Friday, August 19, 2011

Galatians 3:8-14

8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached to gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED IN YOU.”
9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.”
11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.”
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us – for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE” –
14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

We discussed Paul’s reference to Abraham in the previous post, so if you missed it, be sure to go back and read it so you can get the set-up for this passage.  The first thing I noticed about these verses is that Paul used Scripture (all the stuff in capital letters) to make his case.  We’ve touched on that before, but I want to mention it again because it is so important – the authority of God’s Word is amazingly powerful; while there are certainly times and places for logical arguments (such as when witnessing to atheists) and for personal testimonies, we must never forget that, hey, if God, the Maker of the entire universe, said it, it’s good stuff!

Next, I want to address verse eight.  God gave this promise to Abraham in Genesis 18:18, 22:18, and 26:4; the latter two specifically state that through Abraham’s seed the whole world would be blessed.  The fulfillment of this promise is Christ – Jesus (Abraham’s descendent) blessed the whole world with the gift of salvation (see Galatians 3:16).  As we see from the rest of the Scriptures Paul provides in this passage, we are “blessed” when we live under the freedom and grace of God’s salvation, but we are “cursed” when we are stuck under the requirements of the Law – when we must pay with blood for our sin.  Christ took this curse on our behalf when he hung on the cross (verse 13). 

Another contrast I see in this passage is living by faith (verse 11) versus living by the Law (verse 12).  When we are faced with moral choices, we should choose the right option not because we think, “This is something to check off on my ‘good person’ to-do list,” but, “This is what God wants me to do…He is in charge because He is my Lord and Savior.  I trust Him because He loves me enough to die for me.”  I also love the wording of the sentence “The righteous man shall live by faith”…because faith leads to grace, which is a truly life-giving force!  If we were under the Law, we would be the walking dead, but because God offers us forgiveness if we only have faith in Him, we are alive in every meaning of the word.

A couple of questions for today:
1-      How can we better walk by faith rather than by the Law?
2-      Jesus lightened our loads by taking away the curse due to us (verses 13-14).  How can we lighten the loads of others?

So far, we’ve talked about the pitfalls of the Law.  But as we move into verses 15-23 in our Monday post, we’ll look at why the Law is still very important to us as Christians – so long as we don’t overstate its importance.  Be sure to come back tomorrow to share prayer requests.

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