New Defender's Study Bible Notes
3:8 scripture. God’s original promise to Abraham, quoted here from Genesis 12:3, required the coming of Christ into the world to redeem the world for its fulfillment. Since the promise was with reference to “all nations,” and due to the fact that this was long before Israel became a nation, Abraham surely understood the promise to be of universal scope. Abraham thus believed this very early form of the gospel and was justified by faith many years before God gave him the sign of circumcision as a token of the covenant (Genesis 17:9-14).
3:8 justify the heathen. “Heathen” is the same as “nations” and “Gentiles.” God’s Word, as given to Abraham, therefore indicated that all nations would be justified by faith (at this time, there was as yet no distinction between Jews and Gentiles). This was a unique revelation in a day when all the world’s nations had already drifted away from monotheism and creationism and were relying on “works” to achieve whatever they may have understood by “salvation” or “justification.”