Study Notes

Galatians 3:6-9


Paul has been writing to convince the Galatians that it is only by God's grace that we are saved. It is not by following rules, church regulations, or performing religious rituals that we have found favor with God, but simply by faith in Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sin. He said,

Gal. 2:21 "...if righteousness {comes} through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."

As we studied the first five verses of chapter three, we saw him make the point that God gave them the Holy Spirit and worked miracles among them when they simply heard with faith, not when they became religious.

But perhaps even after all this exhortation by Paul, they still believe the false teaching of the Judaizers, which says that a person must become a Jew before they can become a Christian. Perhaps they still believe that it is by following the works of the Law that a person is made righteous. To counteract that, Paul is going to use an illustration of Abraham, the first Jew, and examine how he was made righteous before God.

3:6 Abraham's Story

Paul calls their remembrance to Abraham, the father of the Jews. They were quite familiar with the story, but maybe some of us aren't. Let me recap it for you.

Abraham was a normal guy. He was nobody special, nothing to set him apart. But the Lord spoke to him and made him an incredible promise:

Gen. 12:1-3 "...Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you; 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."

God told Abraham to leave dad's house and move to the land of Canaan. Unfortunately, he moved to Kaw-RAWN instead of Canaan. But after the death of his father, he finally did move to Canaan. He was 75 at the time.

But even this wasn't complete obedience. He had been told to leave the rest of the family behind, but he took his nephew Lot with him (Gen. 12:5)

When he got to the land of Canaan, the Lord said, "To your descendants I will give this land" (Gen 12:7).

But there was a famine in Canaan, so he kept going, right on through (Gen 12:10) this promised land. He ended up in Egypt. But when they got there, he got worried. He looked at his wife and said, "You're a babe. And around here, that's going to get me killed! Some Egyptian is going to see you, kill me, and make you his wife. So let's just tell everybody that you're my sister, okay?" (Gen 12:11-13).

His worst fears were realized when the Pharaoh of Egypt saw her. He took her as his wife, thinking that she was Abraham's sister. But the Lord knew, and thus He struck Pharaoh's house with plagues, until Pharaoh gave Abraham's wife back (Gen 12:15-20).

Later, the Lord appeared to Abraham in a vision and said, "Abraham, your reward is going to be awesome." And Abraham said, "Lord, what could you possibly give me? I've got no sons, and I'm a senior citizen now. So I'm going to have to leave everything to Eliezer, my head servant."

Gen. 15:4-6 Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This man will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir." And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness."

Not Abraham's Works, Not Ours

Think about the great father Abraham for a moment. Disobedient in various ways. A liar, a complainer. But God still called him. And He even considered him righteous. Why? Simply because he believed the Lord's promise. Abraham believed that God was going to do something for him that he didn't deserve and couldn't do himself.

Do you realize that God doesn't desire to bless you because of your good works, but because He loves you? Do you understand that God called you when you were no better than our buddy Abraham here?

God had reached out to Abraham, not on the basis of righteous things that had done, but only because God loved him. The book of Romans says,

Rom. 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God.

Abraham was not justified by works, but by simply believing the promise of God.

3:7 Those Who Are Of Faith

The Jews' father Abraham was declared righteous for his faith, not because of his religiosity. But today, there are many religious people that want to put you under the bondage of religion. It is easy to point to Judaism or Catholicism to see religion, but what about Protestantism? What about non-denominational, Bible-believing Christianity?

Religion crops up in every Protestant denomination and non-denomination. And often it has more to do with Christian life than it does Christian doctrine.

Today, the pressure is put on you for your Christian appearance. You must have a head covering, your dress must cover your ankles, you must wear a suit and tie, etc. Your hair must be long if you're a girl, and short if you're a guy.

The pressure is put on you as a Christian consumer. You must boycott all companies that employ homosexuals, and refuse to eat at restaurants that support Planned Parenthood.

The pressure is put on you as a Christian citizen. You must vote Republican, listen to Rush Limbaugh, be in favor of the right to bear arms, and not trust the government,

The pressure is put on you as a Christian socially. You must not have friends that are unbelievers, own any secular music, and by all means, women, if you're trying to lose weight, you'd better do it the Christian way, with the Weigh Down program! And guys, you'd better be a Promise Keeper, or suffer the wrath!

The pressure is put on you as a Christian parent. You must homeschool your children, you must be a disciple of the Growing Kids God's Way program. You must not watch Disney movies, and, for goodness' sake, don't let your kids play Pokemon!

Now, some may giggle and laugh at this list, but I haven't pulled it out of thin air. These are all things that I have seen first hand, experienced personally as I move in Christian circles, witnessing the religious peer pressure put upon believers. So many people are ostracized from the Christian community, shunned in their churches, and made to feel unworthy and unspiritual - sometimes accused of being unsaved -because of violating these mandatory rules of the Churchianity religion.

Saints, listen: Being a Christian does not mean adopting a Christian world view, or adapting to a Christian lifestyle. It is about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

If we simply encourage people in their relationship with Jesus, then Jesus will shape their world view. Jesus will form their lifestyle. So they may end up homeschooling their kids. They may choose not to watch Disney movies. They may decide to get rid of their secular music, and they may even change the way they dress. But none of that makes them better or worse Christians in God's eyes. The Bible says,

Hebr. 11:6 ...without faith it is impossible to please Him...

So it all comes down to a person's faith. That's why Paul simply says that those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. Those who are depending on religion to make them right before God are not sons of Abraham. They are deceiving themselves. Jesus had a confrontation with the Jews about this. He said,

John 8:37-44 "I know that you are Abraham's offspring; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak the things which I have seen with {My} Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from {your} father." They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father." They said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, {even} God." Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? {It is} because you cannot hear My word. You are of {your} father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own {nature;} for he is a liar, and the father of lies."

All the while, they were trusting in their biological ancestry of Abraham, and their Abrahamic religion to save them. But they were in fact not children of Abraham - they were children of the devil.

Today, you are a child of Abraham if you have simply believed the promise of God. If you are depending on religion, then you are just as lost as the murderer who sits on death row.

3:8-9 All The Nations

Here's the blessing: we who are not Jews, but Gentiles, we have been blessed in the same manner as Abraham. If we simply have faith, then we also are counted righteous. Here's what we are to have faith in:

The Bible says that everyone has sinned, and that sin carries an eternal death penalty. But God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die in our place. He paid the penalty for us. And everyone who has faith in this sacrifice that Jesus made has been justified by faith.

What does "justified" mean? It means that it is now "just as if I'd" never sinned! When the time comes to stand before God, the books with everyone's sins written in them are opened. - but your page is empty! It's all been erased. It is just as if you'd never sinned at all!

Do you believe that this morning? If so, you will be blessed in the same manner as Abraham. Receiving righteousness from God that you don't deserve, but He's glad to give it to you. All you need to do is simply,

Rom. 10:9 ...confess with your mouth Jesus {as} Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved

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