Galatians Chapter 3
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Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. - Galatians 3:6-9


"preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you."", Paul here is quoting Genesis 12:3, Genesis 15:5 God reiterates this promise by having Abraham look toward the heaven and count the stars as if he could, God then promises to Abraham that as numerous as the stars are so shall his decendants be. Then, in Genesis 15:6 Abraham responds: "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."


Abraham trusted in God...period. There are no other stipulations or conditions to Abraham being credited with righteousness. It does not say Abraham trusted in God and obeyed the Ten Commandments and it was credited to him as righteousness. It does not say, Abraham trusted in God and was circumcised and it was credited to him as righteousness. Infact, as Paul points out in Romans 4:10 this promise was given to Abraham before he was circumsised. This promise was made to Abraham in Genesis chapter 12. Abraham wasn't instructed to be circumcised until Genesis chapter 17. Circumcision was actually to be a sign, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised (Gen. 17:11, Rom. 4:11). Circumcision, like baptism, was to be an outward sign, evidence of the righteousness recieved by faith. Let's read a similar account that elaborates on the gospel preached before hand to Abraham.


What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: - Romans 4:1-6


"But to the one who does not work, but believes..." This is a stark contrast to those who add works as a requirement in addition to faith. Paul is pointing out that a person who does not work but trusts in God who justifies those found guilty by their works (the ungodly v.5), their faith in God is credited as righteousness, apart from works (v. 6).


Question: What is faith? We should seek to understand what faith is since it's the avenue by which we are credited by God with righteousness. Let's look at some new testament examples where faith resulted in the one having it being made well.


25 A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, 26 and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse— 27 after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. 28 For she thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” 29 Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. 30 Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” 31 And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” 32 And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” - Mark 5:25-34


"after hearing about Jesus" (v. 27). Faith comes from hearing (Rom. 10:17). "Daughter..." her faith made her well not only physically in the flesh but spiritually as well. Jesus addresses her here as a daughter! (See this in contrast to that written in Matthew 12:46-50).


11 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; 13 and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed. 15 Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, 16 and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? 18 Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.” - Luke 17:11-19


All 10 were physically healed only 1 of them was spiritually healed.


46 Then they *came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they *called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.” 50 Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road. - Mark 10:46-52


"Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road." Fruit of faith that makes you well. The leprous man who's faith had made him well turned back and glorified God (Luke 17:15). The woman who had been healed of a hemorhage came and fell down before Jesus telling Him the whole truth of what she did (Mark. 5:33). These are true examples of what is being spoken of in James 2:18 when he says "I will show you my faith by my works." True faith is made evident by the fruit that results from having it (Matt. 7:15-20).


40 And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” 44 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” 49 Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” 50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” - Luke 7:40-50


Jesus points out to Peter the fruit of this woman's faith. He gives a discourse to Peter on the comparison of Peter's works (Peter was a Jew) to that of this woman who's sins were many. Jesus then explains that it is "For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven,..." Not that the woman's works saved her but what her works represented, her faith in Christ. She was loving much because she knew she was forgiven much (Luke 7:47).


Question: With Abraham and all 4 of these examples, God credited to them righteousness on the basis of their faith. Credited means it was given as a gift, not earned but given undeservingly from God to the beneficiary on the basis of their trusting God. So let me ask again. What is faith? Is it a feeling? No (Jer. 17:9). Is it a work? No (Eph. 2:8). Is it believing that God real? No, even the demons believe, and shudder (Jam. 2:19). So what is faith? Faith is trusting in God. Can you see someone's faith? In and of itself, no. (James 2:18) Can you see the fruit of their faith? Absolutely.


18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” - James 2:18


The testimony of the seen works declares the validity of that which is unseen, faith. In otherwords our works, resulting from our faith will give testimony and evidence for the faith in us. Genuine faith effortlessly produces genuine fruit. The works themselves should not be a focus, doing so is a futile effort to fool God, others, and even ourselves and making it look like we have faith by performing works resembling that which someone who actually has faith would do automatically from their faith's desire. These are works without faith and without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Consider the offerings of Cain and Abel.


3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. - Genesis 4:3-5 (NIV)


Question: Why did the Lord not regard Cain's offerings?


By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. - Hebrews 11:4


Why did the Lord not regard Cain's offerings? Because they were not works resulting from faith, they were just works out of obligation. Notice Abel brought the best portions of the firstlings of his flock. Cain brought "some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord." (NIV). Also notice the reward to Abel that Cain missed out on. "The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering" (v.4). Works out of obligation are garbage. Works resulting from faith product genuine fruit.


In a business, when an owner finds an employee who does what he has to out of obligation to get a paycheck, such a worker is only motivated to do what is required to get the paycheck. If an employer finds someone who wants to do a good job for them out of desire instead of out of obligation, he finds an employee who's labor exceeds what is required, is genuine, and is a priority in their life.


13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” - Matthew 9:13


God is looking for a people desiring Him, not a people desiring to do what is needed to get a paycheck. For some that paycheck is escaping Hell (in which they are disillusioned as works being a successful means of obtaining salvation). For some the paycheck is jewels in their crown, for some the paycheck is a pat on the back from God; that God would give them a head nod or an attaboy. We are working for our attaboy's when we should be working because we've received attaboy's already. God is not impressed with your works...ever. God finds your faith precious (1 Pet. 1:7). God is pleased when His children trust Him.


