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Galatians 3:6-9

Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 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. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. [Gal 3:6-9]

In the first part of this chapter, we answered questions that could be summed up in this:  What has the law ever done for me?  The law has always been a ministration of death:

…for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written [and] engraven in stones… [2Co 3:6-7]

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin [was] dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which [was ordained] to life, I found [to be] unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew [me]. Wherefore the law [is] holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. [Rom 7:7-12 ]

The flesh is incapable of pleasing God by law (Rom 8:8).  In fact the holiness of the law has the opposite effect:

Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. … For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. [Rom 7:13, 18]

But now we see how Abraham was declared righteous…Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.  This is what Moses states in Genesis regarding Abraham’s expression of faith:

And He {the LORD} brought him {Abram} forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and He said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness. [Gen 15:5-6]

Now here in Galatians, Paul refers to Abraham, because that is how he was known.  But in Genesis, this was to Abram, not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

 for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. [Rom 4:9-10]

This was over thirteen years before circumcision became the seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised. (Rom 4:11)  It may have been quite a few years before that.  Now circumcision was added, and required, to be in the covenant relationship with God:

He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken My covenant. [Gen 17:13-14]

And the law was also added “that the offense might abound” (Rom 5:20), but when we go back to how Abraham was counted righteous, it was by faith.  It was by faith in the revealed Word of God.  The legalists could not let it be only faith, and wanted to be sure that the Galatian believers (and believers to this day) would have to “do something” to be saved.  Or maybe it is not salvation and justification that requires that we do something, for they believe:

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [Rom 4:5]

but it is sanctification that requires law added (do something).  Sanctification is also by faith.  Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? [Gal 3:3]  The law is not any more a part of our sanctification than it is our salvation or justification.  The Lord has not allowed the arm of the flesh to play any part in our sanctification so

That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.[1Co 1:29-31]

…ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. [1Co 6:11]

Our “saintification” is found in Christ, just as is our justification.  Law-keeping has nothing to do with it.  The legalists wanted to tell them that “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved,” [Act 15:1]  and “That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command [them] to keep the law of Moses.” [Act 15:5] Here Paul reminds us that it is they which are of faith are the “υἱός” (huios-“sons with full privilege”) of Abraham.  Remember that it is important for us to recognize that Abraham was counted righteous before circumcision became the sign of the covenant, because unto Paul was committed the gospel of the uncircumcision.  Contrast this with Peter and the gospel of the circumcision: Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. [Act 3:25]  Peter is talking to Jews, the natural seed.  These were not of faith, in fact, Peter leveled the accusation right at them ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.[Act 3:14-15]  This is why he tells them to Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. [Act 3:19]

Paul’s word to the gentiles, and the Galatians in particular, is that the scripture foresaw that God would justify the heathen (gentiles) through faith.  It was not by entering in to the covenant by circumcision.  God justifies the ungodly when they place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31, Rom 3:22,26, Rom 4:5), that He DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES, AND THAT HE WAS BURIED, AND THAT HE ROSE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES. (1 Cor 15:3-4)  The natural seed (the Jews) come to God the same way, for as Peter, the apostle of the circumcision states “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we {Jews} shall be saved, even as they {gentiles}”. [Act 15:11]

When God gave the gospel (good news) to Abraham (still Abram) that “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” [Gen 12:3], He spoke foreseeing the gentiles who believe blessed with “faithful Abraham”.

So we see here that it is not by circumcision or law-keeping that we become “sons of Abraham”, but it is by faith in what God has said.  We become “sons of Abraham” because we are just like our father, because he, and we, are justified through faith. (Rom 3:30)  It should also never be forgotten that we are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. [Rom 3:24]

Previous Study:  Galatians 3:1-5

Next Study:  Galatians 3:10-14

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