Our Part with GodJune 10, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Posted in Galatians | 2 Comments
Tags: children of God, commentary on Galatians, faith and works, Galatians 3, Jesus Christ, Justification, one in Christ, standing before God, Sunday School lessons on Galatians, the Gospel
Galatians Chapter 3 contains some of the strongest writing in the whole Bible. It has the logic and language of a brilliant lawyer who is arguing for his own life. It combines the truth about what happened to Jesus and the readers’ own experiences with Old Testament Scripture, and then combines the two together in a masterful closing argument.
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
The Greek word translated as “foolish” is the word for a barbaric fool, and it would be similar in our day to calling someone an illiterate blockhead. When Paul says “who has bewitched you?” he is asking them, “Who waved a shiny little trinket before your eyes, and led you over a cliff? Who led you into this ridiculous state by tricking you? The fact of Jesus’s crucifixion was placarded (“evidently set forth”) before your very eyes! Why do you think He had to die like that if there’s still something you can do to save yourself?”
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
As we read this today, we need to ask ourselves the same question. In your own experience, how did you receive the Holy Spirit? Did you receive Him by being sprinkled with water? By paying money? By joining an organization? By keeping rules? By jerking or twitching or rolling on the floor or barking like a dog? No! It was by the hearing of faith! You heard the truth, and you believed the truth, and you received the Holy Spirit! What makes you think you are going to become more spiritual, or more “complete” by working? Or by keeping rules? Or by following the traditions of men? Foolish! The Apostle tells them that they’ve been suffering for nothing, if that’s what they were suffering for!
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
The Gospel came from God; it came through the Jews; but it was intended for all men, or else God was lying.
Recap: The Galatians’ experience was that they were saved, and received the Spirit, through faith. The Scriptures – God Himself – said it was through faith. Therefore:
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
No one is righteous by birth, by nature, or by deed, but anyone can believe.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
The purpose of the Old Testament Law was to teach people that they were lost. The purpose of the whole Bible is to point people to Jesus Christ. Not so we can start working for Him. Rather, so He can start working in us.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Apart from Christ, we have no part with God. We are utterly alienated – not related by birth or adoption. But in Christ, we have a part with God – and not a distant, academic part – we are His children! We are servants, yes, but more than just servants. We are friends, yes, but more than just friends. Children. Beloved. Sons and Daughters of the Most High God.
Children serve their parents, and that is right, but when children disobey, they are still children by birth of those same parents.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Your nationality, social status, gender, or skin color do not matter a whit to God in the sense of your justification. If you are truly a Christian, you stand before God on the same level as Queen Esther, Billy Graham, and the Apostle Paul. God is a loving Father, and He has more than enough love for every one of His children.