World English Bible translation
3:6Even as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness." 3:7 Know therefore that those who are of faith, the same are children of Abraham. 3:8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you all the nations will be blessed." 3:9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham. 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse. For it is written, "Cursed is everyone who doesn't continue in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them." 3:11 Now that no man is justified by the law before God is evident, for, "The righteous will live by faith." 3:12 The law is not of faith, but, "The man who does them will live by them."
In yesterday's lesson Paul began the discussion of whether the Galatians had received the Spirit of God because they had faith or whether they had been saved because they obeyed the works of the law. He asked them who had bewitched them that they were already turning away from the gospel that he had brought to them. When Paul came to them, he brought them the message of Christ crucified. He taught them that the cross of Christ had set them free from sin and death. And the cross had set them free from the obligations to the law.
Now, in order to reinforce his point, he reminds them of Abraham. Abraham is a recurring figure in the New Testament and in the letters of Paul. Abraham was considered to be the father of the Jewish people and also the father of the Arab culture. Paul loved to use Abraham as an example because Genesis clearly teaches that Abraham was chosen and precious to God because of his faith. Abraham was known as a man of great faith.
"Abraham 'believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.'" Abraham's faith saved him and Paul wanted the Galatians to know that their faith is what had brought them to the eyes of God. In fact, those that have the same kind of faith as Abraham are said to be the children of Abraham.
Now this was especially important in the defense of the gospel against the Judaizers. They had been teaching the Galatians that in order to be accepted by God completely, a Gentile must become a Jew. A Gentile, in their teaching, must take on the full obligation of the Law of Moses in order to be righteous in God's eyes. But what Paul was teaching them was that Abraham was fully accepted by God because of his faith. The Law of Moses had not even been given at that point in history. And Paul tells these Galatians they are heirs to the promises that God made to Abraham, the promise that all nations would be blessed through the children of Abraham.
Abraham was childless. God promised Abraham that if he would believe, God would make him the father of many nations. God led him out on a clear night and told Abraham that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky. Abraham lived by faith and was blessed. We who now live by faith are blessed with the same promises that God gave to Abraham.
But, Paul tells them, those that accept the obligations of the law do not live under a blessing, but under a curse. "Cursed is everyone who doesn't continue in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them." No man can fulfill all of the law because the law was a reflection of the righteousness and holiness of God. As sinful beings, no man can keep the law fully. So men who are under the obligation of the law live under the curse of the law because no one can "continue in all things that are written."
But the righteous do not live under such a curse. "The righteous will live by faith." The promises and the obligations for those that are under law and those that are under faith are different. The law is not of faith. Now if righteousness comes by faith, then we who were never under the law by nature (that is the Gentiles) should not accept the obligation of the law. We should accept the free gift of the righteousness of God that comes by faith in Jesus Christ.
Do you live under the curse of the law or under the blessing that comes through faith? Do you know someone who lives under the curse of the law? Do you understand the difference that Paul was trying to make clear?
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