Friday, January 31, 2014

Galatians 3:4-9 It's by faith!

Paul was flabbergasted that the Galatians, who had come to Christ through simple faith, had so easily been convinced by Judaizers, that faith wasn’t enough. In order to come to a truly deeper spiritual level, to get closer to God, they would need to observe certain rituals and religious regulations, including circumcision. Exasperated, Paul reminds them that faith has always been the basis of a relationship with God.

Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? 

I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. 

In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. 

What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith. (Galatians 3:4-9 NLT)

Paul is declaring that righteousness has always come by faith, even as Abraham’s faith, not his works, was what made him righteous before God. We are children of Abraham because of our faith, not because of circumcision or baptism or any other ritual, or because of our good works.

Now, is Paul saying we should not be doing works for God? Of course not! Our works show the world that we love God, and so they glorify God. Because we have received so generously from God, we naturally want to give back to Him. He is worthy of our devotion and therefore, we want to serve Him. It’s a response based on love, not out of a need to prove our own worth.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)

Whether I’m leading a small group at church, grading students’ papers at home, attending a meeting at the district office, teaching a lesson on greatest common factor, or doing a load of laundry, it is all for Him, and my goal is that it is all done with a heart that glorifies Him. But none of it saves me. Only faith in Christ did that. I love what Jon Courson says:

 “. . . our walk with the Lord is not based upon works of great faith, but simply faith in a great God.” (Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: New Testament, P. 1186)

And better yet, what Jesus responded to a crowd seeking clarification on this subject:

Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”  Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:28-29)


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