But My righteous one shall live by faith;
And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. - Hebrews 10:38


Question: Can you think of a place in the bible where God was impressed with a man's work apart from faith?


I cannot think of a place in the bible where God is impressed with a man's works apart from faith. That is, works that did not stem from, or resulting from their faith. Infact, God has shown such men to be condemned.


21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ - Matthew 7:21-23


"I never knew you" They never received Christ. Trusting in God was never a factor. The will of the Father is to trust in Him who He has sent (John 6:28-29). These men, whose works would be considered great even today by many in the church; these men never had faith that was credited to them as righteousness (Rom. 4:3). These men focused on works and works was their defense before the throne, so God did look at their works, and He said "depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.' (v. 23).


On the contrary, it is possible for those who are of the faith to not even notice their own works before God. In Matthew 6:2 Jesus warns those who work to be honored by men.


So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. - Matthew 6:2


In Matthew 6:3 Jesus gives warning to those who work to be noticed by self.


3 But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, - Matthew 6:3


You should not even take note of what you do yourself; do not even privately pat yourself on the back. Consider what Jesus told the seventy when they returned with joy, saying "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."


20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” - Luke 10:20


Consider these following men. While this passage of scripture may be referring to them not understanding the connection between the works they did and it's relation to being done as unto Christ, it also may refer to a group that didn't notice the works they were doing at all.


Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ - Matthew 25:34-40


As we have read (Heb. 10:38, 11:6) God delights in those who live by trusting in Him. Even Jesus Himself marveled in front of everyone at the Centurion's faith in trusting in Him.


And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, 6 and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” 7 Jesus *said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. 11 I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12 but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very moment. - Matthew 8:5-13


In contrast, Jesus does not respond well to unbelief.


And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. - Matthew 13:58


If a person wishes to increase in works that are pleasing to God I would encourage them to grow in faith, trusting in God. Don't try harder at works, exercise trust (2 Cor. 10:15, Rom. 4:20) in Christ's perfect work on our behalf (Matt. 5:17, John 19:30), in Him who raises the dead (2 Cor. 1:9), in Him who works in us (Phil. 1:6) in Him who writes the law on our hearts and minds (Heb. 10:16, Jer. 31:33). What does the fruit of living faith (Jam. 2:26) look like? Well the accounts we read above of those who's faith has made them well are a great demonstration. Hebrews chapter 11 is often nicknamed the "Faith Hall of Fame" and is a great read regarding works that resulted from faith.


1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval.

3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.

13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac your descendants shall be called.” 19 He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect. - Hebrews 11:1-40


Why did I include the entire chapter of Hebrews 11? The same reason I believe the writer did. So you would get the point. Hebrews 11:32 states that he could go on and on about works that resulted from those who trusted in God. I wanted you to see the "Faith Hall of Fame" for the same reason. Great works were accomplished by those listed here not a focus on works in themselves but they resulted from a trust in God. 19 times the phrase "By faith" is used in this chapter of Hebrews. Not by human effort, nor human will, but by faith. What do all these men listed here have in common? Faith. Then what is faith? It's a trust in God. What does that trust look like? Heb. 11:1 points out what that looks like. It's "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen". For example, Abraham, because he trusted in God, felt assured that God would make good on His promises.


18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, - Romans 4:18-20


Abraham trusted in God and therefore took God at His word. Because He took God at His word He felt assured as one already having confirmation of the things he hoped for even though they have not yet come to pass. In this case it was in regard to God's promise that all nations would be blessed in him, that his descendants would be as numorous as the the stars. In other words, Heb. 11:1 is saying faith is the confirmation of things that have not yet come to pass but will, and faith is also the conviction of the reality of what is unseen, that is, faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses. Conviction of things not seen means by faith, and not by the senses, you know these things to be true (2 Cor. 5:7). By his eyes of faith, knowing it to be possible because of Christ's commandment "Come", Peter walked on water (Matt. 14:28-29), but when Peter no longer walked by faith but with his eyes, he saw the wind, and Peter sank. Matt. 14:30, 31). The world's view says "seeing is believing" faith says just the opposite, "believing is seeing".


Question: Why are we saved by faith? Since on the basis of trusting God we are gifted with righteousness; why is it that way?


God is the one who credits man with righteousness and we only know the mind of God to the extent that He reveals it to us. (2 Cor. 2:11-12). But it's a curious thing that on the basis of faith alone (trusting in God) through grace alone (undeserved favor) that we are saved (Eph. 2:8).


Why is it this way? Because man has no way to save himself (Rom. 3:20). This means there is no viable solution through any means of man that can result in obtaining so great a treasure as salvation. Faith it's the act of receiving salvation by the only means that is available, as a gift of God's grace. How is this gift justly provided to the ungodly? by the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. (John 19:30).


For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9


We are saved by God's undeserved credit of righteousness which is received through faith made possible by Jesus Christ. Works have absolutely no part which is why no one may boast.


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