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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Faith Alone: A Galatians 3:1-9 Devotional


Galatians 3:1-9
1 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith (Rom. 10:17)? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 6 Even so Abraham “believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6). 7 Therefore, be sure it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you” (Gen 12:3). 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. [NASB]


Paul confronted the teachings the Galatians heard after he taught them earlier that faith in Jesus Christ brings salvation, not the works of the Law of God. In chapter two, we read that teachers came to the churches of Galatia saying the Gentile Christians had to become Jewish to be Christians. As such, they said the Jews had to be circumcised. The Galatian Christians battled with the teachings of these Judaizers wondering if they were correct. Some people believed them and some did not.

In this passage, Paul recognized and showed the Galatian Christians the Judaizers charmed or bewitched them to follow a new teaching that he had not taught them. He called them foolish and said they misunderstood the Gospel. The proof of the Gospel came from the eyewitnesses of the crucifixion, Paul said. How could the Galatians deny such strong testimony and proof of the Sonship of Jesus Christ and His manifestation by the Holy Spirit in their lives? Paul asked them if they received the Spirit and took to themselves as truth through the works of the Law or through faith.

Paul made this a reconciling point. If they received the Holy Spirit by faith in Jesus Christ, then the law that required circumcision of the flesh was unnecessary. When a person is redeemed and saved by Jesus Christ through faith, he or she does not have to do anything to receive the Holy Spirit or be a child of God. Because of this, they become children of God just as Abraham, by his belief in God, became a child of God.

God reckoned Abraham righteous because of his belief in Him. He said the people who have faith in Him are made righteous by their faith. God called the believers through faith sons of Abraham and, thus, children of God. You can read this for yourself in Genesis 15:6. Abraham’s belief came before the Law of God. He did not believe in God because of His laws; therefore, his righteousness did not come by works required by the law, but by faith. So any person who is not under the Law – Gentiles – and believed in Jesus Christ as his Savior is made and considered righteous before God.

With that understanding, the Law of God does not provide righteousness, but a way to be in relationship with God. Obeying the laws of God in the Old Testament cannot save a person from God’s righteous judgment of his or her sins. Actions and works cannot give a person salvation from their just death penalty due because of his or her sin. Only faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who came to die in our place for our sins can make us righteous. No works are necessary or sufficient. Faith alone in Jesus Christ alone makes us clean and guiltless from our wrong doings and wrong speaking.

The question comes now: Do you believe in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and the Savior from your sins? Nothing you do can earn your admittance into God’s kingdom. Faith alone in Jesus Christ alone makes a person righteous and gives him or her eternal life with God forever.

Will you believe?