 600 years after Abraham.  However, although David lived under the Law, he could never be saved under the Law, or by the Law.  Therefore, David described the blessedness that God reckons righteousness without works, because he had no works for righteousness.  All the works that he had were evil.  Therefore, righteousness must come on an entirely different principle.

            IMPUTETH: (Grk.–logizetai)–This should have been translated as “reckoned.  Impute in the KJV suggests the idea of a different word being used.

         “without works”
         Literally:  “apart from works”–That is, without regard to any former good works supposed to have been done by him.

“Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered”

         “Blessed are they”
         Literally:  “Blessed {are those}”–Happy are they; they are highly favored.

“whose iniquities are forgiven”
Literally:  “Whose lawlessness were forgotten.”–That is, the man is truly happy whose iniquities, whose transgressions of the law, are forgiven; for by these he was exposed to the most grievous punishment

            INIQUITIES:  (Grk.–anomiai)–Literally:  “lawlessness, outside the Jewish law.”  Violations of law.

  FORGIVEN:  (Grk.– aphethêsan)–Literally:  “have been forgiven;” past tense with continuing benefit; never to be repeated.

         Forgiveness from God is more than mere remitting of penalty.  Even a hard-hearted judge may remit a man’s fine if it were paid by someone else, but forgiveness involves the heart of the forgiver.  God’s forgiveness is the going forth of God’s infinite tenderness toward the object of His mercy.  It is God holding the sinner, as the returning prodigal was folded, to His bosom.  Such an one is blessed indeed!
         On which God will no more look, and which He will no more remember. That is, the man is truly happy whose iniquities–lawless deeds, his innumerable deviations from the strict rule of truth and righteousness, are not merely covered but entirely removed out of sight, and thrown into oblivion; i.e., counted righteous because his sins are
blotted out.

         “whose sins are covered”
          Literally:  “Of whom the sins were covered.”–That was what the pre-Calvary sacrifices did—“covered” the sins for a year. 

ARE COVERED:   (epekaluphthêsan)– “To cover over” as a shroud.  Only here in the N.T.          

         Covered is the English rendering of the O.T. word (Hebrew: kaphar)  This is the true meaning of “atonement.”    This word (kaphar) is the very same word used in Gen. 6:14 and there translated as “pitch.”  For their sacrifices could never “take away” sins, but only “cover” from sight (see Heb. 10-11:3).  There was a type of Christ’s coming work, but the sins were yet there before God until Christ took them away on the cross. 

         David said “whose sins are covered”; or hidden from the view; that is, covered by the blood  of the sacrifice. In David’s day the  blood  of the sacrifice animal merely covered the sin of the one presenting the sacrifice.; thereby hiding them from God.  It was only the blood  Christ that would wash away (permanently remove) the sins.
         If then, one like David, could pronounce blessed the man whose sins were “covered,” (out of God’s sight in His mercy)—though not yet removed—much more should we rejoice to know that Christ has put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb. 9:26).  Our sins are entirely removed out of sight, and thrown into oblivion.  

“Blessed is the man to whom the LORD will not impute sin.”

“Blessed is the man”Literally:  “Blessed {the} man.”–That man is truly happy to whose charge God does not reckon sin; that is, they alone are happy who are redeemed from the curse of the Law and the consequence of their ungodly life, by having their sins freely forgiven, through the mercy of God.

“the LORD will not impute sin”
Literally: “to whom {the} Lord will in no way charge sin.”– Meaning,  On whom the Lord will not charge his sins; or who shall not be reckoned or regarded as   guilty.

         This is another form of the thought of verse 7. One whose sins have been forgiven will not find them reckoned, or accounted, to him at judgment. We obtain this blessedness by a faith in Christ which leads us to accept the gospel.
         This shows clearly what Paul meant by imputing faith without works. It is to pardon sin, and to treat with favor; not to reckon or charge a man's sin to him; but to treat him, though personally undeserving and ungodly (4:5) as though the sin had not been committed. The word “impute” here is used in its natural and appropriate sense, as denoting to charge on man that which properly belongs to him.


Paul shows that it not the Gentile who must come to the Jew’s circumcision for salvation; rather, on the contrary, it is the Jew who must come to a Gentile faith such as Abraham had long before he was circumcised.

“Cometh this blessing then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also?  For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness”

         Paul has now prepared the way for an examination of the inquiry whether this came in consequence of obedience to the law; or whether it was without obedience to the law.  Having shown that Abraham was Justified by Faith, in accordance with the doctrine which he was defending, the only remaining inquiry was, whether it was after he was circumcised or before; that is, as a result of his circumcision or not.
         If he was justified by faith before he was circumcised, then here was an instance of justification and acceptance without conformity to the Jewish law; and if the father of the Jewish nation was so justified, and reckoned as a friend of God without being circumcised, then so also his descendants ought to be.

