How is He pleased? What and how much am I supposed to bring into His presence?
What am I guaranteed because of what I believe? What is safe?
God has given us a glimpse at His Holy Perfections in the table of contents of righteousness, the Ten Commandments. The Apostle Paul demonstrates in lawyer-like fashion, that when man stands before God, man has no right to boast of any righteousness, goodness—there is no place for religious pride. God has revealed His righteousness (3:21) and made payment for sin on man’s behalf to demonstrate His righteousness (3:25). That payment received by faith allows God to demonstrate His righteousness by passing over the sins previously committed (3:25-26). God cannot pronounce the wicked as clean without this demonstration of His righteousness. We must believe God or we are lost.
Romans 4 focuses particularly on Abraham and the fact that he was justified before he was circumcised. The Romans could have cared less about circumcision, except for being a rite of passage to adulthood, as practiced by cultures worldwide. What does this mean for them, especially considering the Hebrew background? Simply those acts of religion do not matter to God. Believing God is the key. Circumcision is not a ritual that earns reward but becomes a badge, a symbol in the heart of those who believe what God has done for them. The acts of religion do not purchase favor, but serve as reminders of what we believe and provide discipleship opportunity for new believers.
Only God can do that for those who will come to Him. Christ died because He loves.