In fulfillment of my promise to Stephen Smith, here are some thoughts on Romans 4 (with some thoughts on 1 Corinthians 10 thrown in as a bonus). 1. Verse 1 governs the whole chapter: what was true of Abraham? Obviously, Abraham's case has a great deal to do with justification and the signs of the covenant today. If there was zero continuity between Abraham and us today, then Paul would just be wasting his breath. Paul is, more deeply, asking this question: "How can Gentiles now be within the family of Abraham?" The answer is that they are within the family of Abraham by virtue of being justified by faith. Verses 1-8 detail the justification by faith apart from any works whatsoever. 2. The redemptive-historical point Paul draws from the fact that Abraham received justification while still uncircumcised is that Abraham can thus be the father of Gentiles who believe (see especially verse 11). Obviously, circumcision is not necessary (anymore) in order to be a child of Abraham. Galatians 3 confirms this point as well. Baptists would not disagree with this point. 3. However, Paul's discussion of circumcision does not stop there. Verse 12 indicates that circumcision happened so that Abraham could also be the father of the circumcised, as long as the circumcised are not "circumcised in name only," but also have the faith to which that circumcision points. 4. The key point here for the Paedo-baptist position is what follows from the passage in verse 11: "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith which he had while still uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all those who believe while being uncircumcised, so that righteousness would be imputed to them also." Circumcision is a seal of the righteousness of faith. That is exactly what baptism is also. And yet, if circumcision was a seal of the righteousness of faith, then why was it given to infants who might or might not have that faith? Here, Calvin's argument holds the most weight: whatever can be argued against baptizing infants can also be argued against circumcising infants in the OT. The answer to the question is that the order does not matter. For Abraham, he received the righteousness first, then the seal. For his son Isaac, the order is reversed. Verse 12 hints at this when it implies that the circumcision comes first for most true Jews, but then when they walk in the footsteps of Abraham, they are his children. The true child of Abraham has the sign and the thing signified. But it does not matter in this context what the order is. The order of verse 11 and 12 suggests that the order of faith and the sign does not matter. If that is true for Abraham and his immediate children, then it is also true for his distant children. The entire paradigm of what Paul is talking about is applied to us in verses 16, "who is the father of us all", verse 17 "father of many nations," and most especially in verses 23-4, "were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also." Put it this way: if the Baptist once admits that circumcision is actually a seal of justification by faith, then he has given the barn away, since Paul has no problem implying that children can receive the sign before they have the thing signified. If the situation of children had changed, and they were no longer to receive the sign and seal of justification, Paul picked a most unclear way of saying it. He doesn't even mention it, in the very place where he would need to be most clear about it! This part of my argument is an argument from silence, of course. But the strongest argument of Baptists is an argument from silence: the NT nowhere commands infants to be baptized. 5. Romans 4, when combined with 1 Corinthians 10 (which is actually the very strongest argument for paedo-baptism, in my opinion), makes the case very strong indeed. Consider that 1 Corinthians 10 posits that baptism, at least in typological form, existed in the OT (verse 2), contrary to almost all Baptist formulations, and that infants were most certainly baptized into Moses, a very clear instance of "baptizo" being used of infants in the NT, even if it is typological. No matter what age they were at the time, ALL the fathers were baptized into Moses (verse 2). Paul explicitly makes the typological case that everything he says applies to us (verse 6 uses the idea and the word "tupos"), and again, nowhere does he make a caveat that what he says doesn't apply to children, since they can't make a profession of faith, and should therefore not receive the sign. 1 Corinthians 10 would certainly have been the place to put this caveat in, and yet nowhere do we find it. What's more, Paul goes on to talk about apostasy in the context of everyone receiving the sign of baptism! This assumes the visible/invisible church distinction if any sense whatsoever is to be made of the passage. It implies that those who receive the sign can fall away if they don't also have the thing signified. Therefore, the order of sign and thing signified is not important. He is saying, "If you have the sign, then make sure you get the thing signified!"