1O 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? 2This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 6Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8And the scripture, forseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith. 12And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree: 14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There 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. 29And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Many things in life are absolutely essential. It’s impossible to exist without such items as nourishing food, warm clothing and a place to live. These are a few of the things vital to our well-being and welfare.
In this lesson we will focus our attention upon some things that God Himself has singled out in His Word as being of tremendous importance to everyone. We cannot do without them and be saved/redeemed: (1) blood, (2) faith, (3) chastisement, and (4) holiness.
The very cornerstone of salvation and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is faith in God. Paul declared:
Ephesians 2:8, 9
8For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9not of works, lest any man should boast.
It is because God is gracious that sinful men are forgiven, converted, purified and saved. We are saved through faith, but salvation is of grace.
Faith is the channel that brings grace to our hearts. Grace is the fountain and stream. Faith is the channel along which the flood of mercy flows to refresh the weary souls of mankind.
The faith that pleases God begins with a recognition of His existence. We must believe that He is. That’s the starting point, and how thankful we are that doing this is so easy.
We realize that we do not prove the reality of God by the scientific method. We cannot bring God into a laboratory and reduce Him in such a way that He can be placed in a test tube for analysis or under a microscope for examination. God, The Infinite One, is far too great to be handled in such a manner by His finite creatures.
Any thinking person would recognize that a great, all-powerful, all-wise God made our world. We read in
The heavens themselves declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.
The Psalmist also declared:
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.
The one who has faith that pleases God not only believes in Him but also believes Him. He takes God at His word, even when fulfillment of His promises, from a human standpoint at least, seems impossible.
In Hebrews 11:1, the Bible says: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Faith is believing that Christ is what He says He is and that He will do what He has promised to do.
Paul looked upon the Galatian Christians as his spiritual children. He was acquainted with how they came to know Christ. He was aware of the transformation that had taken place in their lives.
Paul showed them that their present attitude was not in keeping with the facts. They had not been saved by the law, but by grace. This being true, how could they believe they could perfect their experience by reverting to the law?
The apostle addressed his readers as “foolish Galatians.” He was surprised and saddened. The Galatians were his children in the Lord. Without faith in Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit, our best efforts at moving toward spiritual maturity are doomed to fail.
Galatians 3:24, 25
24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
The law was given to show us our need for Christ and His mercy and grace. In other words, it was “like going to school.” School regulations and requirements, of course, are for a good purpose: educational discipline. In school, students are guided through the learning process that can help them find success in life.
As we go from one grade level to another, we are given more and more personal responsibility. Definite requirements must be met, but if they have had proper training, the students are free from close, rigid supervision.
Paul contrasts living under law and living by faith. It is like the difference between kindergarten and the university. Phase one was preparatory, not permanent. They were under the law until Christ came.
Galatians 4:1, 2
1Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
A rich man’s son may be the heir to a billion dollar estate, but when he is 5 or 10 or 15 years old, his position is like that of a household slave. He has to do whatever he is told. He has to obey not only his parents, but also whatever baby-sitters, nannies and teachers his parents choose.
Before Christ came, the Jews were like young children, and therefore like slaves. They had regulations about special days and times, about diet and drink and ceremonial cleansing.
11But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament (covenant), that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament (covenant), they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
NOTE: (What do you think? Was it in verse 12 that the veil in the Temple was torn down the middle from top to bottom? …he entered in once into the holy place!)
Christ came to redeem us. He sacrificed His life, once, and for all.
The Judeo-Christian work ethic has instilled within many the desire to earn their own keep. Working at a job to provide for their own daily needs is an important part of any stable society.
After all, Paul told the Thessalonians:
2 Thessalonians 3:10
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
When it comes to salvation, none of us can do enough “work” to earn salvation.
There is NOTHING we can do to earn salvation. This is where faith in Christ comes in. Salvation cannot be earned by works. Neither are the blessings that come with salvation earned by works. Our new life in Christ and all of the spiritual blessings that come with it come through faith in Christ. We cannot perfect our spiritual life through our own works.
We must remember that the same God who began a “good work” in us, desires to continue that work in us.
Being confident of this very thing that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
He will too, as we rely on our faith in Him and His completed work through Christ. Remember, as a believer we stand complete in Him. We have seen the great importance of the shed blood of Christ, for the sins of the world, and the great importance of faith.
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
One of the marks of a truly saved person is his walk in practical holiness of life. God’s work in a Christian does not end at the moment of salvation. True, the child of God does stand complete in Christ from that point forward. He’s already a citizen of Heaven, but that believer still lives in his earthly body, and is in daily contact with a world system dominated by selfishness, cruelty and greed. For that reason, he has need for progressive santification, obedience, righteousness and practical holiness.
On this side of eternity we never “arrive.” We never reach the point of absolute perfection in ourselves, yet that should still be our goal. There is a connection of justification with faith. The Scripture tells us
The just shall live by faith – Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38 and Habakkuk 2:4.
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
The Law cannot change our hearts. The gospel creates a new heart within us, so that we no longer need the restraints of the Law, but earnestly desire to please God. The Law points us to God.
The person who is in bondage to the Law can own nothing, no gifts; however, sons, Christians, are heirs and are given rich “spiritual gifts” by God for service and ministry.
We too, however, have a part to play in living holy lives unto God and employing our spiritual gifts imparted to us as a believer, as a Christian. Spiritual gifts are imparted by God to be shared by us. We can share our spiritual gift(s) with others, faithfully, as we serve our God.