Summary: Exposition of Galatians 3:26-29, Pauls summary statement about Justification by faith and the privileges of it
Text: Galatians 3:26-29, Title: In Other Words, Date/Place: NRBC, 3/11/07, PM
Opening illustration: “The summit of this pass, according to observations made by the State geological survey, is fourteen hundred and seventy-two feet above the sea. Pacheco Peak, on the south side of the pass, is two thousand eight hundred and forty-five feet high, sharp, and capped with trachyte. It forms an excellent landmark for the San Joaquin and San Jose valleys for a great distance; and I have frequently seen it from the summit of El Capitan and Sentinel Dome, Yosemite. Mt. Hamilton, north of the pass, and easily reached from the town of San Jose, is two thousand four hundred and forty-eight feet in height. San Carlos Peak, some distance to the south, is nearly five thousand feet high, and is about the highest point on the Monte Diablo range.
After we were fairly over the summit of the pass, and had reached an open hill-brow, a scene of peerless grandeur burst suddenly upon us. At our feet, basking in sungold, lay the Great Central Plain of California, bounded by the mountains on which we stood, and by the lofty, snow-capped Sierra Nevada; all in grandest simplicity, clear and bright as a new outspread map” – John Muir
A. Background to passage: Review the occasion for Galatians. If Paul’s arguments were viewed as a landscape from somewhere other than S. GA; this would be the highest mountain peak in his theological argument that stretches from the middle of chapter two through chapter four. This is Paul’s summary statement; his “I’ve said all this to say…” statement. He shows the believers, those “in Christ,” at Galatia and us the privileges granted us by God through Christ by faith. Even though he doesn’t end his argument here, he ties it up in a neat little package filled with deep meaning for the saints, and with well-rounded opposition to the Judaizers.
B. Main thought: In this text we will see three truths about who we are in Christ by faith
A. Full Sonship (v. 26)
1. Flowing from his argument that the law was a prison warden and a strict disciplinarian, Paul says that you are now sons of God. This term is only used in Galatians two other times, and both times it refers to Christ. This is amazing! Paul says that by faith in Christ, you become the family of God, the child of a loving Heavenly Father, a joint-heir to all that the Father owns with Jesus. Paul says, you are no longer under your tutor; you are free. In fact, not only free, but now a full heir. God has adopted you, and conferred upon you the status of a son with all the rights and privileges thereof. He notes that “all” of you are sons that are “in Christ.”
3. Illustration: A scrap book that once belonged to Britain’s Queen Victoria is now up for auction, and the current high bid is £53,400 (101,117.42 dollars). One of the bidders is hoping to prove royal heritage through a hair that belonged to Victoria contained in the memorabilia.
4. You cannot come into the family of God by being good enough, having the right genealogy, or practicing the right religion. You must come by faith in the Father’s provision in Christ. It is all about the relationship that as a lost individual you don’t have, but as a saint you do have. And it is a gift of grace, a pronouncement, an authority, and a covenant of promise never to be earned, maintained, or taken away. It is a great error to teach or say that God is the father of all men, for this is not true. He is the creator of all; all men have the image of God, but redemptively, He is only the Father to those who know the Son; those who are “in Christ.” You must be born into the family of God to have Him as your father. You must be born-again or God will not be your Father, but your judge. But once you are, you become heir to all things, blessed with all spiritual blessings, given access to all spiritual resources, secure eternally in the love of your new Father. Don’t go back to the prison with the tutor. I don’t get this in my heart, and I don’t think most of us do. So pray that God would speak to our spirit’s about the wonder and awe that really comes with being the king’s kid.
B. Full Union, Identification, & Adornment (v. 27)
1. Then Paul brings up baptism for the first and only time in the letter. And of course, he is not saying, “don’t be circumcised, be baptized.” In fact the baptism that he is referring to here is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which occurs upon belief. He says here that when one is baptized into union with Christ, he or she puts on Christ like a garment. And even though he is referring to the moment that you are saved, the language he uses is very much from the ceremonial water baptism rite, which symbolizes and pictures our coming to Christ. And it is very much in view here, because it demonstrates outwardly with water baptism what has already happened inwardly with Spirit baptism. He says, as sons, you are also in union, fully identified with, and adorned with Christ.