(The next part, 4:1-12, mainly talks to Jewish people, so we have not translated it yet.)
Abraham believed God
13 Remember that story about Abraham, that old man that lived a long time ago. God promised him that one day the people born into his family would be great people everywhere in the world. And Abraham believed that word that God promised him. Abraham didn’t have the law at that time. He just believed God, and then God said that Abraham was good, and God promised to look after his family.* 14 So don’t think that God only promises good things to people that follow the law of Moses. Nobody can follow that law properly, so if God only promised good things to people that follow the law, nobody would get those good things. And if God only promised good things to people that follow the law, it wouldn’t matter if people trust God or not. But really, God is not like that. He promises good things to people that trust him.*
15 People try to follow that law, but they cant do it, and whenever they break that law, God gets angry with them and punishes them. So all the law does is give us trouble. (The only way people will not break the law is if there is no law to break.)
16 So it is important that we trust God, just like Abraham trusted God. It doesn’t matter if we are Jewish or not Jewish. If we believe God, like Abraham did, we belong to his family, like he is our grand-father.* 17 God promised that a long time ago, and it is in his book. God told Abraham, “I will make you the father of lots of nations.” Abraham believed that God can do that. You know, God can do anything. He can even make dead people alive again, and he can make new things out of nothing.*
18 Everyone reckoned that Abraham was too old to have any kids, but he believed that God was going to make him the father of lots of nations. God promised Abraham that later on lots of people were going to be born into his family and they were going to be a real big mob.* 19 Abraham kept on believing God, and he waited for God to do that, just like he promised. Abraham knew that his body was old. It was so old it was nearly dead. He was about 100 years old. And Sarah, his wife, she was also too old to have a baby. But Abraham kept on believing anyway.* 20 He didn’t start thinking, “Maybe God will not keep his promise after all.” No, he kept on believing, and that made him strong, so that he could tell everyone that God is good. 21 He just thought, “I know that God will do whatever he promised.”
22 So God said to Abraham, “Now I’m saying you are properly good, like you never did anything wrong”*
23 That’s in God’s book. God told his men to write it there, but they didn’t write it just for Abraham. 24 They wrote it for us too, so we can be sure about this. If we really trust God, he will also tell us, “You are properly good.” You know, our leader Jesus died, but after that God made him alive again. 25 It was us who did bad things, but God let people kill Jesus instead of us. He took the payback for those bad things we did. Then God made him alive again, so now God tells us, “You are all right.”*
* 4:13 Genesis 17:4-6; 22:17-18; Galatians 3:29 * 4:14 Galatians 3:18 * 4:16 Galatians 3:7 * 4:17 Genesis 17:5 * 4:18 Genesis 15:5 * 4:19 Genesis 17:17 * 4:22 Genesis 15:6 * 4:25 Isaiah 53:4-5