November 4, 2010

Justified By Faith, Not By Law or By Works

What are the main lessons that Paul sees in God’s dealings with Abraham?

Galatians 3: Faith or Law?

In Galatians we see Paul hammering the Galatians because it is apparent some cannot understand that it was faith or belief in what they heard not observance of the Law that saves them. Paul then brings the example of Abraham. Paul quotes Genesis 15:9, “Abram believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Paul is clearly explaining to them in this passage and v10 of Galatians 3 that the Law is not what saved them but rather it was a curse to them…because they were not able to obey all of the Law or “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law” (Deut 27:26). Man is not justified by the Law as all “righteous will live by faith”. Man is saved by nothing he does of his own accord or volition but through said faith so that "none may boast".

God also foresaw that Gentiles would be justified and saved the same way, hence God’s statement to Abraham, “All nations will be blessed through you. So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” or similar statements in Genesis 18:18; 22:18. Intentionally, these three passages in Genesis are all statements from God to Abraham reminding him of the promise that God would give him a son even though he had not done it yet. And Abraham had faith that God would.

Additionally, Abraham’s offspring (singular or “and to your seed”) would indeed bless all the nations as He [Jesus] would redeemed us “from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. Although the Law was a curse to man it was perfect for it had come from God but “the Law could not impart life”, only Christ could do this an it was through faith, not works that this is achieved…to all that believe. The Law was to lead us to Christ as we as humans were not capable in our depraved fallen state of fulfilling it. It led us to Christ and required us to do so in faith not works. Those that did so in faith belong to Christ, and are Abraham's seed, and co-heirs with Christ.

Romans 4: Justified By Faith

We again see Abraham being justified by faith in this chapter and we also see Paul going directly after the Jews and the core of their belief system via their “forefather”. Paul torpedoes the assumption that Abraham was justified by works but rather states “Abraham believed” and it was “credited to him as righteousness." Furthermore Paul goes on to rebuke the thought that the circumcision was only and outward sign of and inward condition. The circumcision was only a symbol of the inward reality of Abraham’s faith. The circumcision was only a seal or righteousness because Abraham had had faith before the circumcision.

So, in reality I guess it can be stated this way. He was the father of the circumcised as mentioned in v12 but also the uncircumcised or those that walk in faith without circumcision. As stated above in Galatians 3 it was by righteousness by faith. Against all odds it is his belief that God would hold fast to His promises and in this belief he became the father of “many nations”. He did so near the age of 100 years old and Sarah was beyond childbearing years but yet he didn’t waver (v20). As Paul states in the closing verses of Romans 4 we see that, 'The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness
...a least those of us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...