“Cometh this blessing”
Literally: {Is}this blessedness.”This happy state, or condition, meaning, this state of being justified by God, and of being regarded as His friends. This is the sum of all     blessedness; the only state that can be truly pronounced happy.  The blessedness of having sin forgiven, and of being accepted of God, and rewarded as righteous.       

         “upon the circumcision only”
         Literally:  “Then on the circumcision”–The next question is, “Who shall enjoy this blessing of forgiveness?”  

         Shall it be only Jews as they pretended?   If this pardon, granted in this way, be essential to happiness (and David says it is so), then is it the privilege of the Jews exclusively?  There are some facts that must here be emphasized:  circumcision was an outward sign or symbol, both to Abraham and to the world.  It displayed that Abraham was separated from the world unto God; just as baptism it today an outward sign that we are Christ’s in faith and identification.  But how deadly is the delusion that baptism in itself amounts to anything before God.
         After the same manner of circumcision with the Jews, the vast majority of those calling themselves Christians place reliance upon baptism (or call it a “sacrament.”), saying that “Christ told us to repent and be baptized, didn’t He?  He also told us to take the Lord’s Supper.”  If you are of like thought, and still regard “baptism,” or the “Lord’s Supper,” or the “Mass,” or “Christening,” or “Confirmation,” as having anything whatsoever to do with God declaring you righteous, then you simply do not understand what being declared righteous is all about. 
         Neither baptism nor the Lord’s Supper (upon which, in distorted thinking so many have rested), as “sacraments” that commends them to God, or has any power to give anyone any standing whatever before a righteous, holy God.  That power belongs ONLY to the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“or upon the uncircumcision also”
Literally: “Or also on the uncircumcision?”–Or upon the Gentiles who believed, as Paul maintained. as it is by the mere mercy of God, through faith, the circumcision cannot even claim it.

But if God offers it to the circumcision, not because they have been obedient, for they also have sinned, but because of His mercy, then of course the same blessedness may be offered to the Gentiles who believe in the Lord Jesus

         “that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness”–Abraham's faith was counted for righteousness;
1.       He had no merit,
2.       He was an idolater; but…
3.       He believed in God,
         And his faith was reckoned to him in reference to his justification;
4.      He brought faith when he could not bring his works;
         And God accepted his faith in the place of obedience; and this became the instrumental cause of his justification.

This is fully consistent with our being justified, that is, pardoned and accepted by God upon our believing, for the sake of what Christ hath done and suffered.  For though this, and this alone, is the cause of our acceptance with God, yet faith may

“How was it then reckoned?  When he was in circumcision?  Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.”

         “How was it then reckoned?”
         Literally:  “How then was it reckoned?”–In what circumstances was Abraham when this blessing was bestowed upon him? When he was circumcised, or before?

To settle the question, whether this blessedness applies to Gentiles as well as Jews, the inquiry is made whether Abraham was a Jews, or Gentiles when it was said of him, “His faith was counted for righteousness” (v. 5). He was not circumcised for at least fourteen years after this statement was made of him (compare Gen. 15:6 with Gen. 17:25). He was then justified, without circumcision, while yet a Gentile. 

         “When he was in circumcision…but in uncircumcision?”
         Literally:  “Being in circumcision, or in uncircumcision?”–Before or after he was circumcised?

         This was the very point of the inquiry. For if he was justified by faith after he was circumcised, the Jews might pretend that it was in virtue of his circumcision; that even his faith was acceptable, because he was circumcised. But if it was before he was circumcised, this plea could not be set up; and the argument of Paul was confirmed by the case of Abraham, the great father and model of the Jewish people, that circumcision and the deeds of the Law did not conduce to justification; and that as Abraham was justified without those works, so might others be; and the heathen, therefore, might be admitted to similar privileges.
         In uncircumcision; before he was circumcised. “To him being in a state of circumcision or in a state of uncircumcision?” A pertinent point that the average Jew had not noticed.  Faith was reckoned to Abraham for justification, as we read Gen. 15:6, but circumcision was not instituted till about fourteen or fifteen years after, Gen. 17:1.  Faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness or justification at least one year before Ishmael was born (compare Gen. 15, and 16).  At Ishmael's birth he was eighty-six years of age (Gen. 16:16); and, at the institution of circumcision, Ishmael was thirteen, and Abraham ninety-nine years old.