The other day in new member class at Trinity Lutheran (SELK), Hamburg, we were reading and discussing Romans 4 in a mix of three languages—Persian (Farsi), German, and English. The Iranian catechumens were grasping that God “counted it to Abraham as righteousness” and that he believed God’s promise (Romans 4:3; Genesis 15:1-6). In other words, Abraham was saved by faith—a seminal teaching in both Old and New Testament. Then out of the blue one of the men asked: “If it’s all by faith, what about Abraham’s…uh…” and he started doing weird things with his fingers. The other men started grinning. After a second, I realized that he was asking about God’s command for Abraham and all Israelite males to be circumcised (Gen 17). “Great question,” I replied, “and believe it or not, these two topics are connected. By marking all Israelite males in this way, God was giving His people a physical and daily reminder of His many covenants with them—most importantly His promise to one day send a Savior who would descend from Abraham’s own seed. Not to mention, this mark would physically distinguish them from the surrounding nations with whom they were not to mingle. But there is one drawback to this approach…” They all answered, “Only the males received the mark.” “Exactly,” I replied, “even though the females are included in the covenant because they are, of course, children of the males. But there is a New Testament counterpart to this that is superior because it includes everyone—men, women, children, and even babies. Can you figure out what it is?” They pondered. “It is called Holy Baptism and it is for males and females of all ages.” This clicked. “But whereas circumcision only guaranteed the promise of the Savior to come and is merely a cutting of the flesh, Baptism is a “circumcision without hands” (Col 2:11), actually *giving* the Savior Jesus to you—along with the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.” Then one of the catechumens put a bow on the whole discussion: “And this is all a gift. We receive it by faith alone.” Amen, brother.