What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh?  For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. (ESV)
Did you ever sing that song, "Father Abraham," as a child? I certainly did! I wonder if the Jews of the Apostle Paul's day had a similar song. The Jews looked to Abraham as the founder of their nation. From a genetic standpoint they would be correct. Paul speaks here of Abraham, calling him "our forefather." This lets you know that he is talking to Jews. Let's listen in.
What was gained by Abraham? Abraham was a man who heard from God. That is impressive. God reached out and talked to Abraham. In fact, God gave very bold directions to Abraham. He told him to get up from the land he was living and move his family and all his belongings and go to a land that God would show him. Abraham obeyed.
God made a promise to Abraham that he would be the father of many nations even though he did not even have a son. Abraham believed that God's word was true. . God gave him a son, Isaac. In dramatic fashion God tested Abraham's loyalty and asked him to sacrifice his son to God. Abraham was willing. God provided a lamb to be the sacrifice instead.
If Abraham's works were the basis of his justification before God (as most of the Jews would have believed) he would have much to boast about. We listed just a few of the amazing aspects of the faith of Abraham. Abraham had no right to boast. Faith is of God. It is a gift of God. Abraham's faith was no different.
Do you sometimes look at things that you have done that demonstrate faith and take pride in them. That is a dangerous game. We have nothing to boast about before God. Neither did Abraham.