While Abraham, Moses and Israel enjoyed ever more specific and progressive covenants with God, the rest of the world remained under the Covenant of Works given to Adam. Now, Gentiles who are saved by the New Covenant trace their covenantal roots not to Moses but directly to Abraham.
Rom. 4:8-12 (ESV)
…blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.’ Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
All that took place, covenantally, between Abraham’s believing and Christ’s inauguration of the New Covenant happened apart and distinct from the covenantal roots of Gentile believers. Abraham was the father of what would be two covenantal streams: those who are circumcised and walk in the footsteps of his faith; and those who would eventually believe without being circumcised. Abraham’s circumcision was the point where those two future covenantal streams were separated. Continue reading