Sermons

Summary: Justification by Faith Alone as seen through the 1) Positive OT proof (Ga. 3:6-9) 2) Negative OT proof (Gal. 3:10-12) & 3) Positive Hope in Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:13-14)

The three great monotheistic religions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—all trace their start to God’s promise of blessing to Abraham. More than half the world’s population, over three billion people, have a vested interest in this issue. God tells us that anyone can share in the blessing he’s given to Abraham. Regardless of our race or class or gender, irrespective of our ethnicity or age or nationality, no matter our personal history or credit score or dumb decisions of the past, we can each become the beneficiary of Abraham’s blessing, though faith in the Lord Jesus Christ..(Wilson, T. (2013). Galatians: Gospel-Rooted Living. (R. K. Hughes, Ed.) (p. 99). Wheaton, IL: Crossway.)

After having shown the Galatian believers from their own experience that they were justified by faith and not by works of the law (Gal. 3:1–5), Paul now defends that doctrine from Scripture. His opponents, the Judaizers no doubt quoted many passages from the Old Testament in support of their legalistic claims. Because their interpretations of those passages were based on long-accepted and revered rabbinical tradition, many believing Jews in Galatia and elsewhere found the claims persuasive.

In Chapters 3–4 of Galatians, Paul explains the relationship between law and grace. Three words that are repeated frequently are faith (fourteen times), law (nineteen times) and promise (eleven times). Paul presents six arguments, three in each chapter, seeking to prove that salvation is by grace, through faith, apart from the works of the Law (Wiersbe, W. W. (1997, c1992). Wiersbe's expository outlines on the New Testament (521). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.)

Galatians 3:6–14, Paul exposes misinterpretations of how to be right with God, showing that the Judaizers were heretical in their doctrine because they were mistaken in their understanding of Scripture. His first line of argument from the Old Testament is 1) Positive (Galatians 3:6–9), showing what true biblical faith does, and his 2) Second line of argument is Negative (Galatians 3:10–12), showing what works cannot do. He concludes with 3) Positive Hope in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:13–14)

People are declared righteous (Justified) by Faith in Christ as seen through:

1) Positive Proof from the Old Testament: (Galatians 3:6–9)

Galatians 3:6-9 [6]just as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"? [7]Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. [8]And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." [9]So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (ESV)

To understand the nature of the confusion and how people are made right with God through faith in Christ alone, we will focus on verse six and seven for the majority of our time this morning. Paul’s positive proof that the Old Testament teaches salvation by faith rather than works revolves around Abraham, father of the Hebrew people and supreme patriarch of Judaism. The Judaizers doubtlessly used Abraham as certain proof that circumcision was necessary to please God and become acceptable to Him. After first calling Abraham to leave his homeland of Ur of Chaldea, the Lord promised: “And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:2–3). Abraham and his descendants were later commanded to be circumcised as a sign of God’s covenant and a constant illustration of the need for spiritual cleansing from sin: “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised” (Gen. 17:10). (The cutting away of the foreskin on the male procreative organ signified the need to cut away sin from the heart-sin that was inherent, passed from one generation to the next; (Deut. 10:16; Jer. 4:4; Col. 2:11.) Putting those two accounts together, the Judaizers argued: “Isn’t it obvious that if the rest of the world, that is, Gentiles, are to share in the promised blessings to Abraham, they must first take on the sign that marks God’s people, the Jews? If all the nations of the earth will be blessed in Abraham, they will have to become like Abraham and be circumcised.”

Please turn to Genesis 15

“But that doesn’t follow,” Paul replied in effect. Quoting Genesis 15:6, he asked here in Galatians 3:6: “Don’t you know that just as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness? The patriarch Abraham, who is mentioned nineteen times in Paul’s letters, is the pivotal figure in all of Paul’s arguments from Scripture in Galatians (George, T. (2001, c1994). Vol. 30: Galatians (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (216). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

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